U!REKA consortium bids to create the European university of the future

Edinburgh Napier part of European Commission pilot project application

Date posted

11 March 2019


U!REKA logo - Urban Research and Education Knowledge AllianceThe Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance (U!REKA) consortium, which includes Edinburgh Napier, has launched a bid to take part in the 2019 European Universities pilot project.

The European Universities is a pilot project funded under the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme to develop new models of collaboration in higher education to build the European universities of the future.

The pilot project sees higher education institutions working together so that a new generation of creative Europeans are able to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines to address the big societal challenges and skills shortages that Europe faces.

These objectives resonate very strongly with the U!REKA alliance and it presents a unique opportunity to be a pioneer in European higher education development.

U!REKA is a network of six European Universities, formed in 2016, which, alongside Edinburgh Napier, includes Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, Oslo Metropolitan University and University College Ghent (HOGENT).

Collaborative activities across the institutions have included staff and student mobility projects, yearly academic conferences, including the 2017 conference hosted by Edinburgh Napier, departmental visits and collaborative research projects. A U!REKA European University would add further value to this shared approach.

Alistair Sambell, Senior Vice Principal and Deputy Vice Chancellor at Edinburgh Napier said: “Edinburgh Napier University is looking forward to working ever closer with our European partners to develop our joint vision for the U!REKA European University and deliver more impactful teaching and research together.”

The vision for the U!REKA European University, co-developed by all partners will centre around: 

  • Sharing and adding value through international collaborative teaching projects: built on the common experience of delivering education with integrated practical experiences and linking these with international collaborative opportunities.
  • Inclusion and diversity: actions that will support the common mission to widen participation in higher education, in particular from underrepresented communities.
  • The ‘Urban Labs’ and the Quadruple Helix model: deepening activities in the wider context of all stakeholders: the public, private and third sectors, civil society and local communities. Through individual existing close links to industry and businesses, the U!REKA alliance has the opportunity to forge long-lasting international partnerships focused on innovation and offer new opportunities to students, during and after their studies.
  • Creating and replicating the ‘feel’ of a U!REKA European University at each U!REKA institution, by developing dedicated space that fosters collaborative projects and enables virtual mobility for students. The identity of the U!REKA European University would be across all six cities through our common purpose but which also reflect individual locations.

Huib de Jong, Executive Board Chairman at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, said: “The European Universities application enables the partners to make a great stride towards the development of a European institution, whereby the partners can implement their shared vision of education and also provide a major boost to the exchange opportunities for students and employees.”

The U!REKA alliance submitted its application to the Education, Audiovisual and Cultural Executive Agency (EACEA) at the end of February 2019. 

Further information regarding U!REKA is available at www.ureka.eu and press queries can be sent to Erik van den Berg at e.e.w.van.den.berg@hva.nl.