Young universities can contribute their vision and innovative approach to help further the integration of European higher education. It is this conviction that has led UAntwerp and six other universities to join the new Young Universities for the Future of Europe alliance.
The Erasmus exchange programme has long been a defining feature of European higher education and hundreds of thousands of students have completed part of their studies at universities in other European countries over the years. Now, the French president Emmanuel Macron wants to go several steps further. By 2024, he would like to see the creation of around twenty 'European universities', each consisting of a network of institutions from at least three different European member states.
Macron hopes his plan will strengthen the ‘triangle’ of innovation, research and education in Europe while also boosting European integration. This message has not fallen on deaf ears at the University of Antwerp, which has already pledged to join the alliance of Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) along with six other universities. The universities already have several joint activities within the YERUN framework (www.yerun.eu).
The seven members come from seven different European countries:
- Maastricht University (the Netherlands)
- University of Antwerp (Belgium)
- University of Bremen (Germany)
- University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy)
- University of Eastern Finland (Finland)
- Carlos III University of Madrid (Spain)
- University of Essex (associate member) (United Kingdom)
“Each and every member of this alliance is a young research university,” says Herman Van Goethem, UAntwerp’s rector. “Through this initiative, we want to make a clear statement and show that young universities can contribute their vision and innovative approach to help further the integration of European higher education. The seven universities are also getting their students involved in the initiative, because student participation will be high on the agenda at the Young Universities for the Future of Europe.”