The members of the EUTOPIA were kindly invited by the University of Warwick to a high-level policy roundtable on Wednesday, 12 June 2019 at the Warwick Brussels Office for a policy event on Bridges to European Economic Development: Universities, Partnership and Social Value.
In the 21st Century, the task facing local, national and supra-national governments seeking to achieve socially acceptable economic development is becoming more complex. For example, the incorporation ofthe technological innovations associated with Artificial Intelligence will have a profound impact on the way business and industry is conducted and may well result in massive social disturbance. At the same time, the need to achieve economic development in a sustainable way, as expressed in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, places additional challenges onpolicymakers, as well as onresearchers developing the new technologies. Meeting these challenges will require policymakers, business and industry, and universities to re-think their roles and responsibilities.
European universities thinking about their role in the 21st century can no longer merely be bastions of research and teaching excellence, existing in isolation. Rather, they mustlook beyond their walls to generate synergies with society, to foster both a spiritof international collaboration and to increasebenefitsto theirlocal economies through ‘place-based’ collaboration. The European Union has recently launched the European Universities programme, which offers the opportunity for consortia of European universities to address these issues.
The EUTOPIA alliance explicitly aims to explore how institutions from across Europe can work together to promote inclusive growth and innovationin their regionsand, in doing so, they seek to contribute to social welfare and to create value while promoting their commitment to culture as an instrument for deciphering the contemporary world, and while actively engaging with it. The EUTOPIA alliance will also seek to identify how its members can act as ‘bridges’ between their respectiveregions in order to maximise the collective impact of their work.