What is the European Universities Initiative?
The education landscape across Europe is changing. At the 2017 Gothenburg Summit, EU leaders outlined a vision for education and culture. In its December 2017 Conclusions, the European Council called on Member States, the Council and the Commission to take forward a number of initiatives, including:
'…strengthening strategic partnerships across the EU between higher education institutions and encouraging the emergence by 2024 of some twenty 'European Universities', consisting in bottom-up networks of universities across the EU which will enable students to obtain a degree by combining studies in several EU countries and contribute to the international competitiveness of European universities'.
Co-developed by higher education institutions, student organisations, Member States and the Commission, the European Universities Initiative responds to this call. Today, it is one of the flagship initiatives of the EU’s ambitions to build a European Education Area.
What is a European University?
European Universities are transnational alliances that will become the universities of the future, promoting European values and identity, and revolutionising the quality and competitiveness of European higher education. In order to achieve this major step forward, the Commission is testing different cooperation models for European Universities with two calls for proposals under the Erasmus+ programme. The alliances will:
- include partners from all types of higher education institution and cover a broad geographic scope across Europe
- be based upon a co-envisioned long-term strategy focussed on sustainability, excellence and European values
- offer student-centred curricula jointly delivered across inter-university campuses, where diverse student bodies can build their own programmes and experience mobility at all levels of study
- adopt a challenge-based approach according to which students, academics and external partners can cooperate in inter-disciplinary teams to tackle the biggest issues facing Europe today
Results of the first call
The results of the 2019 call were published in June 2019. Out of 54 applications received, the first 17 European University alliances involving 114 higher education institutions from 24 Member States were selected. For more information, see the full press release.
Results of the second call
The results of the 2020 call have now been published. Out of 62 applications received, 24 new European Universities alliances have been selected involving 165 higher education institutions from 26 Member States and other countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme. For more information, see the full press release.
The 41 European University alliances will test different models of the concept of European Universities and examine its potential to transform higher education. The European Universities Initiative will be fully rolled out and scaled up under the next Erasmus programme 2021-2027. For more information, see the Commission factsheet on the Initiative.