UAntwerpen helps build a European University

Young Universities for the Future of Europe connects eight universities in as many countries.

The University of Antwerp is joining forces with seven other universities from as many different European countries. Together they form the YUFE alliance (Young Universities for the Future of Europe). "With this cooperation we want to strengthen European cohesion and competitiveness," says Rector Herman Van Goethem.

At the end of 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his plans to create a new Europe. Part of his plans was the creation of twenty cross-border European universities, which will issue 'European' diplomas from 2024 onwards. The European Commission followed Macron’s lead and created the European Universities Initiative (EUI). Until 28 February, alliances of European universities could submit collaborative projects. Twelve alliances receive financing from Europe for a period of three years. Wanting to become one of the first models for a European University, the YUFE alliance submitted its proposal on 28 February.

Concerning research and education, the University of Antwerp has always been looking beyond national boundaries. Hence, the university seizes this opportunity and joins the YUFE alliance, together with seven other universities: Maastricht University, the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Carlos III Madrid, the University of Bremen, the University of Essex, and the University of Cyprus. In addition, the alliance has six associate partners: the University of Rijeka, the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torún,[A5] the Educational Testing Service (ETS), European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME, Kiron Open Higher Education for Refugees and the Adecco Group.

Stronger European feeling

"With YUFE, an alliance that covers almost all European regions, we want to develop a model for a European University," explains Van Goethem. "The ambition? To develop a non-elitist, people-oriented university with a regional and European impact. All partners will work closely with government and industry in their region to share knowledge and talent. In this way, we work towards the shared goal of stimulating a stronger sense of Europe among future generations of Europeans.”

The alliance wants to make a difference on several levels. For example, YUFE students will learn not only in the auditorium, but also during work experiences and through social action. "We will also involve entrepreneurs and professionals as mentors for the students," says the rector. "And of course the education will be tailored to the local and the European needs."

If YUFE’s bid is selected, the project will be implemented from September 2019 onwards. YUFE students and staff will then have the opportunity to study or work at one of the affiliated universities. Van Goethem: "They won’t be regular exchange students or visiting staff there, but will be fully integrated in the institution and can make use of all the service. By sharing scientific knowledge and developing strong connections between educational institutions, we facilitate the dialogue about the Europe of the future. "


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