2020 Sep/07

European Universities – Universities of the Future

On the 26th of July 2019, the European Commission announced the results regarding proposals aiming to create common European Universities. All over Europe, several higher education institutions were chosen to create the first alliances of the European Universities networks.

The goal of European Universities is to include partners from all types of higher education institutions and cover a broad geographic scope across Europe. The transnational Universities are based on a co-created long-term strategy focussed on institutional sustainability, scientific excellence, and European values. Due to their challenge-based approach in education and research, students, academics, and external partners can cooperate in inter-disciplinary teams to tackle the biggest issues facing Europe today.

By creating European Universities, the quality of European higher education will be improved and its attractiveness increased; internationalisation will be promoted, and European citizenship strengthened – the mobility of students and lecturers will expand.

What does it mean to be a European University?

At this moment, there are 17 European Universities encompassing 114 higher education institutions. One of them is a progressive and ambitious consortium: EU-CONEXUS – European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability.

EU-CONEXUS is formed of 6 European universities: La Rochelle Université in France, the Agricultural University of Athens in Greece, the Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir in Spain, the University of Zadar in Croatia, Klaipėda University in Lithuania, and Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest (Universitatea Tehnica de Constructii Bucuresti) in Romania. All these universities share the geographical characteristic of being located in coastal areas or working on coastal issues. They also focud on the sustainability the coastal areas, digitalisation, and blue growth in their education and research programmes.

Urban and semi-urban coastlines are increasingly densely populated areas. They are very important for trade, aquaculture and fisheries, energy and tourism. At the same time, these coastlines, are the most vulnerable areas with regard to the consequences of climate change.

Despite the fact that universities and research institutions have a central role to play in promoting Blue Economy and Blue Growth, a new approach is needed regarding the organisation of studies and research to better reflect the complexity of issues and opportunities of urban coastal environments.

Before 2022, EU-CONEXUS aspires to become a global leader in higher education and research in the area of smart urban coastal sustainability. The partner universities will create a European higher education inter‐university ‘campus’ based on an ever‐closer academic and administrative integration.

The Alliance will seek to award common European degrees and diplomas to the graduates of the European University and aims to reach 50% mobility of students and faculty.

EU-CONEXUS will also be at the centre of a transnational system for creating innovative solutions and products for urban coastal sustainability. It will accompany start-ups and promote cooperation among industries close to the partner institutions.