“The 4EU+ European University Alliance is an excellent example of successful international collaboration, based on a common idea of the European University that builds on academic freedom and autonomy,” stressed Prof. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University. More than 160 representatives of the six-member universities, including approximately thirty of the University of Warsaw, participated in this year’s Annual Meeting of 4EU+ Alliance. The next one will be hosted by the University of Copenhagen.
The 4EU+ Alliance is one of the strategic initiatives of the University of Warsaw. It comprises European research universities the University of Warsaw, Sorbonne University, Heidelberg University, Charles University in Prague, University of Copenhagen and the University of Milan. The collaboration refers to building a common framework for education and an innovative didactic offer, conducting research by interuniversity, multidisciplinary teams of academics, initiatives related to innovation, transfer of technology and social responsibility of universities. In 2019, the Alliance was granted the status of a European university in the European Commission pilot call “European Universities” financed by the Erasmus + programme. The 4EU + consortium is among the 17 university alliances that received funding for their projects.
Every year, 4EU + organises meetings gathering together the representatives of its community. The first Annual Meeting took place in 2019 at Sorbonne University, the second – in the online formula – was organised by Charles University in Prague. This year, the meeting was held on-site on 3rd-5th November at Heidelberg University. Participants summarised their joint activities and discussed their plans.
“The European University is neither a project nor a programme: It is a new concept of a university. Its aim is to create structures that make us as six research-intensive universities even stronger in research, even more student-centred in education, and even more attractive in our academic ecosystems and outreach activities,” indicated Prof. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University.
The 3rd Annual Meeting of 4EU+ brought together Rectors, Vice-Rectors, the General Secretariat, managers of local 4EU + offices, as well as academics, doctoral candidates and students. During the first plenary session, representatives of four 4EU+ Flagship programmes and selected educational projects, being carried out within the Alliance, took the floor. The second Flagship programme “Europe in a changing world: Understanding and engaging societies, economies, cultures and languages” was presented by Flagship 2 Coordinator at the University of Warsaw, Prof. Anna Wojtyś from the Faculty of Modern Languages. The educational project “European Pluralities” was presented by Dr. Nicolas Maslowski from the Centre for French Cultural, who coordinates the project.
Julia Kostro, a student of the UW Faculty of Management and the Chairperson of the International Cooperation Committee of the UW Students’ Council, represented the 4EU+ Student Committee during the session. She spoke about the goals and challenges of the Alliance from the student perspective: “4EU+ is an alliance of research universities. As students, we would like to have easy and open access to the online library resources of our universities. It is significant for the development of a scientific career.”
During the think tanks sessions, the following topics were discussed:
- How can 4EU+ set an agenda for European Research?
- How can we achieve educational innovation via technological and pedagogical research, development and implementation?
- Just wishful thinking? How can virtual mobility in higher education become a meaningful European experience?
- What are expectations, and how does 4EU+ with a joint community reshape the understanding of a university culture for students, researchers and staff?
- The learning journey continued. How do we ensure that the European knowledge community continuously renews itself to address the global challenges of the future?
The 4EU + General Assembly meeting was streamed live. The keynote speech was delivered by Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The recording of the General Assembly is available on the YouTube channel of Heidelberg University >>
The last day of the 4EU+ Annual Meeting saw gatherings of various bodies such as the Academic Council, European University Project Coordination Committee (EUPCC), TRAIN4EU+ Steering Committee and the Student Committee.