On 9 July, the European Commission announced the selection results of the second pilot call under the European Universities Initiative. Out of 62 applications, 24 new university alliances were chosen with a total of 165 participating higher education institutions from 26 countries. 122 of those are EUA members. The Association congratulates them for this success.
Together with the 17 alliances from the first pilot call, there will now be 41 transnational university alliances with 279 higher education institutions from 32 countries. The total number of EUA member universities participating in the Initiative is 215. Each alliance receives up to €5 million from the Erasmus+ programme and up to €2 million from the Horizon 2020 programme for three years to start implementing their plans.
The wide geographical spread and diversity of profiles of the alliances confirms the interest of many higher education institutions to strengthen their collaboration through strategic transnational partnerships. The recent EUA survey on international strategic institutional partnerships and the European Universities Initiative shows that universities across Europe engage in a multitude of different collaboration activities with partners worldwide. For many of these, the multilateral framework and support through EU programmes, such as Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020, is crucial.
The European Universities Initiative is a new way of engaging in deep strategic collaboration adding to the diversity of different collaboration models. This diversity is a strength of the European higher education landscape and must be nurtured through equality of esteem and sufficient financial support for all the different models. Deepening transnational university collaboration has great potential to strengthen European higher education and research and its international competitiveness, as well as European cooperation, which is crucial for recovery and for building a sustainable future.
EUA is actively calling on member states and the EU institutions to step up investment in Horizon Europe and the future Erasmus+ programme in order to live up to the political ambitions. EUA has put forward recommendations for the roll-out of the European Universities Initiative. The Association has also shared the recommendations with the German EU Council Presidency, which is preparing Council Conclusions on the topic for the autumn. These are expected to provide the broad direction for the future of the Initiative.