Creating a European university alliance that places academic innovation as well as the links between research and teaching at the heart of its project, is the ambition of six universities with shared strengths and aspirations: UCLouvain (Belgium), Université Paris Diderot (France), Aarhus University (Denmark), Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany), University of Oslo (Norway) and King’s College London (United Kingdom). The desire to have a British university on board, with Brexit on the horizon is an asserted choice by all partners.
The alliance of these six international and comprehensive universities makes sense: the majority are members of The Guild network, which comprises 19 leading European research universities. These establishments have a long tradition of innovation in terms of university education and share the same desire to offer quality training sustained by research. Through this new alliance, they hope to rethink interuniversity collaborations in order to provide universities with the means to be more ambitious and serve their missions : teaching, research and meeting societal challenges. An alliance can also be used as leverage regarding the various obstacles that universities may encounter, to reinforce the European higher education area.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to intensify the sharing of practices between universities and thus favour innovation. There’s nothing like comparing points of view and sharing one’s experiences to find new solutions. The partner universities have the ambition to make this alliance a true model of excellence in Europe. " Vincent Blondel, Rector of UCLouvain
What impact will this alliance actually have on a European and global level?
- The intensified exchange of experiences between universities to encourage the implementation of new solutions in order to meet the challenges universities face, in all areas: administrative, technical, scientific, educational, funding for research and teaching, etc. For instance: how can we deal with the growing number of students in a financial context that doesn’t always take this into account? Or how can we ensure that university remains accessible to everyone?
- A more sustained collaboration in terms of training and research. Especially through the implementation of joint training, and sharing expertise and resources.
- The increased mobility of academic staff, researchers, students and members of administrative and technical staff. In quantitative terms, the objective is to offer mobility opportunities to a greater number of people. In qualitative terms, the objective is to develop new and more diverse forms of mobility, that match needs and collaboration projects. This mobility is essential to give everyone the chance to broaden their horizons and thus discover new facets in their studies or profession.
- Favouring interdisciplinarity in training and research. For instance, by creating new joint platforms bringing together researchers from a variety of fields around the same problem.
This new alliance is a reflection of the European Commission’s will to build a European Higher education ’space’ including the concept of ’European universities’. While pursuing its action under this framework, the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) and its partners intend to build a strong and long-term collaboration with the objective to innovate in order to sustain quality research and teaching on a European and global scale.