european universities
Image: Warwick Media Library

European universities alliance with Warwick awarded €5m Erasmus+ grant

An alliance of six European universities known as EUTOPIA, which the University of Warwick is part of, has been awarded a €5m grant from the Erasmus+ “European Universities” programme.

Officially launched in February 2019, the alliance “exists to create a connected and inclusive community addressing global and local challenges”.

Led by the University of Ljubljana, EUTOPIA is comprised of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Gothenburg, l’Université Paris Seine, the Pompeu Fabra University, as well as Warwick.

The Erasmus+ grant will help EUTOPIA in its goal of working as a network of collaborative European campuses through research, shared innovations to serve the public, and an increased mobility of students, academics and staff.

Professor Stuart Croft, vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, said: “We in the University of Warwick and EUTOPIA community are delighted to have been successful in the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme.

“Our alliance of six European universities has already taken bold steps to create a new form of inclusive, innovative, international higher education – and this recognition from the European Union will help us to advance our mission.

“Warwick has been an international university since its foundation, and, together with our EUTOPIA partners, we continue to strengthen links across the continent, provide global opportunities for staff and students, and to transform our local region through collaborative research.”

EUTOPIA was one of 17 “European Universities” selected as part of an €85m Erasmus+ initiative proposed by the European Commission.

These universities “will become inter-university campuses around which students, doctoral candidates, staff and researchers can move seamlessly”, bringing together “their expertise, platforms and resources to deliver joint curricula or modules covering various disciplines”, according to the commission.

Each alliance will receive up to €5m over the next three years to begin implementing their plans and “pave the way for other higher education institutions across the EU to follow”. Their progress in this will be closely monitored.

EUTOPIA aims to test alternative methods of collaboration to increase the international competitiveness, quality and attractiveness of higher education in Europe.

EUTOPIA’s universities collectively have research centres in 760 areas of knowledge. Since the alliance’s official launch in Solvay Library in Brussels earlier this year, staff and students from EUTOPIA have built a number of collaborative activities.

Our Executive MBA gives students every chance to fulfil their dreams and aspirations in their careers

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For example, between Warwick’s Politics and International Studies (PAIS) Department and Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Institute for European Studies in “International Studies and Integration”, a double Master’s degree has been created and will be launched in 2019.

A number of academic mobility schemes have also been established, including the Fernandes Fellowships programme at Warwick, which will provide Early Career Researchers from Europe the opportunity to launch collaborative career projects at the University.

Moreover, co-tutelle PhD Scholarships will allow up to eight PhD candidates to be co-supervised by academics at the University of Warwick, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and l’Université Paris Seine.

With the first cohort beginning in 2019, these scholarships will support PhD projects in research areas including Complexity Science, Reproductive Medicine, and Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

The scholarships were enabled by a £500,000 joint investment from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, l’Université Paris Seine and Warwick, the founding members of the alliance.

Our Executive MBA gives students every chance to fulfil their dreams and aspirations in their careers

– John Colley

Furthermore, academic workshops have taken place across the partner institutions, such as one in Computer and Data Science recently hosted by the University of Ljubljana.

Students from the EUTOPIA partners will also spend up to four weeks this summer at the Barcelona International Summer School at Pompeu Fabra University, taking courses in Spanish and English.

Run by the University of Warwick, students from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Pompeu Fabra University will be participating in the International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) in September this year.

The Right Honourable Baroness Catherine Ashton, Chancellor of the University of Warwick and former First Vice President of the European Commission, commented: “EUTOPIA is an initiative of which the Warwick community and our fellow members can be rightly proud.

“Universities across the continent must strive together to increase mobility between nations, use their combined expertise to address global issues, and offer fresh opportunities to improve the lives of European citizens — and EUTOPIA is a sector-leader.”

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