Eutopia – a new European network

On Wednesday we signed an agreement to join a new university network, called Eutopia. With us the new alliance consists of six European universities. The network was initiated by the British University of Warwick together with the French University Paris Seine and the Belgian Vrije Universiteit Brussel. This November, the Slovenian University of Ljubljana joined, and will now coordinate the alliance. It was during this fall that we, together with Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, got the invite to join the alliance.

The cooperation is a strong alliance and one of the main goals is to respond to the European Commission’s appeal to create strategic co-operations between European higher education institutions.

All of the institutions in the alliance have a strong focus when it comes to quality driven research and education, and together we cover a broad geographic scope all over Europe. The joining institutions will take lead in particular areas, but we will all contribute in some way to all areas. The work will have focus on students and have an inclusive approach. This will take a more distinct form in the near future, and I’ll have reason to return to the matters.

The Vice-Chancellors sign on the agreement. From left: Jaume Casals, Pompeu Fabra University; Caroline Pauwels, Vrije Universiteit Brussels; Eva Wiberg, University of Gothenburg, Igor Papič, University of Ljubljana; François Germinet, University Paris Seine; Stuart Croft, University of Warwick. Foto: Photo Studio Nora, Ljubljana

The European Commission’s appeal has also resulted in a call for applications within the programme Erasmus + which is called European Universities Initiative. It has focus on student mobility and increased quality and competitiveness in higher education in Europe, and our new alliance has started working on an application. Regardless of the outcome, our participation will teach us a lot about how the commission’s coming programme within the area will look like.

I want to emphasise that this is an important strengthening of our already existing networks and collaborations. I’m convinced that, which you already know by now, to maintain the quality and competitiveness of our university, we need to put our focus on internationalisation from different perspectives, to lay a global jigsaw is one way to put it. Different pieces of the jigsaw can have different purposes.

I wish that a large part of our students and employees in different ways will make the most of the possibilities, to find that piece that fits, and participate in the international collaborations in the future.