What role do university alliances play in Europe?

circle u

On 24 October, UCLouvain is hosting the seventh Circle U. national conference. The exchanges, which are taking place at the Palais des Académies (Academy Palace) in Brussels, will focus on the role of university alliances in teaching and research in Europe.

After London, Berlin, Oslo, Paris, Aarhus and Belgrade, it is now the turn of Brussels to host a Circle U. national conference, the seventh gathering of its kind.   The Circle U. conferences bring together participants from the nine alliance universities (see inset), as well as partners from outside the alliance, both national and international, public and private, and representatives of other alliances.

A new way of teaching and doing research?

The topic chosen for this conference is highly appropriate for an event organised in Brussels, the seat of the European institutions. It looks at the role of alliances in the transformation of higher education and research in Europe. Four years after the inception of the European Universities Initiative, how is this new form of cooperation changing the way in which we teach, learn and carry out research? What lessons have been learnt? How are the various stakeholders – students, academics, staff, the non-academic sector - being impacted? How can we move forward and fulfil the potential of the innovative practices being developed by the alliances?

These questions will be considered through a number of significant Circle U. achievements over the past three years as well as speeches given by two experts from Harvard University (Manja Klemenčič) and King’s College London (Liviu Matei). The Minister for Higher Education of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Françoise Bertieaux, and the European Commissioner for Education and Research, Iliana Ivanova, will also speak during the conference.

A € 12.8 million subsidy

It is worth noting that the event is taking place just a few months after the alliance received new support from the European Commission in the form of a subsidy of € 12.8 million. This financing will in particular allow the Alliance to successfully undertake a key project in its rollout, that is the creation of a single entry point covering all the alliance’s educational and mobility opportunities (known as ‘Open Campus’).

Furthermore, over the next four years the alliance is to develop its three ‘Knowledge Hubs’ devoted to the climate, democracy and general health, and create a fourth, the subject of which has yet to be defined. It will also establish four collaborative platforms intended to promote innovation in education, encourage multilingualism, support new researchers and develop student entrepreneurship.

Find out more about the conference

Circle U. in figures

  • 9 universities:  University of Aarhus (Denmark), University of Belgrade (Serbia), Humbold University of Berlin (Germany), King’s College London (Great Britain), UCLouvain, University of Oslo (Norway), Université Paris Cité (France), University of Pisa (Italy), University of Vienna (Austria).
  • 475,000 students
  • 64,000 members of staff
  • 2,700 study programmes
  • 275 ERC projects
  • Website: www.circle-u.eu

Published on October 25, 2023