Students from Europe gather for pioneering summer school
More than 50 students from countries across Europe have visited the University to take part in a summer school that has health at its heart.
Those taking part in the two-week Una Europa One Health summer school worked with academics to consider the inter-related health of people, animals, plants and the environment.
Edinburgh is the first of the Una Europa partners – a collaboration of 11 leading research-intensive European institutions – to host the summer school.
Students and staff from Ukraine also participated in the summer school.
This is part of a partnership between the universities as, earlier this year, Edinburgh signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv as part of a UK-Ukraine twinning initiative.
With the ongoing war in Ukraine, it has been a nice surprise to be part of the Una Europa Health School and I’m glad to have the opportunity to share our experiences from back home. I have met some fantastic people and I feel a connection with everyone on the programme. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on international health issues and lectures have been great. This experience will stay with me forever and I have made some life-long friends.
For one of the workshops, we talked about food security issues in Ukraine and how the war has impacted the country’s grain supply. I feel this is a safe space to talk openly and coming here makes you realise that you are not isolated. This experience, has given myself and other Ukrainian students the confidence to tell our story. I’m grateful for the chance to be part of this programme.
The programme was designed by world-leading academics from Edinburgh in partnership with colleagues across the Una Europa alliance.
Students worked alongside their mentors and researchers on real-world health challenges to find solutions in response to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – a suite of targets designed to develop a sustainable future for all people and the planet by 2030.
They took part in lectures, seminars and group work in key areas such as anti-microbial resistance; food security and safety; pandemic preparedness; and health politics, to inform their research.
At the end of the two weeks, each group presented their work and shared their innovative solutions to a global ‘One Health’ challenge.
During their stay, students also explored Edinburgh in their free time and attended a farewell dinner and ceilidh organised by the University to celebrate and thank all those who had participated in the programme.
It has been good to see students from different backgrounds and experience come together and successfully collaborate on global health issues - including a unique perspective on health and food security in Ukraine. It has been hugely rewarding getting to know all the students on this programme, and to hear about their personal experiences during their time in Edinburgh. Just as important are the friendships and lasting connections these students have made.
Last week, Una Europa secured €14.4m from the European Commission to set up Una.Universitas - an ambitious four-year project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme’s European Universities Initiative.
This follows on from the successful pilot project, 1Europe, which launched in 2019.
Although the University of Edinburgh is no longer eligible for the Erasmus+ funding awarded, the University remains a full Una Europa member and a critical component of Una’s European staff and 500,000 student community.
Our key focus this year is about international collaboration and sense of community. Ground breaking initiatives such as ‘One Health’ give us an opportunity to learn from each other and express our solidarity. Understanding lived experiences of colleagues and other students alongside conducting research and teaching will leave the world a better place. It’s great to see students believe in themselves, dream big and grow their confidence. They are the leaders of the future.