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European Universities initiative : second call of pilot phase and future roll-out in the next Erasmus+ programme

31 January 2020

The Executive Board Chair, Prof. Ludovic Thilly, was invited to participate to the stakeholders’ event ‘Co-creating Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps’ held on 28-29 January 2020 in Brussels.

The conference was opened by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who stressed the importance of dialogue with stakeholders for the continued success of the successive Erasmus(+) programmes but also the need to increase the number of beneficiaries from this unique mobility programme. The recently published Erasmus+ 2018 activity report shows that more than 10 millions of citizens have already experienced from the programme and have developed unique skills and competences through it. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel therefore called for an ambitious budget allocated to the next Erasmus+ programme and for more solidarity between Members States and all institutions participating to the strengthening of the European spirit and identity.

The conference programme was distributed into several breakout sessions, among which were “European Universities Initiative: Building the universities of the future”, “Making the most of virtual cooperation” and “Improving policies and systems for tomorrow’s world” (among many others).

The session on European Universities Initiative was the occasion to recall the details of the second call of the pilot phase (with a submission deadline on 26 February 2020) with 24 new selected Alliances. Two already selected Alliances (among which was ARQUS, composed of 7 universities, 5 of them being Coimbra Group members, www.arqus-alliance.eu) were invited to present their ambition and innovative approach. The audience was then invited to reflect on the following questions: “How would you define the Universities of the Future?”, “How can the selected European Universities pave the way for the Universities of the Future?” and “What are the main obstacles to achieve this? How to overcome them?”.

It is worth mentioning that these questions will also be discussed at the upcoming Stakeholder Group meeting on the European Universities Initiative, to be held in Brussels on 5 February 2020, where the Coimbra Group will also be present.

It is the wish of the Coimbra Group Executive Board to continue the monitoring of developments in this initiative and to provide support to all Coimbra Group Universities, incl. to the Alliances selected this year and to those in preparation for the second call of the pilot phase and of the next Erasmus+ Programme. This support is manyfold:

– As already proposed to applicants in the first pilot call, the Coimbra Group Executive Board will welcome all requests from our member universities involved in Alliances for Associated Partnership on knowledge sharing and dissemination. Such a collegiate approach should benefit all Coimbra Group Universities, as well as other major actors in the European Higher Education Area and European Research Area;

– a recurring section in the Coimbra Group Newsletter has now been created: articles and news should be sent to the Coimbra Group Office (info@coimbra-group.eu)

– a special open session on the Alliances will be organized at the Coimbra Group Annual Meetings, starting with the 2020 one: the first open session will be on 10 June 2020 from 2-4 pm in Montpellier. Such sessions will be open to all Coimbra Group Universities to ensure free and frank discussions.