EUA Leadership series: Developing pathways to achieve the vision

EUA is pleased to invite university leaders from its membership to an online discussion on the impact of changing geopolitics on their institutions. Based on scenarios linked to the course of international politics, participants are invited to exchange views and develop ideas about possible pathways for Europe’s universities and their international collaboration. The idea is to develop the discussion around EUA’s vision of Europe’s universities in 2030, which has international openness as a main feature. The workshop is the first of a series of online events for university leaders aimed at turning EUA’s vision into a reality.

International relations are changing: The idea of a rules-based multilateral order has come under pressure, and this has consequences for how universities cooperate around the world. As sharing of technologies and knowledge have become elements of global competition between centres of power, the natural disposition of universities to reach out to global partners has been put into question.

The context of this questioning is the rise of China as a more aggressively assertive power economically, politically and technologically. At the same time, the legacy of the Trump years in the US is still casting shadows on the transatlantic relationship as the new leadership starts to position itself on the international scene. Moreover, threats to academic freedom around the world and uneven capacities of higher education and research still hamper equal global partnerships. Europe needs to redefine its place and role in the world in the search for more alignment and capacity for common action towards its contribution on the international stage. Also, as we witness rapid technological developments and further digitalisation, concerns of security and foreign interference demand a policy response in line with European values and societal expectations.

The Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating developments, including the debate on European strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty, while at the same time showing the need for international collaboration in research and innovation in the race for vaccines. This also starts to translate into EU funding programmes where the slogan “as open as possible and as close as necessary” is becoming the new possible formula for third-country participation.

These developments are of great relevance to Europe’s universities as globally connected institutions must develop their own strategies for international collaboration.

Designed as a thought experiment, the online workshop will bring about new ideas and practical examples to inspire universities in their strategic development. The outcomes will feed into a publication outlining scenarios and possible pathways for universities to achieve their vision, taking into account the diversity of profiles and local contexts across Europe.

The event is open to leadership of EUA member universities only. Registration is possible upon invitation only.  

  • Programme

    08:45 - 09:00
    Participants log-in via Zoom
    09:00 - 09:15
    Welcome and introduction by EUA
    09:15 - 10:00
    Session I: European strategic autonomy – a concept for the future?
    10:00 - 10:15
    Explanation of scenario approach and methodology for group discussion
    10:15 - 11:15
    Session II: Group discussions on the impact of geopolitics on Europe’s universities and possible pathways for the future (parallel break-out sessions)
    11:15 - 11:30
    Virtual coffee break
    11:30 - 12:15
    Session III: Chinese and US technology strategies
    • Short presentation by Brigitte Dekker, Researcher with Clingendael (Netherlands Institute of International Relations) EU & Global Affairs Unit and the Strategic Initiatives & Outreach.
    • Q&A and discussion: What does this mean for Europe’s universities?
    12:15 - 12:45
    Reports from break-out sessions
    12:45 - 13:00
    Wrap-up and final discussion

The workshop will take place on 18 March from 09.00-13.00 CET as a half day online event via Zoom. Participants are expected to contribute actively to the discussions and submit written input to specific questions before and after the workshop.

Participation is reserved to leadership from EUA member universities (rector/president/vice-chancellor; vice-rector/vice-president) and limited to a maximum of 50 persons to allow for an interactive discussion during plenaries and break-out sessions.

An invitation with details about the registration has been sent to all executive heads of EUA member universities. Should you have questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact the EUA events team events@eua.eu

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