We need to talk about impact

Photos taken during the conference are now available!

Universities have a profound impact on individuals and societies, as well as the policies that govern both. But what do we really mean when we talk about impact? The European University Association’s 2023 Annual Conference, hosted by Gdańsk University of Technology, will tackle this heterogeneous concept by looking into how universities impact different communities and shape critical public policies at a time of great change and, in many cases, crisis.

Through a mix of traditional and interactive sessions, participants explored the various facets of universities’ impact. This event shine a light on issues as diverse as rankings, excellence and the quest for quality, universities’ contributions to greening and sustainability, their pivotal role in innovation and their proven track record in supporting endangered scholars and higher education systems. Finally, we investigated the role of university leadership in delivering on these various forms of impact. Discussions went beyond narrow definitions of economic impact, rather viewing impact as a measure of a university’s responsibility to its own community and the world that surrounds it.

Moreover, with this year's conference EUA also intended to foster wider awareness and debate surrounding universities' different forms of impact and myriad roles within society. The conference was of interest to institutional leaders (rectors, vice-rectors and heads of administration), higher education researchers and analysts, and representatives of other organisations active in the fields of higher education and research.



GUT Rector resized

It is our great honour and pleasure to welcome the attendees of the 2023 EUA Annual Conference and General Assembly to Gdańsk University of Technology (Gdańsk Tech). Gdańsk, a place of rich history and breathtaking architecture, is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist and cultural centres in Poland and Europe. It is the birthplace of some of the most brilliant personalities like Johannes Hevelius, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, Daniel Mikołaj Chodowiecki and Arthur Schopenhauer. Gdańsk is also very proud to be the place where the “Solidarity” social movement originated, paving the way for the dismantling of communism in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries.

Our university is very proud to be a meaningful partner in the development of the European Research Area and European Higher Education Area, inter alia by contributing to the development of open science and open research data paradigms, as well as by increasing international collaboration in research and education and promoting social inclusiveness and diversity. Higher education and scientific research in Poland are currently undergoing fundamental changes initiated by a recently introduced new law, dubbed Act 2.0, which will be an interesting backdrop for the conference activities. We are at the forefront of those changes.

Gdańsk Tech is among the leading Polish universities according to national and international rankings. We strive to increase our participation and visibility in Europe and globally. Gdańsk Tech is the third Polish university to join the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research (CESAER) – an organisation of European universities of technology. The European Commission has granted our university the right to use the prestigious HR Excellence in Research logo, a sign of quality assuring the highest standards in scientific research and staff employment. We have a meaningful share in the European and broader mobility actions, notably through the Erasmus+ programme, with more than 550 inter-institutional agreements. We are also a member of the ARTEMIS Industry Association which provides access to a vast network of high profile research and innovation partners. Currently, we are participating in the activity of developing a federation of universities to be named Fahrenheit Union of Universities, consisting of the Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology and the University of Gdańsk.

We strongly believe that Gdańsk Tech is very well prepared to host the 2023 EUA Annual Conference. The dedication and friendliness of our staff, the beauty of our campus ranked among the ten most beautiful in Europe, and the history and openness of our city all make Gdańsk Tech a perfect location for the conference. We expect a memorable event providing a platform for the exchange of views and experiences which will encourage the establishment of long-lasting partnerships, not only during official conference sessions, but also in the course of stimulating social events. The local organising committee, together with EUA, will make every effort towards your satisfaction.

We look forward to seeing you in Gdańsk soon.

Krzysztof Wilde
Rector, Gdańsk University of Technology

Thursday 20 April

Plenary Session 1: Can rankings support universities' quest for excellence?

  • Elizabeth Gadd, Research Policy Manager, Loughborough University, UK

Parallel Sessions 1:

1. Digital transformation: how to keep universities in the driving seat

2. Supporting universities in Ukraine: opportunities for enhanced interinstitutional collaboration

3. How to make the most of your EUA membership

Plenary Session 2: From transactional to transformational: rethinking innovation in times of crisis


Friday 21 April

Parallel Session 2: Delivering an impactful greening strategy beyond the crisis

  • Geneviève Le Fort, Vice-Rector, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland
  • Emily MacPherson, Member of the Executive Committee, European Students’ Union, Belgium

Plenary Session 3: The role of university leadership in delivering impact

  • Thomas Estermann, Director of Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development, European University Association

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