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2018-2019, a crucial year for European Higher Education, Research and Innovation

31 August 2018

By the Coimbra Group Executive Board

We concluded the July Newsletter editorial with the observation that “the 2017-2018 academic year was another busy year for Higher Education and Research advocacy, and 2018-2019 promises to be even more intense”.

And indeed, within the next twelve months we will see the final discussion rounds and decisions on the two major European programmes Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, the launch of the pilot phase of the already well advertised European Universities Alliances and, of course, the all-important elections for a new European Parliament in May 2019 and the appointment of a new European Commission for the following five years.

Over the past year, all Coimbra Group actors have been involved in the preparation of these important programmes and initiatives: members of the Executive Board have participated in a large number of stakeholder meetings to make the voice of Coimbra Group universities heard, resulting in a series of Coimbra Group interventions and joint actions with other major European university associations. The Coimbra Group Working Groups have also been strongly involved in the analysis of the next European programmes and the preparation of our statements. The Executive Board has also intensified the dialogue with the Rectors’ Advisory Group in order to refine the Coimbra Group priorities and better meet our members’ expectations. For instance, at the occasion of the annual conference at the University of Salamanca in May 2018, the Rectors’ Advisory Group and Executive Board members reflected together on “Where do we see the Coimbra Group in 2030?”.

Building on all these initiatives, the Executive Board defined the following strategic priorities for 2018-2019 during its June 2018 meeting:

1) increase Coimbra Group advocacy activities, in particular regarding

  • the principles and priorities of Horizon Europe;
  • support to the shaping of European Universities Alliances;
  • a renewed and strengthened role of universities in the Bologna Process.

2) strengthen Coimbra Group engagement with society and, in particular, with students.

The first series of priorities will translate into several events, one of the most important being the fourth high-level research policy seminar for Rectors on Horizon Europe and the “Defining and measuring impact of research: an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach”. This event will take place on 6 and 7 December 2018, at the Venice International University on the island of San Servolo in the Venice Lagoon (more info here).

The second series of priorities will be supported by a high-level workshop to be organised in Brussels in early 2019 in collaboration with the European Parliament, on the Poitiers Declaration and University-City relations. The 2019 annual conference, organized by the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, will also foster important debate on gender equality with “Women in the University” as the topic for its public conference.

The Executive Board members are looking forward to exchanging views and opinions with you on all these important topics, and at the same time we wish you a rich and fruitful new academic year!

EB members:
Ludovic Thilly, Executive Board Chair
Jürgen Barkhoff
Danny Donoghue
Johnny Laursen
Dorota Malec
Joaquim Ramos de Carvalho
Lenka Rovna
Efrem Yildiz Sadak
Luca Verzichelli