Next-generation European university alliance launches mission in Brussels

EUTOPIA, a new alliance of six European universities that strives to create a connected and inclusive academic community across the continent, launches its strategy today at the Solvay Library in Brussels.  

The Alliance has also today submitted its bid for the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme grant, which would boost its mission of working as a network of European campuses addressing global challenges – through collaborative research, increased mobility of students and staff, and with shared innovations which serve the wider public in regional communities.

Formed by Vrijie Universiteit Brussel, the University of Gothenburg, L’Université Paris-Seine, the University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, the University of Warwick and led by the University of Ljubljana, the EUTOPIA Alliance is forging a new generation for European higher education.

Already, the Alliance is developing joint Masters courses, joint PhD studentships and fellowships for Early Career Researchers, student exchange programmes and teaching collaborations.

Furthermore, academic conferences are taking place across the EUTOPIA universities – such as a two day workshop on Complex Systems in October 2018, during which potential research collaborations in areas like robotics and artificial intelligence were explored. A workshop for researchers in the Humanities on ‘History, Memory and Conflicts’ is also planned for later in 2019.

The EUTOPIA Alliance 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.

At the heart of EUTOPIA is an open learning community, which is co-created in partnership with students and non-academic partners. In time, the Alliance may include other higher education institutions both within and outside Europe.

The six partner universities are working together to modernise education and training, and provide 21st century skills and competencies in all of Europe’s regions.

Caroline Pauwels, Rector of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, said

"The VUB is happy that the EUTOPIA Alliance brings together 6 ambitious universities from very diverse metropolitan settings. Our joint project to create a common learning community and knowledge creation community aims to transform our universities into living labs of education and research innovation.

“Through Open Science and Open Education the EUTOPIA Alliance is driven towards the creation of a joint ‘multiversity’ with a strong multilingual, multidisciplinary and multicultural research and educational agenda. We aim to create mutual understanding through intensified co-creation of a common future for Europe.”

Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg, said:

“Together, the network has now submitted a strong application in a tough race with other universities. Our strongest contributions in this alliance are our knowledge in multidisciplinary research in relation to our large societal challenges, and our comprehensive quality work.

“I’m really looking forward to the bid submission. Regardless of the outcome, this is the beginning of an exciting co-operation.”

Igor Papic, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, said:

“I am very pleased that we have successfully submitted the EUTOPIA project proposal. Our alliance puts students ‘at the centre’ and prepares them for the society of 2050, teaching them how to tackle technological and sociological challenges. Part of the project’s objective is to ensure a balanced development across all the EU regions – which will be crucial for the success of the EU in the future. I am convinced that it is important that the UK universities remain partners in all the EU programmes.

“Our project proposal conveys the messages that we would like to establish a very good collaboration with the University of Warwick, irrespective of Brexit. I am so glad that the initial discussions between the universities were so fruitful and that we will continue to work together in any case.”

Francois Germinet, L’Université Paris Seine’s President, said:

“How can we address sustainable development goals around us? How do we make Europe a practical reality and meaningful utopia again? Our children are expecting strong answers. They expect respectful places where they can design their future and the future of our planet. This is why we are so pleased to launch our European University EUTOPIA.

“We are so proud, in Cergy, to be part of it. The teams of our 6 universities have done a great job. We are highly motivated to rely on our diversity, enlightened by a common humanist and entrepreneurial spirit, in order to invent the university the 21st century Europe needs”.

Jaume Casals, Rector of Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, said:

“EUTOPIA is, first and foremost, a happy encounter: a friendly alliance of universities that still breathe and live on the road coming at a good time. Then it’s a useful tool, optimal for the birth of the European universities of the 21st century, innovative, respectful to the local environment and with a vocation to cause an impact on a planetary scale.” 

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said:

“The University of Warwick is delighted to be a member of EUTOPIA, a new and exciting collaboration of universities from across Europe.

“Today, we collectively launch EUTOPIA’s mission and strategy, which confirms the commitment of our six member universities to open, innovative and inclusive education. Together, we will strive to foster greater mobility for ideas and people, bring together our local regions to address global issues and push forward the new generation of higher education in Europe.

“Europe-wide research and teaching collaboration is central to who we are as a University and we are delighted to work with our EUTOPIA colleagues to further our alliance, and to provide fresh opportunities to transform the lives of the Warwick community and our region.”

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Luk Van Langenhove
Luk Van Langenhove Head of International Institutes and Networks, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Luk Van Langenhove
Luk Van Langenhove Head of International Institutes and Networks, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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