The coronavirus crisis hit Europe by surprise, and it had a considerable impact on EU policies including those with relevance for universities. This webinar gave insight into the immediate European-level reactions, as well as the possible medium- and long-term consequences.

While the situation varies in different countries, all have to adapt to the confinement and physical distancing measures taken across Europe, presenting unpreceded challenges to society and the economy. Universities are being impacted in several ways. They have had to quickly expand online provision, and many of their researchers and doctors in university hospitals are at the forefront of combating the virus. For university cooperation and international student and staff mobility, often happening through EU programmes, the situation represents a significant challenge as well.

European solidarity and cooperation are much needed in tackling the crisis and the EU has developed a coordinated response at several levels, including support for research and innovation and flexibility measures for EU funding programmes.

This webinar provided an overview of EU level measures taken in areas of direct importance to universities, such as the EU funding programmes Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and European Structural and Investment Funds. It also discussed the likely future impact of the crisis on EU policies for research, innovation and higher education. 

It was of interest to those working on these issues in universities and national university associations. The webinar was an exclusive service to EUA members.

Wednesday 3 June 2020 from 14.00 to 15.00 CEST


  • Introduction and moderation by Thomas Jørgensen, EUA Senior Policy Coordinator
  • Apostolia Karamali, Head of Unit, Academic Research and Innovation, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission: an overview of EU support for research and innovation related to the coronavirus crisis and an outlook on the likely impact on future EU research policy
  • Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of Unit, Higher Education, Directorate General for Education and Culture, European Commission: an overview of EU action in higher education in response to the coronavirus crisis and an outlook on the likely impact on future EU higher education policy
  • Peter Berkowitz, Head of Unit, Smart and Sustainable Growth, Drectorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission: the role of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in the EU’s response to the coronavirus crisis and the likely impact for ESIF support towards research, innovation and education
  • Q&A and discussion with participants
  • Apostolia Karamali

    Apostolia Karamali is Head of the Academic R&I and Research Organisations Unit at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission. With a background in Earth Sciences and Remote Sensing and more than twenty years of experience in EU institutions, Ms. Karamali has worked extensively in the areas of space and research policies and associated programmes most recently as Deputy Head of Unit for Space Policy and Research at DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

  • Vanessa Debiais-Sainton

    Vanessa Debiais-Sainton is Head of the Unit in charge of Higher Education policies and programmes at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. The unit is the lead service for European policies on reform and modernisation of higher education, the new European Universities initiative, automatic mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, the creation of the EU student card, and the higher education strand of Erasmus+. In previous posts in the European Commission, she has worked in DG Research and Innovation. Before moving to the European Commission in 2006, she spent eight years working for several petroleum and chemical companies.

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