2023 Feb/03

New vision for transnational university collaboration pioneered under European Degree label project

EU-CONEXUS in a Europe-wide consortium of six university alliances has secured the European Commission’s support for ED-AFFICHE, their joint proposal to pilot the European Degree label funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

This unprecedented collaboration among European University Alliances will enable Una Europa, 4EU+, CHARM-EU, EC2U, EU-CONEXUS and Unite! to make bold steps towards realising the transformative potential of the European Degree label. Pooling their collective expertise, the consortium will seek to improve the process of developing joint degrees as a central strand of the project.

“This initiative aims to transform the European map of joint degrees, proposing the criteria that joint programmes must meet to obtain the European Degree label, in collaboration with the ministries and quality assurance agencies, both national and regional”, says Professor José Manuel Pagán Agulló, Rector of Catholic University of Valencia (UCV), representing the Alliance in this project consortium. “EU-CONEXUS alliance, represented by the Catholic University of Valencia, created one of the few joint programmes born within the European Universities initiative, accredited according to the European Approach procedure, and having secured Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters support. This programme definitely meets the European Degree label requirements. But we are looking further and expecting a joint effort in facilitating easier creation of other joint programmes and encouraging the existing ones to become real joint programmes that was not able to be done due to existing obstacles.”

“We saw potential in this call to pilot the European Degree label that goes beyond the immediate objectives of this policy initiative and the lifetime of the project. With this powerhouse of a consortium, we hope to bring about tangible progress towards our common aim of making the development and implementation of joint degrees in Europe a less complex and resource-intensive undertaking. We aim to achieve meaningful impact for all types of universities across the European Higher Education Area”, says Professor Luc Sels, Rector of KU Leuven, representing Una Europa in this project consortium.

The project applicants represent a diverse and high-powered consortium that unites a total of 51 higher education institutions from 22 different countries across the European continent. It is supported by 18 national and regional ministries in charge of higher education, as well as key players in the area of higher education, accreditation and quality assurance. The participating universities are deeply rooted in their respective ecosystems, have a long tradition of international collaboration and a strong track record in the development of joint programmes. Together, the universities represent a combined student and staff body of nearly 2 million people. This community of students, professionals and academic staff will be actively empowered to take part in the project activities.

Over the course of one year, the project consortium will take a comprehensive look at the state of joint programmes, conduct an in-depth mapping exercise on its extensive portfolio, and organise strategic activities both at national and European levels to facilitate an open dialogue between universities and their national/ regional legislators. The consortium aims to gain further insights into the most pressing challenges that exist in the development of joint programmes today and initiate the exchange of best practice at European level. It is this process of mutual learning between stakeholders across Europe that may ultimately lead to the development of transnational strategies to overcome these hurdles.

The project consortium sees the European Degree label as a unique vehicle for boosting transnational collaboration in European higher education more broadly, which is crucial to positively impact the attractiveness and competitiveness of the European Higher Education sector on the world stage.

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