Integrated Connected Communities

The EUTOPIA Connected Communities in Brief

The Connected Communities (CC ‘s) are the building blocks of the EUTOPIA approach for empowering knowledge in the EUTOPIA MORE Erasmus+ European University Initiative (2022-2026). The CCs are inspired by the outcomes of the former Connected Learning Communities (CLC) and Connected Research Communities (CRC) resulting from the pilot phase of EUTOPIA (2019-2022).

Today’s CC’s are integrated thematic networks where teachers, researchers, and students cooperate in cross-campus knowledge activities. They do not impose change but aim to strengthen existing good practices in challenge-based learning and research by creating interuniversity connectedness at a European scale.
The CC’s are aligned with the EUTOPIA alliance vision on openness and aim to bridge the typical divides that still characterise academia:

  • Connecting academia and society: by focusing their knowledge activities on key challenges in society, and thereby involve stakeholders emanating from a wide range of activities in the business world, the public sector, and cultural organizations.
  • Teaching and Research: participants combine their experience in teaching and research for testing different formats of cross-campus cooperation; by doing so they create impact that goes beyond the ad hoc experience of staff and students involved.
  • Inclusion: the CCs are expected to open up their knowledge activities to a wide range of potential learners by using flexible and/or blended formats for cross-campus cooperation.

Based on common criteria, the partner universities of EUTOPIA identify nominees for acting as a lead in future Connected Communities. These leads are permanent members of the existing staff in one of the alliance universities, and are willing and motivated for reaching out to partners/colleagues working on similar topics in the other universities of the EUTOPIA alliance.

During a so-called incubation period the selected lead and partners gradually move from sharing resources to implementation of connected cross-campus learning and knowledge activities supported by the EUTOPIA central team. Incubation results in a wide range of impacts such as: a range of transnational learning formats for students (BA, MA, PhD), international exposure, mutual access to specialised data and infrastructure, research-based learning, synergy and complementarity for teaching, joint participation to calls for (inter) national funding schemes, potential for publication etc.

Following two academic years of testing the partnership takes stock of the connected activities they have been developing, and prioritise value-added formats for staff and students. The community can then opt for a number of pathways leading to sustainability for their efforts, such as: integration in existing academic offerings, continued cooperation at joint degree level or in joint research programs intended to stimulate innovation in the higher education and research area.