An Ambitious Agenda – Vanessa Debiais-Sainton

31. October 2020

Vanessa Debiais-Sainton is Head of the Unit in charge of Higher Education policies and programme at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

Berlin/Brussels, Summer 2020.  In view of an upcoming debate with experts and members of the European higher education community, Tino Brömme and Vanessa Debiais-Sainton talked about the objectives of the European Commission which had just announced the second group of university alliances selected for funding in the programme “European Universities Initiative”.

Mrs Debiais-Sainton was leading the Higher Education Unit of the DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture already in the very beginning, after the programme had been proposed by Emmanuel Macron and welcomed by the Euopean education Ministers in Gothenburg. In this interview she goes into detail of how the enthusiasm of the universities, their participation in designing the programme and the interaction between the Commission and the higher education community have been contributing to the great acceptance of this particular multilateral collaborative cross-border approach.


  • In July 2020, 24 additional University Alliances have been selected by the European Commission. At what stage is the Initiative today?
  • What are the expectations of the European Commission?
  • Are these big University Alliances fit for a diversified world of learning?
  • Where is the European Commission heading with its higher education policy?