“Six partners, three challenges, one vision” that is a motto of 4EU+. The University of Warsaw, Charles University, Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University, that belong to the 4EU Alliance, join forces with the University of Copenhagen and University of Milan. Six partners created the 4EU+ consortium and submitted an application in the Erasmus+ “European Universities” call.

The 4EU+ universities respond to the call of the European Commission regarding the European Universities Initiative. They strive to address the great socio-political and economic challenges in Europe, such as the growing concentration of wealth and failure of redistributive mechanisms, transformative impact of social media and the subsequent rise of fake news, climate change or artificial intelligence. The partner institutions will work together in the area of education, research and innovation. In their “Mission Statement” 4EU+ universities stressed:

 

“(…) We must guide our students as they acquire the knowledge to build a better future, support our researchers as they continue to expand the limits of knowledge and ensure that this knowledge helps society address the challenges of our times. We share these challenges with all other universities, in Europe and beyond, but as flagship institutions in our respective countries, we also have a special mission to disseminate knowledge and new pedagogical methods to partner institutions, to train students who will, themselves, teach in schools, professional institutes and universities throughout Europe, to promote a better understanding of European culture and history throughout our national educational systems and to ensure that Europe continues to be a key player in Education, Research and Knowledge and Technology Transfer. ”

 

A brief history of 4EU+

On 26th September 2017, Emmanuel Macron, president of the French Republic delivered a speech during which he said:

 

“I believe we should create European Universities – a network of universities across Europe with programmes that have all their students study abroad and take classes in at least two languages. These European Universities will also be drivers of educational innovation and the quest for excellence. We should set for ourselves the goal of creating at least 20 of them by 2024. However, we must begin setting up the first of these universities as early as the next academic year, with real European semesters and real European diplomas.”

 

On 14th November 2017, the European Commission published the communication “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture” in which it took up the proposal of Emmanuel Macron to create European Universities. One month later, the EU heads of states and governments called on member states, the Council and the Commission to strengthen strategic partnerships across the EU between higher education institutions and create by 2024 of some twenty ‘European Universities’.

 

On 10th March in Paris, four rectors of the University of Warsaw, Charles University, Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University signed a “Declaration on the establishment of the 4EU Alliance”. 4EU further expanded in October 2018 by including two fully aligned new partners, Copenhagen and Milan. The formalisation of their cooperation took place on 17th January 2019 in Heidelberg, where the 4EU rectors and rectors of the University of Copenhagen and University of Milan signed “Memorandum of Understanding” and formed 4EU+.

 

Six research-intensive universities

All universities that belong to 4EU+ are public well-established comprehensive research-intensive institutions that perform well in both national and international rankings. They are situated in all 4 European sub-regions representing Western Europe (Heidelberg, Sorbonne), the Nordic countries (Copenhagen), Central Europe (Prague and Warsaw) and Southern Europe (Milan). The members sharing and being highly committed to the European values embed them into research, education and service to society. They want to tackle three challenges: boost meaningful mobility, increase inclusiveness and balance at a European level and develop a common challenge-based framework for education.

 

Partner universities want to create joint study programmes and flexible study paths for students within the alliance, cooperate in development of pedagogical competences (use of the most innovative pedagogies, technology-enhanced learning, blended learning and digital technologies). Also, they want to carry out joint research within the flagships.

 

 

4EU+ universities will cooperate in innovation and technology transfer as well as mobility of students, academic and administrative staff.

 

So far, universities have been cooperating tightly. There were regular meetings of rectors and vice-rectors, researchers and administrative staff. The employees of 4EU+ universities participated in several seminars and workshops concerning multidisciplinary research programmes. Also, specialized working groups for mobility, education and PR were set. The 4EU+ institutions have already been successful in obtaining several national grants, which enabled the alliance to increase its common budget, offer micro-grants and seed funding for the further development of joint initiatives, thus already putting the first joint 4EU+ projects in motion. The establishment of joint governance structures allowed to streamline cooperation.