”Sustainability – an ever closer alliance” was the theme of this year’s meeting of representatives of the seven 4EU+ Alliance member universities. Rectors, flagship coordinators, administration staff, doctoral candidates and students of the universities of: Warsaw, Copenhagen, Geneva and Milan, as well as Charles University, Heidelberg University, and Sorbonne University were discussing 4EU+ achievements and future plans that also dealt with an issue of sustainable development.
The 4EU+ Alliance is one of the strategic initiatives of the University of Warsaw. The alliance is made up of European research universities: the University of Warsaw, Charles University in Prague, Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Geneva, and the University of Milan. The cooperation is focused on shared education and innovative didactics, joint research, multidisciplinary research teams, innovation-related initiatives, technology transfer and social responsibility of universities.
In 2019, the alliance obtained the funding in the first pilot “European Universities” call for proposals under the Erasmus+ programme. The 4EU+ consortium is one of 17 academic alliances to receive funds for their projects.
On 27th July 2022, One Comprehensive Research European University (1CORE), a project by the 4EU+ Alliance, was granted another funding under the “European Universities” call. The initiative includes such actions as: multi- and interdisciplinary education, innovative and research-based teaching and learning, strengthening of mobility, also virtual mobility, and new shared digital infrastructure.
On a yearly basis, the 4EU+ organises meetings for its members. The first annual meeting took place in 2019 at Sorbonne University, Paris, another meeting, this time online, was coordinated by Charles University, whereas the third event was held at the University of Heidelberg.
This year the 4EU+ Annual Meeting was from 26th through 28th October at the University of Copenhagen. The leading theme of the event was “Sustainability – an ever closer alliance”. The meeting was attended by rectors, vice-rectors for research and science, coordinators of four flagships, administration staff, doctoral candidates and students. The University of Warsaw was represented by around 30 persons, including members of the Rector’s team: Prof. Alojzy Z. Nowak, the UW Rector, Prof. Sławomir Żółtek, the Vice-Rector for Students and Quality of Teaching, Prof. Sambor Grucza, the Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Human Resources, Prof. Zygmunt Lalak, Vice-Rector for Research, as well as 4EU+ flagship coordinators from the UW: Dr Grzegorz Kula, Prof. Anna Wojtyś, Prof. Agata Bareja-Starzyńska, Prof. Błażej Miasojedow, Dr Julia Pawłowska and Dr Mariola Zalewska.
The event was an opportunity to have face-to-face conversations and discussions about further cooperation between partner universities.
During the first day 4EU+ working groups met to tackle issues related to mobility and educational projects, and, in addition, the 4EU+ student portal. Representatives of the fourth flagship implied an issue of biodiversity research. During the ceremony in the Copenhagen City Hall, participants were greeted by Prof. Henrik C. Wegener, the Rector of the University of Copenhagen, and Line Barfod, the Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs at the City of Copenhagen.
Sustainable development and a new leader
The second day of the Annual Meeting in the Maersk Tower was devoted to discussions about sustainable development at universities. On an official opening by the Rector of the University of Copenhagen and Isabelle Kratz, the General Secretary of the Alliance, a lecture “Outreach and engagement in the society” was delivered by Nana Bule, CEO of Microsoft Denmark & Iceland. Also, the topic of cooperation within a sustainable development was discussed by Prof. Lars Toender of the University of Copenhagen.
In the latter part of the meeting Prof. Bernhard Eitel, the Rector of the University of Heidelberg, presented the last year achievements of the alliance. Then the chairmanship was duly taken over by Prof. Henrik C. Wegener, the Rector of the University of Copenhagen.
The programme of the Annual Meeting also included a sitting of the Governing Board of rectors of the alliance partner universities, sessions on sustainable development policy in the EU, ‘green skills’, technology transfer in teaching and sustainable mobility.
Representatives of 4EU+ universities took part in a debate on sustainable development, among them Prof. Zygmunt Lalak, the UW Vice-Rector for Research, who was talking about a textbook “Klimatyczne ABC” that was stemmed from an initiative of scientists associated with the “UW for Climate” team.
Working groups and doctoral projects
During the last day of the Annual Meeting Isabelle Kratz was describing achievements and accomplishments of the 4EU+ Alliance as well as further plans relating to the new 1CORE project. The speech was followed by meetings of representatives of the Governing Board, flagships’ working groups and the Students’ Committee.
The day ended up with the so-called “Students’ PhD Cup”. Doctoral candidates of the 4EU+ partner universities, with Maciej Karasewicz of the UW among them, presented their sustainable development projects.