Constructing a Sustainable Investment Pathway for European University Alliances: Our Vision
EU-CONEXUS is part of a pioneering group of European Universities that has received funding under the European University Initiative since 2019. This initiative is a significant step in reshaping and strengthening the landscape of higher education across the EU. Unlocking a unique layer of close long-term cooperation served as a pathway for many projects and other collaborative experiences, fostering deeper connections among universities, enhancing the quality of education and research, and promoting European values and identity in the context of higher education.
As conversations about the Investment Pathway for European University Alliances post-2027 take off, this is the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate and re-instate the values and common objectives that underwent a true test of time since the early days of EU-CONEXUS’ existence.
To begin with, European University Alliances are more than just educational institutions; they are hubs of innovation, research, and community engagement. And as such, they require a funding system that reflects the complexity of their mission.
As general feedback for shaping a strong and coherent investment pathway, the EU-CONEXUS universities highlight the following points:
1. Need for Synergy
European University Alliances should not focus solely on education; they should also engage in research, innovation, and community service. Policymakers must recognize this and combine funding from various sources to promote these objectives effectively.
European University Alliances require long-term, sustainable funding mechanisms to support their basic operations. Project-specific funding can complement this support and provide an optimal level of flexibility required to address emerging needs and objectives that occur in highly dynamic academic fields.
A single funding instrument should replace the current patchwork of funding sources for European University Alliances, allowing for more efficient and coherent funding.
Investment in EU-CONEXUS Activities
Regarding the funding needs of European Universities, current and planned activities of EU-CONEXUS that are aligned with its strategic vision and mission include:
1. Becoming an Integrated Institution.
EU-CONEXUS aims to become an integrated European University with a common governance system, operational structure, and IT systems.
2. Developing an Inter-University Campus
The Alliance is developing an inter-university campus across nine European countries, offering students sufficient mobility and flexibility to shape their desired academic paths.
3. Shaping a Unique Thematic Focus
EU-CONEXUS focuses on smart urban coastal sustainability to inspire and enable positive and coherent education, research, and innovation on multiple layers. Some of the key steps towards this common goal include collaborating in international networks, contributing to policy development, developing projects, and ensuring effective communication.
4. Providing High-Quality Education
The Alliance focuses on quality assurance, teachers’ training, flexible study paths, stakeholder involvement, and research-driven education.
5. Maintaining High Research Quality
EU-CONEXUS establishes joint research institutes, graduate schools, support structures, and research infrastructures to drive systematic research on coastal sustainability on an international scale.
6. Serving the Society
The alliance engages in outreach activities, participatory science, open science, and lifelong learning offers to address societal challenges and involve stakeholders.
In sum, EU-CONEXUS is committed to achieving the goals of the European University Initiative by experimenting with strategic cooperation and establishing sustainable practices to drive consistent progress that starts in partner universities and radiates throughout local societies, business environments and beyond. A holistic funding approach is essential for sustaining the initiative’s multi-mission approach and fully unleashing its potential throughout the years and decades to come.