EUTOPIA, an established alliance of six European universities that exists to create a connected and inclusive community addressing global and local challenges, has been successful in its bid for a €5m grant from the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme.
This recognition confirms EUTOPIA as a chosen alliance of institutions working to build a European University of the future, creating a new model for higher education in Europe.
EUTOPIA is comprised of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Gothenburg, l’Université Paris Seine, the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, the University of Warwick, and is led by the University of Ljubljana.
The award will boost EUTOPIA’s mission of working as a network of European campuses, through collaborative research, increased mobility of students, academics and staff, and shared innovations that serve the wider public in regional communities.
Co-created in partnership with academics, students and non-academic partners, EUTOPIA will test innovative methods of collaboration, going beyond existing models to progressively increase the quality, international competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education.
Since the alliance’s official launch at the Solvay Library in Brussels, in February 2019, staff and students from the EUTOPIA partners have built a strong foundation of collaborative activities, which include:
- The establishment of co-tutelle PhD Scholarships, which will enable up to eight PhD candidates to be co-supervised by academics at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, l’Université Paris Seine and University of Warwick – benefitting from teaching and academic supervision across two countries. This is been made possible thanks to a £500,000 joint investment from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, l’Université Paris Seine and University of Warwick, the founding members of EUTOPIA. The scholarships will support PhD projects in research areas including Complexity Science, Reproductive Medicine and Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage. The first cohort will begin in October 2019.
- The creation of a double Master’s degree between Warwick’s Department of Politics and International studies and Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Institute for European Studies in ‘International Studies and Integration’, which will launch in 2019. Prior to this, the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona and the Department of Politics and International Studies at University of Warwick have offered a double degree since 2014. Other collaborative courses are also under discussion.
- Students from the EUTOPIA partners will spend up to four weeks this summer at the Barcelona International Summer School (Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona), where they will take courses in Spanish and English
- Students from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and from Pompeu Fabra Univeristy – Barcelona will be participating in the Warwick-run International Conference of Undergraduate Research in September 2019.
- A number of academic mobility schemes, including the Fernandes Fellowships programme (University of Warwick), and the EUTOPIA International Fellowships programme (l’Université Paris Seine) provide the opportunity for EUTOPIA academics to undertake research visits at partner universities. The EUTOPIA partner institutions are also developing exchange programmes for students and professional administrative staff.
- Numerous academic workshops continue to take place across the EUTOPIA partner institutions, including one recently hosted by University of Ljubljana in the area of Computer and Data Science. Further collaborations continue in the areas of Complexity Science, Theoretical Physics, Political and Social Sciences, and Arts and Cultural Heritage.
EUTOPIA unites over 165,000 students and 30,000 members of staff over six countries, with 90,000 international alumni associated with its member universities. Together, the EUTOPIA universities have research centres in 760 areas of knowledge.
Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick, commented:
“We in the University of Warwick and EUTOPIA community are delighted to have been successful in the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme.
“Our alliance of six European universities has already taken bold steps to create a new form of inclusive, innovative, international higher education - and this recognition from the European Union will help us to advance our mission.
“Warwick has been an international university since its foundation, and, together with our EUTOPIA partners, we continue to strengthen links across the continent, provide global opportunities for staff and students, and to transform our local region through collaborative research.”
The Right Honourable Baroness Catherine Ashton, Chancellor of the University of Warwick and former First Vice President of the European Commission, said:
“EUTOPIA is an initiative of which the Warwick community and our fellow members can be rightly proud.
“Universities across the continent must strive together to increase mobility between nations, use their combined expertise to address global issues, and offer fresh opportunities to improve the lives of European citizens — and EUTOPIA is a sector-leader.
“I am thrilled that our university has led the way in the foundation of EUTOPIA, and I congratulate our alliance for its success in the Erasmus+ programme, as well as its ongoing determination to develop an open, collaborative, cross-border academic community.”
Professor Seán Hand, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Europe) at the University of Warwick, commented:
"I am truly delighted that our EUTOPIA alliance has been asked to develop a transformative environment for international research and education. We want to address and overcome the invisible boundaries limiting our experience, potentiality and originality.
"Our mission of providing integrated and inclusive learning, research opportunity and team-building, and cross-regional connectedness will enable us to collaborate on common grand challenges, nurture a creative culture of enquiry, and champion a spirit of innovation, involvement and empowerment."
Caroline Pauwels, Rector of Vrije Universteit Brussel, said:
“I’m proud that the Vrije Universteit Brussel, with five other ambitious European universities in the EUTOPIA alliance, has been chosen by the European Commission as one of the pilot projects for developing a ‘European university’.
“Our shared aim is to create a common European learning and knowledge community that will transform our universities into living labs for education, research and innovation.
“Through open science and open education, with EUTOPIA we are creating a shared ‘multiversity’ with a strong multilingual, multidisciplinary and multicultural research and education agenda.”
Eva Wiberg, Vice Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg commented:
“This is a fantastic message. And it’s an honour to be selected as one of the first European networks to get the opportunity to make a strategic effort in Europe. This means that we’ll have great opportunities to increase our internationalisation and facilitate our idea that students, scholars and other employees should be able to move freely between the alliance’s institutions.”
Igor Papič, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, said:
“I am extremely pleased that our application has been favourably evaluated. This is a milestone in our endeavours and an important incentive to continue with our joint efforts to create the EUTOPIA alliance in the coming years. I would like to thank our partners for their excellent work and look forward to our collaboration in the future.”
François Germinet, Président Université de Cergy-Pontoise and Administrateur provisoire Université Paris Seine, commented :
"Université Paris Seine is very proud that our collective project EUTOPIA has obtained the opportunity to carry even further the impulse that we launched in gathering our academic communities.
“Working together this past year to build common grounds for a strong European universities' alliance has showed us how rewarding it is for our students, teachers and researchers to reach for broader programs that enhance the flow of ideas and scientific approaches across boundaries. It is an honor that our strenghts and will to go further have been recognized.
“It is a thrill to have the means to make it a very concrete reality and an every day perspective for our communities and territories.”
Professor Jaume Casals, Rector of the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, said:
“At last a great opportunity to eradicate internal and external, mental and material, local and national, bureaucratic and academic university barriers in Europe.
“UPF intends to make the most of it and try to fly freely, which is precisely what, by nature, a university should be doing.”
This communication was first published 26 June 2019 by the University of Warwick.