On 7 November the first 17 alliances of the European Universities Initiative were launched in Brussels in the presence of some 800 representatives of universities, university associations, student, national ministries and the European Commission.
EUA President Michael Murphy addressed the audience calling on all stakeholders to work together towards deeper and easier cross-border university collaboration: “If we want to sit at the table with China, the US and others, we have to create the European university system already mentioned in the Bologna declaration 20 years ago. For this to happen, we have to remove the barriers, finally.”
He put particular emphasis on the need to ensure cohesion and use the initiative to deepen collaborations between universities from all parts of Europe with their different strengths to ensure a positive development throughout the European Higher Education Area.
The European Commission also presented the second pilot call for the European Universities Initiative. It provides 120 million euros to a maximum of 24 new alliances (meaning five million euros per alliance for three years). Each alliance has to be composed of a minimum of three higher education institutions from at least three EU member states or other Erasmus+ programme countries. While the requirements of the second pilot call are the same as for the first one, the Commission explicitly emphasised that applicants are encouraged to present their own original ideas rather than copy successful alliances from the first pilot call. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2020.
EUA wishes to provide all its members with an open forum for debate about the initiative and hosted an event organised by the French rectors’ conference (CPU), together with other national rectors’ conferences on the evening before the Commission event. An analysis of the chances and challenges of the initiative by EUA’s Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik goes deeper into the discussion.
Furthermore, EUA is developing a survey to collect the views of all its members on the initiative which will be launched in early February with a view to provide input into the further development of the initiative.