Today, the European University of Technology (EUt+) Alliance, which includes Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), have won the second call for proposals for pilot initiatives to create “European universities of the future”.
Five other Irish higher education institutions were also chosen by the European Commission for the alliance, including University College Cork (UCC), Limerick Institute of Technology and National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).
The six Irish higher education institutions were among twenty-four EU institutions chosen for the university alliance.
With this “highly significant award”, TU Dublin claim they are taking a “new step” forward in its development and putting in place a new alliance that will be “at the forefront of shaping the future of European higher education”.
The EUt+ is part of a larger series of EU initiatives, which aim to create transnational alliances of higher education institutions and to foster “deeper cooperation” between European universities.
According to the European Commission’s call for applications, these transnational alliances will become “the universities of the future”, promoting European values and identity, and “revolutionising” the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.
This project call, which closed on February 26, is one of the EU’s flagship initiatives aimed at building a European education area.
Each alliance will receive €5 million from Erasmus, and up to €2 million from Horizon 2020 over 3 years.
The President of TU Dublin Professor David FitzPatrick welcomed the news, stating that TU Dublin is “keen to create a new EU-wide model of education”, that will equip students with the “knowledge and skills required to secure Europe’s global competitiveness and to play an active, responsible role in society”.
He continued: “Today’s announcement will also see our researchers collaborate with colleagues across the EUt+ Alliance to develop impactful, multi-disciplinary research delivering creative, tangible solutions for the real world.”
Both students and staff were involved in crafting the proposal for the EU Commission.
TU Dublin will be at the forefront of the group of eight technical universities across European countries, including Germany, France, Latvia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain and Romania.
The project whose motto is “think human first” has approximately 100,000 students and 12,000 staff across the eight institutions.
The alliance aims to “take advantage of the diversity and opportunity offered, to develop technology that is above all human”.
The EUt+ has received strong support from figures inside the EU, such as Thierry Breton, European Commissioner of the Internal Market and Michel Barnier, Commission Chief Negotiator and Head of the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom.
The initiative has also received support from forty associated partners, including the European Society of Engineering Education and chambers of commerce and industry.
The EU commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that deeper cooperation across borders, disciplines and cultures is the only way to recover from the crisis and to build resilience.”
She continued: “Working closer together will leverage their ability to tackle the challenges they are faced with during the recovery, and beyond.”
“It will help them to foster inclusive green and digital transitions for the benefit of their students and all Europeans,” Gabriel added.
In a recent survey that was conducted in institutions already part of a European university programme, 96% believed that had the programme been fully functional it would have helped during the current crisis, while 60% believed the programme was helpful with dealing with the current crisis.