Today, the European Commission announced that the first 17 alliances of universities selected under the Erasmus+ programme will each receive a complementary EUR 2 million support from Horizon 2020. With this support, the European Universities will explore further integration and transformation in their research and innovation missions.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
"Through the complementary support from Horizon 2020 for the Erasmus+ European Universities pilot we maximise synergies between education and research & innovation policies, helping universities to create greater critical mass to find solutions and train talents to solve EU’s major societal challenges.”
European Universities are transnational alliances of higher education institutions from across the EU that come together for the benefit of students, teachers, researchers, and society. The purpose of the Horizon 2020 complementary support is to further contribute to the research and innovation dimension of the ‘European Universities’, in line with their shared, integrated, long-term joint strategy and in synergy with their education dimension.
The 17 European University alliances will focus on priority transformation areas such as sharing research and innovation infrastructures and resources, strengthening the attractiveness of researchers’ careers, reinforcing digital infrastructures and embracing open science principles, facilitating cooperation with other actors like businesses, and promoting engagement with citizens and society.
In total, a budget of EUR 34 million from Horizon 2020 is available for these 17 alliances. Each alliance receives up to EUR 2 million from the Horizon 2020 programme for three years to start implementing their plans and pave the way for other higher education institutions across the EU, complementing the up to EUR 5 million from the Erasmus+ programme. Funding from both programmes is an important step in strengthening the interactions between the European Education Area and the European Research Area. Later this year, similar Horizon 2020 support will be made available for the additional 24 alliances that were recently selected under the second Erasmus+ pilot call for European Universities.
The European Council invited the Commission in 2017 to strengthen strategic partnerships across the EU between higher education institutions and encourage the emergence by 2024 of some twenty ‘European Universities’. These alliances consist of bottom-up alliances of universities from across Europe, which will enable students to obtain a degree by combining studies in several EU countries and strengthen the international competitiveness of universities in Europe. The Commission launched two pilot calls for proposals under the 2019 and 2020 Erasmus+ work programmes. The first pilot has resulted in the selection of 17 ‘European Universities’ in 2019, the second resulted in the selection of 24 ‘European Universities’ in 2020.
‘European Universities’ have an ambitious mandate aimed to trigger unprecedented levels of institutionalised cooperation between higher education institutions, making it systemic, structural and sustainable. More specifically 'European Universities' aim to establish: (i) a shared, integrated, long-term joint strategy for education with links to research and innovation and society at large; (ii) a European higher education inter-university ‘campus’ offering curricula where students, doctoral candidates and staff can experience mobility at all study levels; (iii) European knowledge-creating teams addressing together societal challenges in a multi-disciplinary approach. ‘European Universities’ should act as models of good practice to further increase the quality, international competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education. The Erasmus+ action supports higher education institutions in going beyond existing higher education cooperation models, and gradually achieving the long-term ambitious vision for 'European Universities'.
24 July 2020