from December 14, 2023 to December 31, 2023
Published on December 12, 2023 Updated on February 5, 2024

EUTOPIA Week ends in Dresden - A little throwback


Monday 4th of December 2023, Day 1


On Monday December 4, more than 150 representatives from our 10 partner universities and 4 global partners arrived in Dresden for a 3-day gathering to discuss the future of the Alliance and ways to make our cooperation even stronger.

In the morning, two campus tours were organised to present the Technische Universität Dresden’s research infrastructures and its Clusters of Excellence, large-scale research projects in which brilliant scientists from different disciplines jointly conduct research on vital questions that humanity faces today.

The opening ceremony was the occasion for Ursula Staudinger, Rector of TUD to give the audience an overview of the “Ecosystems of Innovation” of its university and that suggested motto of this EUTOPIA Week. Tiziana Lippiello, chair of EUTOPIA emphasised on the main alliance's achievements of the last six months, among which the creation of a legal entity for EUTOPIA, which is more than a simple administrative formality, but a commitment to developing all the dimensions of a true European Academy, the addition of 10 new Connected Communities that now integrate Research and Innovation; the EUTOPIA HEALTH project, which is one of less than 15 projects approved by Horizon Europe out of 61 applications, and will chart an innovative framework to spur and promote health-related research activities. On the student side, the Ideas Club was launched, a spirited, student-led debate programme embracing European values.

Finally, the new cohort of the Young Leaders Academy was unveiled later that day. These 22 post-doctoral fellows have joined EUTOPIA ranks with their terrific research projects. During the kick-off, each fellow got to present themselves, explain their project and what they expected from this initiative.

Later all participants got the chance to discover one of the magical Dresden Christmas markets: the Striezelmarkt which is located in the heart of Dresden’s historic old town with lovingly decorated huts and traditional carousels. They are said to be Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, dating back to the 15th century! 

Tuesday 5th of December 2023, Day 2

The participants were familiarised with the Ecosystems Of Innovation Open Space on the second day of the EUTOPIA Week held at Technische Universität Dresden. Divided into small groups, rectors, vice-rectors, directors, staff, academics, and students from 10 countries stood discussing new ideas and paths of work to our Alliance. On which topics? Innovation and tech transfer, climate crises and sustainability, future teaching formats and degrees, research cooperation, democracy, inclusion and internationalisation. One key question emerged: What shall we do to make our Alliance a successful and attractive European Higher Education institution, inclusive and focused on excellence, open and sharp? Representatives from the Alliance identified specific cooperation opportunities within EUTOPIA. During the intense brainstorming sessions, 21 project ideas were proposed, demonstrating a remarkably vigorous and diverse European academic community!

In the meantime, the members of the new cohort of the Young Leaders Academy were busy all day understanding how to develop their research leadership skills through a dedicated training programme. While the new fellows got to know each other, parallel working sessions involving all governance bodies took place in the afternoon, and important decisions regarding the future of the Alliance were made.

An exceptional evening reception brought the EUTOPIA Community to the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum (DHMD), one of Dresden’s most attractive galleries, which all were invited to visit after sharing a drink and standing dinner in the privatised venue. Founded in 1912, it stimulates visitors to explore the human adventure. The permanent display focuses on “Health and the Body”, with media installations and many interactive points bringing the information to life. Countless objects from DHMD's extensive collection, including the “Transparent Man”, caught the visitors' attention.

Wednesday 6th of December 2023, Day 3

The spotlight was on the TRAIN Research Infrastructure on the third and final day of the EUTOPIA Week hosted by TU Dresden. This topic set the rhythm for insightful discussions within EUTOPIA’s Scientific Community, underlining the pivotal role of networking in fostering collaborative research at the alliance level. Attendees delved into the potential of research cooperation, seizing the opportunity presented by the conclusion of the Science with and for Society project (SwafS) during the EUTOPIA Week. The day unfolded with impressive presentations and extensive exchanges, revisiting the objectives and achievements of the Horizon 2020 programme.

Thematic guided tours also provided an outstanding experience. One tour took participants to the Kustodie, the Office for Academic Heritage, Scientific and Art Collections, featuring permanent and temporary exhibits. The Görges Building’s Gallery showcased diverse science and technology collections, offering insights into the university’s history.

Simultaneously, other delegates explored the Saxon State and University Library, a prominent public archival centre in Germany housing over 9 million books. This library treasures significant artefacts, including the Dresden Codex—a Maya Book believed to be the oldest surviving book written in the Americas, dating back to the 11th or 12th century.