Catalan universities have established strategic alliances with some fifty universities as part of the European Union’s “European Universities” programme. These university alliances are the focus of the 33rd edition of the European Association for International Education (EAIE), Europe’s leading higher education fair, which will be taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Until Friday, this congress will bring together more than 6,000 professionals from the sector and 250 exhibitors, including the Study in Cataloniabooth, which will host the Catalan delegation composed of representatives from the Government of Catalonia and the 12 universities in the Catalan university system.
With the slogan “Connecting Currents”, this year’s fair emphasises the role that international higher education plays in actively connecting “currents” of thought, areas of specialisation, disciplines and diverse cultures. For this reason, the EAIE acts as a meeting point for European higher education institutions that are part of one of the fifty European University Alliances, funded by the European Commission through the ERASMUS programme.
These alliances, also called “European Universities”, are a strategic and priority initiative for the European Union, which was born in 2017 to drive the transformation of higher education in Europe and promote the universities of the future. This initiative represents a very important instrument for positioning the Catalan knowledge system both at European and international level. The alliances, as well as the creation of a network with other universities, are also an essential element for creating new spaces for collaboration between all the actors in the territory while giving European and international visibility to all this local fabric. The networks in which Catalan universities participate also involve more than 100 organisations in Catalonia, including companies, third-sector organisations and public administrations.
European alliances of Catalan universities
Below is a list of the different European alliances of which the Catalan universities form part:
·University of Barcelona (UB) / CHARM-EU: Its name is an acronym for Challenge-Driven, Accessible, Research-based, Mobile, European, University. It is an alliance between the UB, which acts as coordinator, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Utrecht, the University of Montpellier and Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. Together they are working to design and create a new university model to serve as an example of good practice, to improve quality and international competitiveness.
- Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) / European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU): this is an alliance of 13 universities that share a similar profile, interests and motivation. The aim is to create a new educational model on a European scale, bringing together students, teaching staff, researchers, businesses and civil society to cooperate and find solutions to everyday challenges.
- Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) / EUTOPIA: This alliance is made up of 10 universities and aims to promote an open, multicultural network of connected campuses. This is an important tool for overcoming regulatory differences in the European education framework. The plan is to achieve this objective by 2025, through the creation of common grounds.
- Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech (UPC) / UNITE: This is an alliance of leading universities from seven European countries in the field of technology and engineering. The aim is to establish a model for the creation of an inter-university campus in the coming years.
- Rovira i Virgili University (URV) / Aurora: The Aurora European Universities Alliance is a European alliance of nine universities. The main goal is to provide students with the necessary skills and aptitudes to help meet the challenges of society as innovative and enterprising individuals. As part of this alliance, the URV has created the Aurora Alliance Sustainability Working Group, which has also led to the creation of the Aurora Travel Codex, a guide to promote green travel and mitigate CO2 emissions.
- Ramon Llull University (URL) / ENGAGE.EU: The ENGAGE.EU - European University engaged in societal change alliance is made up of eight universities. It focuses on business, economic and social sciences with extensive experience in the analysis of social change. The alliance aims to promote social change based on excellence in education and work with society. The lines of action of the project include the SDGs, digitalisation and artificial intelligence and different areas of society.