The Guild congratulates the seventeen winning alliances on the opportunity to become truly integrated European Universities. We are particularly pleased about the success of CIVIS (involving the University of Tübingen), EUTOPIA (involving the Universities of Ljubljana and Warwick) and UNA EUROPA (involving the Universities of Bologna and Jagiellonian). We express our support to all the pioneers of the initiative and look forward to seeing them develop innovative approaches they envisage in the long run.
The initiative has transformative potential for the higher education sector at large. European Universities could advance national education systems and shape the ‘universities of the future’. Fifty-four networks, together with many others expected to apply in the upcoming call, have the ability to influence the existing landscape by moving from project-based collaboration and Erasmus exchange to structured and sustainable partnerships built on shared values and a joint vision. To maximise the potential of the initiative, it is essential for alliances to share best practices outside their own communities.
“As we celebrate the progress of the Bologna process in the last twenty years, it is important to develop a new distinctive vision for universities in Europe. In the first pilot call we have seen the remarkable response from more than 300 universities willing to reimagine how universities work. The Guild is committed to supporting this initiative – through its participating member universities, but also beyond – to make sure it succeeds in boosting outstanding quality in education and research through integrated strategies, based on collaboration and mutual trust,” said Jan Palmowski, The Guild's Secretary-General.
To ensure that alliances deliver on their objectives, support from the Commission and national authorities is crucial. The Guild emphasises the need to use the current momentum to overcome existing national barriers for the benefit of the European Education Area. We encourage close collaboration with all networks – either in their reapplication process or further development. For the upcoming calls, The Guild reiterates its support for the bottom-up nature of this initiative and the level of flexibility appreciated among universities. Whilst we acknowledge a more cautious approach concerning the scale of cooperation in the pilot stage, we believe universities should be able to choose partners which bring added value to the alliance. Over the years, universities have formed strong partnerships with UK and Swiss colleagues based on their outstanding strength in education, research and innovation; therefore, the European Universities initiative should support this free exchange of ideas.