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Scottish research universities in Europe after Brexit

Brussels & online, 5 February 2021. „Scottish universities harnessing research excellence to address global challenges with European partners“ is the title of this online discusson organised by the Scotland House Brussels. Participants are representatitives of the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh, alongside the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and The Guild.

This conversation, taking place after confirmation of the UK’s association to Horizon Europe, focuses on how the world-leading research undertaken by Scottish universities remains important and relevant to Europe. Speakers discuss how, through Horizon Europe, Scotland’s researchers continue to work with partners across Europe to address our shared global challenges.
This event brings together the Principals from the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh, as well as the Secretary-Generals of LERU and the Guild, to discuss how universities will collaborate as European partners, and the crucial role networks will play in keeping UK universities engaged in European research discourse and collaboration.

Speakers

  • Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General, LERU
  • Professor Jan Palmowski, Secretary-General, The Guild
    and
  • John Struthers, Professor of Economics at the University of The West of Scotland
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Video

UUU Panel 2.1 – EDUC, EUNICE, ARQUS & EELISA

Berlin, Poznań, Bergen, Paris, Potsdam, 8 December 2020. United Universities of Europe: “Vocations and Competencies in the Age of European Universities” – UUU panel debate 2, part 1: Policy officers from four different University Alliances in four different countries describe their new positions: How does the need for international co-operation shape their professions? Which new skills do the need? Which special tasks and challenges have arisen? How do their new professions evolve?

Guests:

  • Magdalena Sikorska, Politechnika Poznańska, EUNICE Project Officer
  • Katrine Moland Hansen, Universitetet i Bergen, Local ARQUS Alliance Coordinator
  • Thibaut Skrzypek, EELISA, École des Ponts ParisTech, Work Package Leader
  • Nadine Shovakar, Universität Potsdam, EDUC Project Manager

Organiser:

  • Tino Brömme, ESNA European Higher Education News

See part 2 of the panel debate here; see the intermission here

TRANSKRIPT

     Guten Morgen, Europa! Good morning, Europe! Buon giorno, Europa! Benvenuti cittadini del mondo! – I must say, it is always a pleasure to start something in Italian because this is the language that gives me the most European feeling of all. Dante Alighieri was the first of all Europeans. I remember this line of his Odysseus who says to his crew: “Fatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza.” Odysseus embarks to discover the unknown and says to his crew: You are not made to live like beasts, but to search virtue and knowledge. And this is exactly what European universities are doing nowadays, they are on a quest, on a new way to explore themselves.

This is the second panel discussion of United Universities of Europe. And we are trying to explore what’s going on in European universities who have joined into greater units, into alliances. One way to find out how they are, how they’re working, is to look at the people who work there, is to see how they’re working there. And for that, we have invited a number guests today. Some of them are policy officers and coordinators in these alliances. We start with Magdalena Sikorska from the EUNICE Alliance in Poznań, the Poznań University of Technology is leading this alliance. We will speak afterwards with Thibaut Skrzypek from the École des Ponts ParisTech who is a Work Package Leader of the EELISA Alliance. Then we are meeting Katrine Moland Hansen from Bergen who is the Local ARQUS Alliance Coordinator there. And then we’ll meet Nadine Shovakar from the University of Potsdam, not far from here, from Berlin, who is the Project Manager of EDUC, European Digital UniverCity Alliance. This will be the first half hour of our panel discussion where we find out what these coordinators are actually doing at work. Then we have a little break where we talk with Peter van der Hijden, a higher education policy advisor. And after the break, we continue to go deeper into the topic and talk with Eva-Maria Feichtner. She’s a Vice President of the University of Bremen. And after that, we meet Jörg Niehoff, Policy Coordinator for University-Business Cooperation in the European Commission. So this is the programme overall. And I would like to start right away with our first guest who is Magdalena Sikorska. Hello Magda!

Magdalena Sikorska Hello, everyone. Good morning

Good morning. So you’re speaking from Poznań, the leading institution of the EUNICE Alliance, right?

Magdalena Sikorska Right. Actually, we pronounce it “junis” or you can pronounce it “you-nice” or however you want to, but this stands for European University for Customised Education. And actually, I represent Poznań University of Technology, and we are the only Polish university that is the leader of its consortium. So definitely this is a great privilege. But also it entails a lot of challenges for us.

     Is it true that Poland also has given a special support, also financial support to the universities, to Polish universities in the University Alliances?

Magdalena Sikorska Yes, that’s true. We are supported by our government. All together there are 11 Polish universities that are a part of the Alliances among the first call of 2019 and 2020. So we are supported financially by our government.

     I understand that you are the Project Officer of the EUNICE Alliance. In what consists your work, actually, or the collaboration with your colleagues in Poznań for the Alliance?

Magdalena Sikorska Yes. So actually, the structure of the core people who are the creating team of EUNICE at our university is: On the strategic level, we have our Vice President for international cooperation, professor Pawel Śniatala who is the EUNICE coordinator. And we have created within our university structure a completely new unit that is basically dealing with the Alliance and it is dedicated to the European University. And at this point, there are two people working in this unit. It will be my colleague Anna Bashinska (?) who is there a Communication Officer for the Alliance, and myself, I am working as a Project Officer. So we are both working on this operational level of the alliance. But of course, this is just the core. And without getting different people from different faculty members, administrative workers on board, you will then be able to to implement the project. So that’s very important to work and invite over people from different different units, different departments from the university. And also important aspect is the financial department, because we as a leader, we are responsible for distributing money, for monitoring progress, for reports, also financial reports. So this financial aspect is also very important. So team working and cooperation, this is what is important in implementing such a project at the university.

     I’m not working inside. I am trying to imagine what you’re doing. So the main part is communication and project planning, or how can I understand this?

Magdalena Sikorska My task is to communicate and disseminate. We have just started, we had a kick-off meeting a few days ago with the European Commission. We just started the project on November 1st, so we are at this organisational stage of our Alliance at this point. We are getting and building the teams from faculty members, from different disciplines so that they are helping us with implementing the project. We’re working on different work packages, working on deliverables. But myself, I’m working more on this administrative level. So co-operating with all our partners from Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Finland and then Germany. And so it’s important to communicate with everybody internally, but also externally. We have already created our website and we have many stakeholders contacting us. And you need to a find a good way to communicate and disseminate information about your alliance outside of it.

     Would you say that you have noticed the different working style of your colleagues in the other countries and other universities? Perhaps another way they approach problems than you do as a Northern European?

Magdalena Sikorska To some extent, yes. You know, our alliance is very widely distributed across Europe. We have people coming from north and the western part, there are different characters, a different pace of work, different approaches. The issue is also different academic calendars, because, for instance, during the summer time, some of the universities are closed and we had to work on some important issues that the Commission required from us. But we (in Poznań), as the leader (of the project), have to deal with these situations and have to somehow cope with that.

     Magda, the last question for now. What would you think is the most exciting or the most interesting new task that you have taken over now that you’re doing this job as a EUNICE Project Officer? Which of these tasks that you have is the most challenging, most difficult, most interesting?

Magdalena Sikorska I guess there are many of them. I would say that the team work is very important, solving problems, work management. These are all important aspects of your work because you need to deal with different challenges. Like, for instance, we work on this cloud and then everybody works there. And, for instance, one day you’ll deal with an issue but somebody has forgotten his password and cannot access it. But on the other day, you might be dealing with an issue of failure in a backup. And that’s a bigger issue. So that involves some kind of risk management and so on. At the end of the day, the added value of working within the Alliance is the work in the international environment. And that’s something that I really value in my work. Also, I think is important when you speak different languages, because we stress the importance of multilingualism in our Alliance. So it can be valuable when you are able to understand documents and facts in the other languages when you work with your partners from abroad. But we also stress in our Alliance that multilingualism is an important feature of our future EUNICE graduates because we believe knowing other languages will make you will be better for you when you apply for a job. So will increase your employability, being a graduate of such an Alliance.

     Well Magda, grazie per questa bellissima contribuzione. Thank you for this precious contribution.

     We switch now to our second guest, Katrine. Now we’re going into the far north of Europe to Bergen where Katrine is the ARQUS Coordinator. ARQUS is an Alliance that is already active over a year. And you are with the Alliance nearly a year, for 10 month, right Katrine?

Katrine Moland Hansen I started at the University of Bergen in Norway to take on this task of coordinating and leading our activities linked to the ARQUS Alliance.

     Katrine, you have been already working in an international environment before. Can you say what you did before and how you got into this (new job)?

Katrine Moland Hansen Prior to starting at the University of Bergen, I worked for the Norwegian National Agency, where I coordinated ERASMUS+ for higher education in Norway. And prior to that, I also worked for six years in Brussels dealing with policy issues with more in the business and trade area. So for me personally, getting to know the university in the past has been an important task this first year, and I’m still sort of getting to know the institutions.

     You told me what you found most challenging when you started this new job. It was working internationally, and working across disciplines and departments. Could you explain a little bit what you’re doing, actually?

Katrine Moland Hansen I think this is an opportunity in the Alliance that we get to work both international, of course, and and across different structures within the university. Nothing of this is new in itself, but the scope and extent of these activities are very new and the ambition of the ARQUS Alliance challenges how we work. So organisation-wise, it’s extremely interesting and it encourages new ways of co-operating internally at our institution as well as with our partners.

The thought of this, of getting to know the differences and similarities between partners, what has been a bit surprising to me, was also the extent of working with local structures and anchoring the alliance activities within our institution. We have now set up an internal structure to support efficient decision-making and management in a “matrix organisation.” The work is so extensive involving more than 50 staff, so it’s important to ensure a coordinated approach. And we have, amongst other things, set up a coordination group.

     One thing is also very interesting that ARQUS Alliance has pledged to reach out society, to connect with the – as Vanessa Debiais-Sainton (from the European Commission) put it – the innovative ecosystem. What does it mean in practical terms? How do you connect? What difficulties do you have?

Katrine Moland Hansen Of course, the pandemic situation hasn’t helped, but we have plans to develop a regional socio-economic network in one of our action lines. This could be an important resource both in our work in innovation and entrepreneurship, equality and education, of course, as for the relevance of our education and for our challenge-based programme, to name some examples. We have been in dialogue with potential partners, but it’s a challenging period to develop new partnerships. This comprehensive approach can be beneficial in oder to be more coordinated towards external stakeholders. Linking ARQUS to other initiatives at our institution, at local, regional, national and European levels is key here.

    Would you say that the Corona virus and the need to communicate so much online has slowed down your co-operation possibilities this year?

Katrine Moland Hansen We have had a lot of communication activities for digital channels such as this, but engaging more in informal settings is not so relevant now. So I think we have changed the focus a bit and then we can make up for that, once the situation changes. And so we focus more on the task that can be done in a digital way and at our desks, before moving on to do more outreach activities and informal settings.

      So the last question, adding to this, would you agree that being confined to the online and the digital communication is also an opportunity to think more about the communicative structures and to prepare them?

Katrine Moland Hansen Yes, I think that has been very important now. One of the few benefits of the situation is actually that we have been able to reflect a bit internally on how we work. And I think also it has made us be more innovative in working in different ways and new ways that we also can continue to do after this crisis. And I think we will come out stronger. For instance, the university as Bergen is leading a challenge-based education programme. And the idea was to have a physical school where to bring our students together. Instead, we had to reflect on how to do this in a way that will be more a blended format. So we will not travel and meet, but hopefully students at different institutions will be able to meet. And and we will still interact. So we have been able to sort of innovate the way we do it and ensuring that while the outcome will not be the same, it will hopefully be of the same quality, even though we can’t meet physically. So, I think it has allowed us to think in different ways how we work.

     Katrine, thank you so far.

     I would like now to invite Thibaut to join our round. Thibaut, hello to Paris! Thibaut is Work Package Leader at the École des Ponts in Paris. His alliance is named EELISA, which is concentrated on engineering schools. Thibaut, is it true that the École des Ponts is the oldest engineering school in France?

Thibaut Skrzypek ENSTA, which is also located in Paris, was created in the mid-18th century, 1741, for the École des Ponts. So the king by this time was not Emmanuel Macron but was Louis XV.

     Emmanuel Macron was in your building lately, I remember. Well, did you meet him?

Thibaut Skrzypek Last week he gave an interview in the media offices located in my building. So when I went to the trash bins, I saw plenty of police officers and security agents. I said, please don’t shoot, I will put the paper in the right bin, don’t shoot!

     Emmanuel Macron, whatever his other politics are, gave an European input to this European Universities Alliance initiative. This has been a good start in 2017 and now nearly 300 universities are organised in these 41 University Alliances and the École des Ponts is one of them. Thibaut, how has your professional practise changed from bilateral to multilateral since you are working for EELISA?

Thibaut Skrzypek My regular job, my usual practise, is just bilateral or mainly bilateral. So it means that only one border is crossed in terms culture, of working methods or local regulation. So with those multilateral projects like the European Universities, (I have) a lot of borders to cross, this multinational and it brings elements of complexity, of course, and it makes things a little bit spicier.

     Can you give a practical example?

Thibaut Skrzypek Well, the EELISA Alliance, which stands for European Engineering, Learning, Innovation and Science Alliance, is mainly focussed on building a “European Engineer,” the way to practise the profession of engineering. And the way the accreditation agencies control the education and diplomas are different from one country to another. So we must take care and look closely to those differences in order to target what is the aim of our Alliance, which is to design an integrated European Engineering Degree.

     Is your work package concentrated especially on this?

Thibaut Skrzypek So the École des Ponts is a member of the EELISA Alliance. The EELISA Alliance is coordinated by the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. My institution is in charge of the Work Package dedicated to accreditation and education management. So it means that we therefore will analyse differences between the curricula, the requirements, and we will strengthen our common approaches and create new ones. We will design credential diploma supplements as intermediate steps in order to target EELISA Degree. And of course, we will have exchanges with our national authorities. For instance, I have this afternoon meeting with the French National Accreditation Agency, the Commission des titres des ingénieur (CTI). So the aim is to contribute to the removal of barriers for the practise of engineering in Europe. But I think also the objective is to strengthen the attractiveness of the European educated engineer around the world.

    Well, wouldn’t it be easier just to take the German engineering diploma and to adopt it in every country?

Thibaut Skrzypek I don’t know if this would be easy. But probably three years will be very short in order to reach this goal.

      So your task is, on one hand, to look at how engineering is taught in the different members of the Alliance, and also how the different legal systems are to create a diploma, or what is your work consisting of in detail?

Thibaut Skrzypek I think, they are those two approaches. An approach from the institution of higher education. So we look closely to the requirements, to the courses, to the credits, to the internships – really the design of the curricula. And there is also the look from the local authorities and the professional organisations in terms of practises, of practise, of titles. We will have to look closely to those both aspects: from institutional point of view, the Unions of engineers, for instance, and from the side of the accreditation agencies and local authorities.

    Do you think a common European engineering degree will be more attractive internationally?

Thibaut Skrzypek I think so. I hope. There is this North American US accreditation label, which is called ABET, and it is widely, widely used around the world. I would like to have a European engineering degree or label like the US. We have the ENAEE organisation amongst our members, as a partner member of the EELISA Alliance, in order to have this European engineer, European educated engineer. And I think this kind of engineer has specificities in terms of science, in terms of connexion with the society. This is really a European specificity that we should be proud of.

     Alone the public debate about the development of this degree, is certainly modernising the way of thinking of how engineers are working. Maybe I’ll ask a last question, Thibaut. What special skills did you have to learn now for this new position as a Work Package Leader, as a coordinator for the Alliance?

Thibaut Skrzypek I’m sure that project management and delivery related to European Universities or Work Packages or so require new skills. Or rather a combination of skills. Skills that we already have within our institution, within our teams, like our budget and financial monitoring, electrical engineering instruments. It means different skills, so different people in different departments, and having them in the right tempo. So that is challenging, knowing how to mobilise colleagues, targeting their interests and having their added values as much relevant as possible. So I would say, fortunately, European Universities are finding a really positive echo within our teams and our institution. We have plenty of enthusiasm. But colleagues’ time, it’s a more delicate subject.

     Thibaut, thank you so much. I’m so happy, speaking with Paris is already gratifying for me.

      Well, let’s come back to a city not so far from Berlin, to Potsdam. We are being joined by our fourth participant in the first part of this panel discussion. It is Nadine Shovakar. She is a project coordinator for EDUC, the Alliance for the Digital European UniverCity. It is a word game, university as a “city,” exactly. It’s very nice. Nadine, on your career path, you are coming from the Austrian University Conference, the association of Austrian universities. And from there then you joined in Potsdam the European University Alliance. You made a step from Austria to Berlin or to Potsdam, to be precise. What were the first news that you noticed when you arrived, workwise?

Nadine Shovarkar I was going to say, how the food has changed, but yes, I’ll concentrate on the work. Welcome from my side also. As Tino was saying, I am Nadine and I work for EDUC, the European Digital UniverCity. What was new here? Of course, I mean, the biggest change, I would say compared to the Rectors conference, is that now I work at one university, I mean, as in the European project. But it is a different kind of institution than the Rectors conference. That was probably the first impression. I was welcomed very, you might say, French, we had a coffee first and some croissants with the Vice President, professor Schweigert. We are also coordinating the EDUC Alliance, professor Schweigert is the leader in that sense. And we had a nice breakfast with the head of the international office, my fellow project manager, Dr. Katja Jung. And I think, his strategic advise was also there. So this was my very first impression. And then, of course, the beautiful campus of the University of Potsdam. So but these are like my feelings. So it was a very nice start, I have to say.

     Well, I am calling from here from the suburb of Potsdam, which is Berlin, to hear what is going on in the capital of Brandenburg. We have been talking about your job and your challenges, your task that you have now as a project manager of EDUC. One key word that has come up with change management. So, apparently what you are doing is communicating and project planning in order to change something. How would you describe this kind of work and in particular for the Alliance?

Nadine Shovarkar First of all, you know, nobody likes change, in general. And this is a very big change management project. Actually it is a project that is supposed to be a structure later. We have like different lines of our development. One is to bring it from project to structure. The other one is to ‘talk for institutional change,’ as I would call it. So we are trying to find allies within all of our six institutions. Basically, we are trying to reach out and connect to as many people as possible. And as I was saying, nobody likes change, that’s true. However and luckily, the European Universities Initiative – I found at the University of Potsdam and also at our partners generally – has a very positive notion and positive feeling. So people are generally willing to be part of it. Then, of course, the next personal sort of feeling that I got is that everybody likes change when it is just like – “Oh, you were joking before! Yeah, let’s do that in European level, which means let’s take my way and make it European.” [laughs] So the real change is to profoundly talk. And that is also the part that takes time, to actually get to know each other and to see processes and to learn from each other, and then to possibly, in an efficient way, change processes, or align processes, or to see what you can do together. So we are working on all different levels, as Katrine was saying, within the university. We are going from the Senate, the President’s office. We are going to meet the students, we had a Facebook event to engage with them. We are also collaborating with staff on very different levels. The research office, like all sorts of different actors within the university, where, of course, as change agents, we are always trying to reach the ones who are willing, the ones who are already interested, and they help us. Because alone you can’t do anything and you don’t want to, also because it has to become a project of the university that the people want. You can’t come top-down and say, I want to change this for that. It has to come from within the university, which is, of course, always a balance of top-down. You come with ideas, you discuss with people.

Certain things will come from bottom-up as an example, maybe to not just talk in general terms. On Monday, yesterday, we launched a call for research seminars or workshops, which means that within the Alliance we have seven research topics and we are trying to find doctoral candidates and researchers to join and see what project they can develop within a week. These are very broad topics, like health, or European studies. So we are, on the one hand, within the Alliance, sort of in a top-down, but very broad way, deciding on these research topics, of course, keeping the university strategies in mind so it doesn’t come from nowhere. But then on the other hand, we send out a call to every researcher at the university to try to reach everybody and give everybody the possibility to partake, if they want to. Then at the same time, of course, like talking of the change agents or those who are motivated. We are also talking individually to those professors who are already very pro-Europe, very much like always into international projects. We always have sort of a approach to trying to include everybody and of course, trying to identify people who are especially eager to to contribute to this idea. So this is just one example of how we are trying to bring about the change.

     One technical term that always came up also with the other participants of our panel, is the term challenge-based. Apparently the European Commission has written it into the programme, but it would be interesting to know more what this actually means.

Nadine Shovarkar Yes, we are talking again about institutional change. We are trying to come from a few professors in each institution who already work like that, who are trying to get challenges from the society – it could be from companies, could be from NGOs, could be from the wider public – into the universities and work with them in their seminars or courses or whatever it is to make it a little more systemic. We try to include these challenges into the into our learning activities.
I think the other thing that is typical for the European Universities or special about it is that the challenge-based approach is combined with an international approach. So we have, for example, these courses, which are now often online and will later be blended. For example, University of Potsdam would have a course with he University of Rennes, the students would then also meet for one week and work on a project which ideally is a challenge. So it does combine these elements to work on concrete challenges which come from society and to also work on them internationally.
So I think that is basically the idea of the European Alliance, what makes it special. But it doesn’t mean that this doesn’t exist yet. And this is again, we are trying to connect and strengthen those people who already work like that. Because at each of our member universities, there are already people who do sort of what we do, but what is being fostered by the European Alliances. So it is nothing new it is a streamlining or an empowering process for people who work that way.

     Well, there is there’s a new community of coordinators work package leaders and project officers only working for and trying to develop these European University Alliances. It is a totally new group of people working in a certain spirit and with a certain professionalism. So if you reflect upon your own, your own profession, what is special about it? Can it be defined in a job description?

Nadine Shovarkar In my personal experience, what especially is the diversity. As also Katrine was saying before, going into so many different fields and, of course, personally I am a little torn, because I don’t like the speed that comes mainly from the European Commission, like the kind of TGV train that we are on to try to bring about change. I used to work for in the (Austrian) Rectors Conference, and there are sometimes similar processes. There are 22 Austrian universities and we were trying to bring about change or have a new topic like e.g. the open publishing. Aand we would come up with a certain framework or help the universities to do it in a streamlined way within Austria. But this kind of project would go on or take maybe half a year, a year, until it comes to the working people, to processes.
So now, we are on a three year project and we are trying to see deliverables and trying to see concrete actions for very big topics. So this is also something special about the European Universities, which is also good, because the good thing is you might say the longer you talk about it, maybe nothing happens. And if you do it quickly, at least something happens. I don’t know. But this is something I feel is is special about the European alliance. Also fun as well.

    Thank you for your contribution. Thanks also to the other participants, Magda, Thibaut, and Katrine. We come to the end of the first half of our talk and we have found out in what the job of project manager or a coordinator in the European University Alliance consists.

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News Video

UUU Panel 1.2 – AURORA and the EC perspective

Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam, 3 November 2020. The second half of the 1st UUU panel debate — integral event of the Berlin Science Week 2020 — with Peter van der Hijden (independent), Vanessa Debiais-Sainton (EC), and Kees Kouwenaar (AURORA). Host: Tino Brömme (ESNA)

See the first half of the panel here, and the intermission here

Hello again. Let’s talk with our man in Brussels, the man with the bow tie, Peter van der Hijden. Peter, you are – Welcome, first of all! – you are counselling universities when they apply for funds and you write policy papers to help even the European Commission to assemble their own thoughts. One question for you before you help us understand this university policy. We have just heard the news about the Multiannual Framework Budget of the EU, and that Monsieur Larrouturou, a French MEP, is on hunger strike because he demands more money for the research and education budget. And he also demands a 0.1 % tax on stock exchange and money transfer, yes, trading of stocks and bonds, like a little contribution of the rich to the European budget. You know the European Commission so well and what goes on there. Do you know what these current debates, discussions on the budget really mean? Whose interests are conflicting there?

Peter van der Hijden It is a traditional pushing and pulling between Parliament and Council and Commission. And the Commission is ambitious also on the own income, this is a form of tax for which you gave one example of taxing the big companies of social media. The Commission is also in favour of… I’m not speaking on behalf of the Commission, I am working as an independent, but even when I worked there, it was always pushing and pulling.

The Commission is ambitious, Parliament is even more ambitious, you could say overambitious, but that’s that’s always good. And then the Council is pulling back. The Council of Ministers, they are the heads of State and government, they are responsible for the national budgets. Maybe the Education and Research Minister wants to give more to Erasmus and Horizon, but the Finance Minister does not. So it’s a pushing and pulling. It’s looking for alternative sources like the Next Generation, these Recovery Funds. It’s playing with time, you can say, well, less money now, more money in future. If something will come out, it will be more than we had before. It will be less than we had hoped for.

The last Horizon budget was 80 billion. Now, Monsieur Larrouturou wants 39 billion more for Horizon Europe and Erasmus. Sounds a lot, is this realistic? What do these numbers mean actually?

Peter van der Hijden Not the total that the Parliament wants, or this this Member of Parliament, but something will come out in the end. It’s also in the interest of the Member States, the more you invest in education and innovation, the better you come out economically later on. I think, there’s a strong awareness of that. We have the additional funds of seven hundred fifty, it is almost a doubling of the EU budget, and we must try to gear that towards topping up our education, research and innovation programmes and doing other things that have the colour and the taste of innovation. And if universities, European University Alliances, position themselves well, come with plans, I’ve always learnt: „money follows ideas“.

When we talked before, you said that the European University Initiative money – the five million that they get for three years plus the Horizon Europe two million and maybe other sources – you said, this money is a lot, but not enough really to make substantial changes. You said, „but it’s a good benchmarking exercise“. I don’t really understand what you meant by this. Can you explain?

Peter van der Hijden Well, first of all, the money – I always try to annoy my audience – the money is too much. Five million from Erasmus, two million for Horizon, to organise your modernisation. It serves not to do a lot, it serves to make plans, to put structures in place, and it’s money to meet, basically. And as you know, we cannot meet. So the money has even doubled more or less thanks to Covid, because now you can spend it on more useful things if the eligibility rules of the Commission allow you to do so. So 5 million, no, let’s say 7 million – that’s what the Commissioner says, because she’s responsible for every Erasmus and Horizon – 7 million to talk with your six partners about getting your house in order? That’s a lot, that’s a lot. You cannot run a faculty for seven million, but you can prepare the plans. The real money, of course, will then have to come from other sources, the rest of Horizon, the European Structural and Investment Funds, meaning that our colleagues in the poorer regions of Europe are the rich members of the European University Alliances, because they can really build new campuses with the structural funds money.

And as I said before, we have the 750 billion of Ursula von der Leyen, of Charles Michel, the Council and the Commission, which they now desperately are looking for meaningful ways to spend. So I would not worry about the money, I would worry about the ideas. Make sure that you have very good ideas and those you can learn from the benchmarking. That was your question. If you sit together on the Alliance of seven, one has the best library, one has the best HR, one has the best incentive system for staff, one has the smoothest student admission. Well, after three years, after five years, I would expect all seven to be as good as the best one in the group. And that is a very important task of the European Universities: benchmarking, next to the fact, that they are supposed to integrate part of their missions, not all their missions, but part of. So that’s the double assignments, get your act together, modernise and do some integration.

Well, Peter, thank you so far. I think we are now opening up to our other two guests, Vanessa Debiais-Sainton and Kees Kouwenaar. Are you with us? Madame Debiais-Sainton is the head of the Higher Education Unit at the European Commission. She studied Chemical Engineering and also worked for chemical companies before she went into the European Commission. Tomorrow she will gather all the rectors of the University Alliances for a big meeting because the second batch of 24 more university alliances have been recently selected. And our second partner in the second half of our debate is Kees Kouwenaar, he’s an expert of internationalisation because he works there for a long time. He’s Secretary General of the AURORA Alliance, also a new university alliance. He graduated in history and he worked for Nuffic, a kind of Dutch British Council. He lives in Amsterdam and loves cycling with his wife. Madame Debiais-Sainton, bon jour! You are now speaking from and for the European Commission. Maybe it’s interesting for the listeners to understand how this works. The European Commission executes what the European governments want. And you told me that this European University Initiative was something – after Macron presented it in his speech in the Sorbonne in 2017, maybe it was the idea of his wife Brigitte – you told me that this special thing about this Alliance were that there are a bottom-up initiative. So that would mean that the university sector, the people in the universities, shaped the programme, helped shaping the programme, too. Can you a little bit explain, how this mechanism works and where we are now?

Vanessa Debias-Sainton Yes, thank you very much for your question, Tino. So indeed, everything started with the speech of Emmanuel Macron to create these European Universities. And of course, everybody was very pleased that suddenly education becomes very high on the political agenda. This had not been the case for for many years. At the same time, the wide and diverse higher education community were wondering what it is because all the universities are European somehow. So then we gathered diverse experts from the higher education community, with many networks, AURORA and the Coimbra Group where part of these stakeholders. We started to co-create this new initiative together. To say look, we have an opportunity, let’s take it to do things that we have always dreamed to do, but we never had the resources or the funding to do it. So we started together dreaming. And at the beginning we dreamt in very different directions, as you can imagine, because we have a very diverse landscape in Europe with a very diverse audience. But then the longer term we looked, the more convergent the ideas were, and this is how we came up together with this concept of European Universities, which aims not to do what we always do now, which we are aiming at doing what is not happening yet.

And I was very pleased by listening to Ludovic and Daniela before, they gave very good examples of what these European Universities are about. First, this is not a European project. You know that you give funding for three years and then you are lucky when it continues, but in many cases, they cannot continue. Here it’s not a project, it’s a long term initiative. What we have been asking them is to dream about the universities of the future, what they want to be together. So an alliance of about seven higher education institutions from all parts of Europe, what they want to become in 10, 20 years time. The novelty already and impact in between, and one of the previous questions, was what is really the international impact? What we are seeing in these partnerships, is that already it has created new partnerships. Because before, if you looked at the mapping, the international cooperation was very much either Western-centred or Eastern-centred. But we didn’t have really strong partnerships bringing north and south and Eastern and Western partners together. So that’s already one transformational aspect. The second one, as Ludovic and Daniela explained before, is really to transform the way we teach and the way we learn. And this has even more accelerated with the Covid-19, moving all the learning teaching activities online. No one was prepared for such a change so quickly. And what we have learnt from the European University is that more than 96% of universities think that, actually, if European Universities would have already been in place, they would have been much better prepared for this pandemic. They are setting up entire university campuses, meaning that a student in Berlin will not only have access to the courses of a Berlin university, but they will have access to the courses of the other partners across Europe. So it’s really a huge benefit. So in terms of impact, it has a huge leverage impact when it comes to mobility, whether it is physical and virtual or blended, because here we are addressing the full population of the students at these universities. And it has a huge leverage in terms of the structural and transformational impact in these universities to really transform the way we teach and the way they learn and the way they do research. Because, as Ludovic explained very well, we are speaking about the „Knowledge Square,“ meaning that here we are looking at a [00:48:05]transformation of the four different missions [1.3s] of universities, i.e. education, research, innovation and service to society.

Let me ask here, this is interesting. One of our viewers has a question that I also had. In the beginning there has been the question of how these university alliances should be shaped. Some were more tending toward an élite model like the Ivy League in America. And some were more tending to do something on the broad scale, as it is now, with 280 universities participating, that is one in 11 in the European Union and one in 14 and all over Europe. So for now, you have a very broad programme. However, the question here is, is this University Alliance Initiative something like the German Excellency Initiative, something that wants to create special universities that have more money and who leave the others behind?

Vanessa Debias-Sainton When the objective that has been set up by by the head of State, heads of governments and also with their ministers responsible for higher education was to have an initiative that is as inclusive as possible. Inclusive in terms of geographical balance, meaning that all the Member States should be part of it. Inclusive in terms of the types of higher education institutions, so not only top research leading universities, but also universities of applied sciences, for example, and inclusive in terms of the accessibility to a wide range of students. But this inclusivity doesn’t mean that they are not excellent. It all depends how you define excellence. It’s excellence, not only in top of research, it’s excellence in the way you deliver teaching and learning, the way you’re going to set in place completely new innovative pedagogies, in the way you’re going to involve all the, as Ludovic explained before, all your surrounding innovation ecosystem, working together with the cities, with the regions, with the surrounding companies. And we believe that inclusion and excellence are the two aspects of the same coin and that they are reinforcing each other.

There’s even another question which is very interesting from our viewers. Anonymous says: given the current discussion on migration, climate change, et cetera, does it make sense to have a European university? What is so specific about it?

Vanessa Debias-Sainton All these European Universities, what is their strategy for the future? On which subjects do they want to train their students? Not only some topics, but how they’re going to implement this challenge-based approach? Meaning that one of the transformations is, of course, to train students on very specific disciplines and to develop an expertise for each of them, but to go even beyond that so that they are able together as students from different disciplines with different expertise, to be able to work together on big challenges like climate change. Many of them amongst the 41 universities have ’sustainable development‘ and ‚tackling climate change‘ at the core of the strategy, meaning that they will have students from different disciplines that will work with academics, with researchers, with the cities, with the regions, with the companies to tackle very concrete challenges that their cities or their regions are facing. We also – because we can just send the question many different ways – it could be that travelling etc. isn’t good for the climate. So this is why we are also developing a Green future Erasmus programme, meaning that we will support and we will encourage a greener transport when it comes to mobility. But we’re also going to support some blended mobility. So it means shorter physical mobility, blended with virtual mobility. So all this will contribute to preserve the climate. A third element as well will be that – you know, so far to organise the mobility, we used a lot of people – now, this is something of the past with the European Student Card Initiative. We are aiming at utilising all the process to organise the mobility, by allowing these interoperability between all the diversity of I.T. systems of universities across Europe so that all these systems would be able to speak to each other. And this is what the ‚ERASMUS+ without people project‘ is aming at.

Well, I need 15 more of these debates to clear this up! Let me switch for a moment to Kees Kouwenaar who is joining us from Amsterdam and who is the secretary general, the coordinator of the AURORA Initiative. AURORA has all of these key words also in their project description. Mr Kouwenaar, you are an expert of internationalisation. I like the project description AURORA a lot. What would you say in one sentence, what is the unique aspect of your alliance?

Kees Kouwenaar I need to speak in one sentence about the network before I move to the alliance. AURORA was founded in 2016. So before President Macron’s speech to actually do very similar things as we are now in the whole idea of the European University Initiative, we were founded as a group of universities who came together to help each other to become better at what they want to be good at. And for AURORA universities, this means better at matching academic excellence with societal relevance. It’s a group of universities that fights the idea that academic excellence and societal relevance are each other’s enemies.

And international collaboration in AURORA has never been an objective per se. It is a tool to that end, not a separate objective. It is a high trust network which allows universities to openly talk about their weaknesses and their challenges in a way they feel they cannot do that with their domestic competitors. And this will not change with the alliance. But the core of the Alliance programme is that we say, we need to equip our students, our graduates, with not only the academic and the subject-specific knowledge, but with the skills and the horizontal mindsets to help them to be able and willing to address the big challenges in society. And the key tool in our alliance programme is what we call the AURORA Competence Framework. It is based on the analysis that in higher education at large, in our universities, in Europe, in the world, we are still not good enough in finding a clear expression in how good our students need to be when they graduate, not just in chemistry or history, but also in critical thinking, in group work, in enquiry and analysis, in taking risks. And this framework will develop a set of expressions which academics can choose from to build these horizontal learning outcomes into their curricula across the AURORA universities, and any other university that would like to use them, to create a language, a common language and a common toolbox for learning outcomes in horizontal competencies. So that’s that’s what we are all about.

I remember, when Macron held his speech, his definition of these European Universities was more vague. But one thing he said, it was the multilingual aspect. He wanted students to learn at least two extra languages. I didn’t look it up, but I want to know, has AURORA an answer to the language question?

Kees Kouwenaar It is our task team 3.3.2, which is called „Plurilingual Languages“. When writing the proposal, I have learnt that there is a major conceptual difference between plurilingualism and multilingualism. We have a group that is developing all kinds of tools to help our students to develop their competence, their plurilingual competence, not only in the second, but also in a third European language. Yes.

So I suppose there are language courses included in the other mobility programmes, or how does it work?

Kees Kouwenaar I don’t understand that question, can you repeat?

Well, if I am a student now in your network and I am participating in a course or in an activity that the AURORA network offers, I am now speaking one other language and perhaps I would need another one. Practically, do you know how the network wants to implement multilingualism or polylingualism in their activities?

Kees Kouwenaar It is an excellent question and the honest answer is no. Actually, the Alliance has officially started this week, first of November. Tomorrow and the day after, we have our launching virtual meeting with many of the task teams. Plurilignalusm is not one of them, but they are now going to make their plans to create tools for the universities to give students opportunities to learn languages. But let me underline, the core of our alliance programme is not focussed on moving bodies. The core of our alliance is to give all the nine universities the tools to improve the education, the teaching and learning processes within their universities. And that also includes international mobility, but it includes more than mobility. The focus is making the normal education better in all our universities.

I would ask you a policy question, because you were talking about the learning outcomes before, as a measurement of success or of advancement. The European programme for these University Alliances has evolved. There was the first call, there was a second call, in which you were successful with your alliance, and it will evolve further. What what are your proposals for the further development of this programme? What should be in there, what’s not in yet, or how should it be better?

Kees Kouwenaar I think, Peter van der Hijden once told me, that the European Commission is, of course, at the end of the day more interested in supporting the domestic regional improvement of higher education in its own context, than in the transnational cooperation, which is always a small outer skill for all of the universities. But because of their position, they have to focus strongly on the transnational dimension because that is their given political role. I would like to argue that in the further development of these cooperations, these European University Initiatives, we keep our main focus on helping our universities to serve their community as well as they possibly can at city level, regional level, national level, European level and global level, and not put all our eggs in the basket of the transnational European dimension. It is it should flow from the national and the natural objectives of the universities and not be positioned as a priority. It can be made a priority for the administrators, for directors. It will never become a priority for the academics who want to go on doing what they are self-motivated for.

And this is the point where I would like to return to Vanessa Debiais-Sainton for a moment, because, in fact, this question before about the European identity and dimension demands it. Can you say something about this programme? How it reaches out – so that we are not so Eurocentric all the time – to countries and universities beyond the European Union? Can you specify on this how far the programme does it? I know Istanbul is in England, but how does this programme go further than the European Union?

Vanessa Debias-Sainton Well, so far, the initiative is open to discuss the Erasmus+ programme countries, so 33 other countries, including those that you mentioned, we were very happy to welcome Norway, Iceland, Turkey, even Serbia. So this is the current scope of this initiative. Now, you know that we have announced that we are going to roll out this initiative under the next MFF. And so with the next Erasmus programme in synergy with the Horizon Europe and and other European programmes. Then, the scope will be discussed once more time with the Member States. But in the meantime, each of these universities, we have currently more than 284 higher education institutions involved in these 41 European Universities. Each of them have their own network with whom they cooperate not only within Europe, but also beyond. And it’s obvious that all their partners beyond Europe will benefit from this alliance because they will benefit from the transformation that they are going to put in place, which means that also the staff, the researchers, the students who will cooperate with them will not only cooperate with the university of Berlin, but they will cooperate with all the partners from European University where Berlin University is involved, for example. So it completely changed their perspective. And they are very much looking at it with a lot of interest. We know already that many universities beyond Europe would like to see how they could be even more involved in this initiative. But of course, this is not the decision of the Commission. This is a decision to be taken with the Member States.

Maybe I should make an inquiry on the how the universities in South America and in Africa perceive this initiative and after a few years, we ask how much they have been involved. This would be really interesting. Peter van der Hijden, I see you’re keen on intervening with with some critical questions, what were your thoughts while we were talking with Mrs. Debiais-Sainton and Kees Kouwenaar so far?

Vanessa Debias-Sainton You’re muted, Peter.

Peter van der Hijden I listened to Vanessa and Kees, and also to Daniela and Ludovic. You see this interesting tension or not a tension, it’s a combination of things, it is both big and small, nitty-gritty. European Universities are for the big boys and girls, the big shots, and it’s for the staff and the students. Why is it big? Why is it interesting for presidents and rectors? – Because as Daniela said, it’s not a project, it’s a transformation of your university through the participation in an alliance. Very different animal, it’s an immediate organisation, an alliance, it is doing things, it’s not only talking.

That’s why the President comes in, in German it’s called „Chef“, so it’s a „Chefsache“, something for the prime minister or for the rector or for the president. Why? Because it’s geopolitical, in the big sense. It’s positioning Europe in the world. Can we come out stronger? It’s positioning your university in your region. And what alliance should you join to position yourself now and in the future? That’s for the for the big boys. For the staff members it is also relevant because they are the professionals that run the alliance. Every alliance has 30, 40 staff teams. Kees Kouwenaar was mentioning that the staff teams were going to meet. And those are the professionals that make the change. Directors of Studies, Library Deputies, H.R. Officials, Student Admission Specialists. They will make the student admission system of AURORA work. Or the H.R. mobility scheme of YUFE. Thanks to those people, thanks to Vanessa, thanks to Macron, they have a career in the European perspective. Of course, most of them will stay home, but some will do secondment or even pursue their career at the partner institution. That makes it interesting for the big boys and for the workers on the floor.

Now, my question is to the panel and to all of us in the coming year, is this enough? Is this enough to substantially – and now let’s use the names of our alliances – re-YUFE-nate our high education? Is a substantial enough to ENGAGE, to ENHANCE, to ENLIGHT? And maybe even to CHARM? And can our systems really become better this bottom-up way? – I think they can. The benchmarking is important, but I would like to leave two ideas on the table. One is: rotating grants. We now have 41 grants for 41 alliances. We are already building themselves up like trade unions who get more money after. But I would say, well, let’s make it a rotating grant and invite new ones or kick out one third and get one third new in, because we don’t have the Fachhochschule in the alliances, the schools of applied sciences. We miss the military academies. We miss a number of what I call „system relevant institutions“ that could also benefit from the blessings, or the curse, of being a European University Alliance. So that’s one idea of rotating grants not for tomorrow, but for the year to come to think about. And the second one, we should explore the Swiss question. The Swiss question is that Switzerland has good education, higher education in all cantons, in most of them, but they have two universitys that stand out, it’s EPFL in Lausanne and ETH in Zurich. (…sound problems…)

Mr. Kouwenaar, what is your reaction to these many ideas of Peter van der Hijden?

Kees Kouwenaar (1 minute of sound missing) … As for the Swiss university system with two particilarly high ranking institutions. This is a policy, making one or two single high peaks by carving out the valleys among them, because then you would lower the average quality. But that’s one thing.

The other comment that I have, I think, it relates to what you say in some way, citing an Israeli historian, Yuval Harari, one of many who said, reality is in narrative, universities do not exist, universities are simply narratives that exist as long as we are convinced that the narrative has some value and some merit. But universities are very different narratives to very different groups. The university narrative for academics, for researchers, for teachers, for students, for administrators, for leaders, for alumni, for external stakeholders are vastly different narratives. The European University Alliance, and that’s my bridge to what you say, will become a paradigm changing development, like Erasmus was in 1987 and Bologna was 10 years later, only if there is enough conviction in the various distinct narratives for these groups of stakeholders to carry on the burden themselves. I am in favour of a rotating fund. I think the European University Alliance, the Erasmus, the AURORA Alliance cannot depend on Brussels money. It can only succeed if there is enough intrinsic motivation, not just with the rector or the administrators, but with the academics and the students. And it must be something that we do because we want to do it ourselves. The commission gives us some support to help us do what we want to do ourselves anyway. That’s the only way forward.

I would like as a question also to Mme. Debiais-Sainton. Is there also a perception in the European Commission that these European University Alliances Initiative is a further step? Is it like a natural further step after ERASMUS, after the Bologna process, like a historical and further development of the way European universities and European higher education is evolving? Is there an idea of this like a progress that now must enter into these university alliances, Mme. Debiais-Sainton? How is the idea in the European Commission about this?

Vanessa Debias-Sainton Yes, absolutely. That’s exactly the way we see it. In international cooperation, you start generally with mobility (… sond missing …) the strategic partnership. Then a little bit more ambitious, you have ERASMUS MUNDUS and you have the knowledge alliances. Then very, very ambitious, the most ambitious, which has never existed before, are the European Universities. And we have a lot of ambition with this initiative, not only to transform the way the higher education landscape in diverse higher education landscape – as Peter and Kees explained – but also to make it a reality.

Here I come back today to the question of Peter to make it a reality where we need all these universities. Of course, we need the support of their national governments and they then we need the support of the European Commission. How? Because, of course, they we need not only all the top leaders of these universities to be on board, but also all the students and staff, because as Peter said, rightly so, they are the ones who will basically implement all the activities. But we need as well to continue to implement even further the Bologna Process. For example, when it comes to accreditation or quality assurance, we are not there. And this is why we see this initiative as a catalyst for change. This is why we will meet tomorrow directors and coordinators of European universities together with the directors general responsible for higher education. How can we make quality assurance and accreditation more fit for purpose, more modern to meet, you know, the objective of these European Universities? What the heads of States and Emmanuel Macron asked us, is to create a European Degree that does not exist now. We need to co-create it together. And the European Universities told us that when putting resources, data, infrastructure together, they need a specific legal statute. So we’re going to explore together with them a European legal statute for them. And we are also looking at, you know, the (…) Covid-19 crisis. The labour market transformation is accelerating even more than before when it comes to the digital and the green transition. So we need to skill and reskill the labour workforce and the world of higher education is absolutely key. So we’re working as well to (… sound missing …) So all this requires a lot of ambition, a lot of vision at European, national and institutional level. The road will be bumpy, but altogether I’m convinced that we can make it. So this is our vision for the future that we have expressed in our recent communication „Achieving our European Education Area by 2025“ and with „Digital Education Action Plan“ to support as well the European university institutions.

Well, thank you for this overview. In fact, I would like to slowly close the debate and thank you all for your participation. I would like to say something about the historical dimension of this thing. One of my historical heroes actually comes from the city of Daniela Trani, from Naples. It’s Federico II, King of Sicily and of Germany in the early 13th century. He was the first to found a non-religious university, a university independent from the Pope, his great adversary in 1224. This university was, if I’m not wrong, the 12th university in Europe. Before it, there were Bologna and Paris, of course, and they were all dominated by the Pope. Federico’s monarchy was the most advanced and well organised of his time. And why? Because he had a well-trained administration and he wanted to further this good policy by building this first laic university in Naples. Well, I have a feeling that these European University Alliances could be examples and could work out models that help all the other universities that are not in the alliances, too.

I am very optimistic that there will be many interesting news to tell about their projects, models and initiatives. And I hope we can be part of it with this conversational format. I want to thank you all for the participation today. We have read the most interesting and highest rated questions from Slido. I thank also the participants from the wider audience who are on YouTube. See you again in December. Good day and good luck for everybody. Thank you for watching!

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News Video

UUU Panel 1 – Intermezzo with higher ed news

Berlin, 3 November 2020. This intermission is part of the first UUU online debate, organised by ESNA Higher Education News, as part of the Berlin Science Week 2020. The lead question is: “United Universities of Europe? How European University Alliances transform higher ed”

See the first half of the UUU panel debate here, the second half here. During this intermission, UUU Director Tino Brömme addresses the following important European higher education news:

EU top court finds Hungary education law in violation of EU rules
curia.europa.eu/…

EU budget 2021 Rapporteur on hunger strike for climate, health and jobs and for the introduction of a financial transaction tax
multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/…

How scientists are preparing for the split
media.nature.com/…

Paris student rent more costly than London – report
thepienews.com/news/…

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European Universities on national radio 4

Berlin, 7 July 2020. The fourth edition of the mini series „European Universities“ has been aired in the educational radio magazine “Campus & Karriere” of Germany’s national radio channel Deutschlandradio.

Episode 4:
UUU editor Tino Brömme speaks with Daniela Trani in Maastricht, director of the European University Alliance YUFE, and Dominic Orr, Kiron Open Education, about a virtual campus and student-centred education.

 

UUU wants to thanks all alliance members and all you beautiful people of being so frank and patient and available to explain, especially in these stressful times of restrictions, home office and online work. Thanks to you it was possible to make this radio programme and to develop an interesting format that mirrors and accompanies the alliances‘ genisis.

The producers of the programme – who are part of the creative process just like all the interview partners – are, apart of the author Tino Brömme, sound and editing genius Andreas Hagelüken in Freiburg who normally makes sophisticated radio plays and sound installations (randfunk). Also aboard are the two German voices Marco Höhmann, an actor, commedian and project manager, as well as the brilliant Matia Sprenger who just finished her high school diploma with honors.

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News Podcast

European Universities on national radio 2

UUU has launched a radio programme on German national radio – Deutschlandradio – presenting and discussing European Universities. The second of four episodes has now been aired.

Berlin, 17 June 2020. June has been a good month for the United Universities of Europe project (UUU). The proposal to condense some of the interviews conducted with university staff, students, administrators and experts about the EU-funded European Universities Initiative – and about modern university development in general – resonated well in the educational radio magazine “Campus & Karriere” of Germany’s national radio channel Deutschlandradio.

Episode 2: A conversation with two students, Maria Michailova, Russian exchange student at the University of Tampere, Finland, a member of the alliance ECIU, and with Genís Vives, student representative at the University of Barcelona, a partner of CHARM-EU. The students show how drastically different was (and is) the emergency situation under Corona restrictions in different countries.

 

The producers of the programme – who are part of the creative process just like all the interview partners – are, apart of the author Tino Brömme, sound and editing genius Andreas Hagelüken in Freiburg who normally produces sophisticated radio plays and sound installations (randfunk). Also aboard are the two German voices Marco Höhmann, an actor, commedian and project manager, as well as the brilliant Matia Sprenger who just finished her high school diploma with honors.

The upcoming episodes of the radio series will feature Katalin Németh, internationalisation officer of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (CHARM-EU), and Gilles Subra, researcher and coordinator at the University of Montpellier (UNA EUROPA); Daniela Trani from the alliance YUFE, and Dominic Orr from YUFE associate partner KIRON Open Higher Education.

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag Photos for social media can be downloaded here: Ep. 1 Forlino | Ep. 2 Maria & Genís | Ep. 3 Gilles and Katalin | Podcast studio with author Tino Brömme