28 February 2019

University alliance will create European programmes


The University of Copenhagen is joining the university alliance 4EU+, which is to educate Europeans who can work together across languages, borders and disciplines. 4EU+ has just applied for funding for the alliance through the Erasmus programme.

The University of Copenhagen has been invited to join a new European university alliance. The alliance is called 4EU+ and consists of six universities. The other members are the universities in Heidelberg, Milan and Warsaw as well as the Sorbonne in Paris and Charles University in Prague.

The vision is to create a common 4EU+ identity as well as integrate physical and virtual campuses. The rectors would like to develop joint degree programmes within the alliance's four flagships (see fact box).

New alliances in Europe are booming

4EU+ has been founded on the back of the European Commission's 'European Universities Initiative', whose goal is to educate a new generation of creative Europeans who can work together across languages, borders and disciplines with a view to addressing the major societal challenges Europe is facing. The Commission wants to encourage universities to establish networks that will allow students to acquire European Bachelor’s and Master's degrees and strengthen the international competitiveness of European universities.

Initially, the European Commission has allocated EUR 30 million under the EU Erasmus+ education programme. The funds, which will be awarded to six different university alliances, will be used to explore various models for collaboration.

“It’s an exciting vision the European Commission has presented. It’s easy to spot the barriers in terms of joint university degrees, sharing of research infrastructure and so on. But if we are to overcome the barriers, we need to cooperate. And we need to address the politicians as there are also national barriers to overcome. This is a signal of their attention and we should take advantage of that," says Prorector Bente Merete Stallknecht.

Setting up university networks is a key initiative in the Commission's efforts to build a European Education Area by 2025. Prorector Bente Merete Stallknecht expects that by joining 4EU+, the University will have better opportunities to influence the EU's future research and education policy and to attract funds from the EU research and education programmes.

The best universities in Europe

Part of the task to strengthen the international competitiveness of European universities is also to learn from each other. The Rector is looking very much looking forward to working together in 4EU+:

“The six universities in 4EU+ are each leading in their respective home countries, so we’re joining a club of good universities. They are universities with a long tradition and we can learn a lot from them, so I’m looking forward to collaborating in all areas within both education and research. However, we’re not joining just to learn. The University of Copenhagen is in the European top league in terms of winning funds from Horizon 2020 and our position on international university rankings, so we can use the alliance to share and disseminate the Danish research and education practices that we have developed over the past 30 years," Rector Henrik C. Wegener says.

Today (28 February 2019), the six universities submitted a formal application to the "European Universities" call. The answer is expected before the summer holidays this year.