2020 Sep/07

Review and plans for EU-CONEXUS 1st year

EU-CONEXUS, the European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability, took stock of its first year of operation during a first online Annual Closing Conference that gathered more than 260 participants.

On the 1st  of July 2020, all project members, external advisers and guests were invited to join the Governing Board and Elena Tegovska from the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) to review the major successes and project developments of the first year.

The conference was opened by the Chair of the Governing Board of the European University, Jean-Marc Ogier, and he took the opportunity to present the EU-CONEXUS video for the first time. The production has been realised by the EU-CONEXUS Joint Communication Unit in collaboration with students of La Rochelle Université from the audio-visual and digital projects Master.

The leaders of the 8 Work Packages (Management, Training, Mobility, Joint Research, External and International Relations, Campus Life, Smart Campus and Dissemination and Sustainability) presented the progress of their tasks and the challenges they will face in the future. 

Elena Tegovska presented the European Commission view of the European Universities and the relevant subjects on which the European Commission will work during next Erasmus+ programme: recognition of diplomas, framework for mixed and virtual mobility, common legal framework for European Universities, European diplomas, modernised European quality assurance system. Food for thoughts that will give the opportunity to improve European Universities in order to make them references for all higher education institutions in Europe.

Some major outcomes of a first year of operation are: – the conceptualisation of two joint Minor programmes (Blue Economy and Growth, Coastal Development and Sustainable Maritime Tourism), – the basic framework for a joint Master Programme (Marine Blue Biotechnology), – the deployment of a mapping of skills needed by industry active in 13 economic sectors. Progresses have also been made by a high number of working groups that investigated in institutional characteristics that allow for or hinder the integration of activities. The basic governance structures of the European University are in place and central management procedures are set up.

In terms of challenges, COVID-19 crisis urges to think further on the subjects of mobility and virtual campus (virtual library, common platform, etc). Research will also be strengthened by the SWAFS project (LINK to the news on the website). Links with external partners will be developed thanks to the creation of student mentoring and University-Industry platforms.

The conference was closed by the members of the External Advisory Board who gave their vision on the project and its progresses. For them, a more focussed SWOT analysis has to be done in order to work deeper and to develop the quality of the project. They also highlighted the fact that it is important to focus on the EU-CONEXUS specificity, Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability and to keep in mind what makes out the identity of EU-CONEXUS.

« New educational processes, new ways to think research, new ways to create links between science and society. This is the ambition of EU-CONEXUS. » Jean-Marc Ogier, EU-CONEXUS President.

All the conference documents are available on the website eu-conexus.eu and the conference can be watched on Youtube.

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