AUAS' U!REKA eyes new European universities bid

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The collaboration platform U!REKA intends to participate in the second European Universities pilot in 2020, as soon as the application guidelines are announced. This is a grant programme for cooperative European higher education institutions, which aims to educate a new generation of European students.

The Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance (U!REKA) is an European consortium of universities of applied sciences. It is aiming for co-financing in 2020 under the European Universities pilot, which is an initiative of the European Commission (EC). U!REKA’s initial bid, submitted in February 2019, was not among those honoured. This was announced by the EC at the start of July.

European Universities

Under the banner of this pilot project, which is funded under the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme, higher education institutions across Europe are developing new models of collaboration to build the European universities of the future. This project aims to enable a new generation of creative Europeans to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines, in order to address the big societal challenges and skills shortages that Europe faces.

These objectives resonate very strongly with all of the members of the U!REKA alliance and presents them with the unique opportunity to be a pioneer in European higher education development.

17 out of 54 selected

From the 54 applications submitted, 17 consortia were selected to receive grants. The U!REKA institutions would like to express their congratulations to the successful projects.

U!REKA’s application was awarded 78 points, falling just short of the 81 points required to be considered for a grant. However, the jury praised the high quality of U!REKA’s bid. The evaluation report offers clear points for improvement, highlights innovative ideas and includes constructive suggestions for a new submission. U!REKA’s steering committee has therefore expressed its intention to participate in the second call for the European Universities initiative, taking place in 2020. This means that a team of U!REKA members will start preparing a new application in the coming months, pending the official guidelines for the bid.

A shared vision

U!REKA is a network of six European universities of applied sciences, formed in 2016, which includes the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Oslo Metropolitan University and University College Ghent (HOGENT).

After nearly three years since the alliance began, collaborative activities across all of our institutions have flourished. These include staff and student mobility projects, annual academic conferences, departmental visits and collaborative research projects. We are now looking forward to make our shared approach to professional education even more valuable.

The vision for the U!REKA European University, co-developed by all partners and which U!REKA will continue to build upon in the 2020-bid, centres around:

  • Sharing and adding value through international collaborative teaching projects:
    building on our common experience of delivering education with integrated practical experiences and linking these with international collaborative opportunities.

  • Diversity and Inclusion: actions that will support our common mission to widen participation in higher education, in particular from underrepresented communities.
  • The ‘Urban Labs’ and the Quadruple Helix model – deepening our activities in the wider context of all our stakeholders: the public, private and third (voluntary) sectors, civil society and our local communities. Through our existing individual close links to industry and businesses, the U!REKA alliance has the opportunity to forge long-lasting international partnerships focused on innovation and offer new opportunities to our students, during and after their studies.
  • Creating and replicating the ‘feel’ of a U!REKA European University at each of our institutions: developing dedicated spaces that foster collaborative projects and enable virtual mobility for our students. We see the identity of our U!REKA European University as one that is shared across our six cities through our common purpose but which also reflects our individual locations.

More information on U!REKA

This communication was first published 24 July 2019 by U!REKA.

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