4EU+ Successful With “European Universities” Concept
The 4EU+ European University Alliance – a transnational association of six universities with a strong research focus that includes Heidelberg – has been successful with its application in response to the first Erasmus+ call for proposals for “European Universities”: The funding decision was announced 26 June 2019, making 4EU+ one of 17 university alliances receiving up to five million euros each. Besides Heidelberg University, the universities participating in 4EU+ are the Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic), the Sorbonne University in Paris (France), Warsaw University (Poland), Copenhagen University (Denmark) and Milan University (Italy). “It is a great privilege to be one of the first alliances to take part in this initiative to promote transnational university networks. The Alliance will share its experience in setting up an integrated university system with other universities in order to pave the way for future university networks”, emphasises Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University.
A total of 54 university networks submitted an application following the call for proposals of 4EU+, from which the European Commission has now selected 17 concepts for funding. The successful alliances will receive financial support to implement the “European Universities” project. Funds totalling 85 million euros are available for the duration of three years. The aim of supporting strategic university partnerships in the context of Erasmus+ is to cluster research and teaching in Europe in new structures and to reinforce the European educational area.
The European University Alliance, originally called 4EU, was founded in March of last year by the universities of Prague, Heidelberg, the Sorbonne in Paris and Warsaw, and expanded in October of 2018 under the name 4EU+ to include the universities of Copenhagen and Milan. The partnership builds on existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation but seeks to intensify collaboration between the six universities in the areas of research, teaching, student affairs, transfer and administration, establishing it at a new level. In a joint mission statement, the partners of the Alliance affirm the responsibility of the universities to find solutions to global challenges. Four areas of work have been defined, which comprise health and demographic change in an urban environment, Europe in a changing world, the transformation of science and society by new information and communication technologies, and issues related to biodiversity and sustainable development. The application of the 4EU+ European University Alliance in response to the call for proposals for “European Universities” was supported by over 20 partners that include non-governmental organisations, regional authorities and business partners.