News

VUB celebrates 50th anniversary with EUTOPIA!

During a shared academic opening between VUB and its sister university Université Libre de Bruxelles, the new academic year was kicked off. This year also marks the 50th and 185th birthday of VUB and ULB. The main theme of the ceremony in Cinquantenaire park in Brussels was a message of cooperation across all borders.

For this occasion, representatives of the EUTOPIA universities were invited to join the rectors of VUB and ULB in officially declaring the academic year opened.

This opportunity also allowed for a networking lunch with the European University CIVIS of which ULB is a member. The representatives of EUTOPIA and CIVIS discussed cooperation between the two alliances, and openness and collaboration in the upcoming pilot activities.

Representatives of EUTOPIA and CIVIS met in Brussels for a networking lunch.

EUTOPIA succesful in bid for ‘European University’ grant!

EUTOPIA, an established alliance of six European universities that exists to create a connected and inclusive community addressing global and local challenges, has been successful in its bid for a €5m grant from the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme.

This recognition confirms EUTOPIA as a chosen alliance of institutions working to build a European University of the future, creating a new model for higher education in Europe.

EUTOPIA is comprised of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Gothenburg, l’Université Paris Seine, the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, the University of Warwick, and is led by the University of Ljubljana.

The award will boost EUTOPIA’s mission of working as a network of European campuses, through collaborative research, increased mobility of students, academics and staff, and shared innovations that serve the wider public in regional communities.

Co-created in partnership with academics, students and non-academic partners, EUTOPIA will test innovative methods of collaboration, going beyond existing models to progressively increase the quality, international competitiveness and attractiveness of European higher education.

Since the alliance’s official launch at the Solvay Library in Brussels, in February 2019, staff and students from the EUTOPIA partners have built a strong foundation of collaborative activities, which include:

  • The establishment of co-tutelle PhD Scholarships, which will enable up to eight PhD candidates to be co-supervised by academics at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, l’Université Paris Seine and University of Warwick – benefitting from teaching and academic supervision across two countries. This is been made possible thanks to a £500,000 joint investment from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, l’Université Paris Seine and University of Warwick, the founding members of EUTOPIA. The scholarships will support PhD projects in research areas including Complexity Science, Reproductive Medicine and Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage. The first cohort will begin in October 2019.
  • The creation of a double Master’s degree between Warwick’s Department of Politics and International studies and Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Institute for European Studies in ‘International Studies and Integration’, which will launch in 2019. Prior to this, the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona and the Department of Politics and International Studies at University of Warwick have offered a double degree since 2014. Other collaborative courses are also under discussion.
  • Students from the EUTOPIA partners will spend up to four weeks this summer at the Barcelona International Summer School (Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona), where they will take courses in Spanish and English.
  • A number of academic mobility schemes, including the Fernandes Fellowships programme (University of Warwick), and the EUTOPIA International Fellowships programme (l’Université Paris Seine) provide the opportunity for EUTOPIA academics to undertake research visits at partner universities. The EUTOPIA partner institutions are also developing exchange programmes for students and professional administrative staff.
  • Numerous academic workshops continue to take place across the EUTOPIA partner institutions, including one recently hosted by University of Ljubljana in the area of Computer and Data Science. Further collaborations continue in the areas of Complexity Science, Theoretical Physics, Political and Social Sciences, and Arts and Cultural Heritage

EUTOPIA unites over 165,000 students and 30,000 members of staff over six countries, with 90,000 international alumni associated with its member universities. Together, the EUTOPIA universities have research centres in 760 areas of knowledge.

Caroline Pauwels, Rector of Vrije Universteit Brussel, said:
“I’m proud that the Vrije Universteit Brussel, with five other ambitious European universities in the EUTOPIA alliance, has been chosen by the European Commission as one of the pilot projects for developing a ‘European university’.
“Our shared aim is to create a common European learning and knowledge community that will transform our universities into living labs for education, research and innovation.
“Through open science and open education, with EUTOPIA we are creating a shared ‘multiversity’ with a strong multilingual, multidisciplinary and multicultural research and education agenda.”

Eva Wiberg, Vice Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg commented:
“This is a fantastic message. And it’s an honour to be selected as one of the first European networks to get the opportunity to make a strategic effort in Europe.  This means that we’ll have great opportunities to increase our internationalisation and facilitate our idea that students, scholars and other employees should be able to move freely between the alliance’s institutions.”

Igor Papič, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, said:
“I am extremely pleased that our application has been favourably evaluated. This is a milestone in our endeavours and an important incentive to continue with our joint efforts to create the EUTOPIA alliance in the coming years. I would like to thank our partners for their excellent work and look forward to our collaboration in the future.”

François Germinet, Président Université de Cergy-Pontoise and Administrateur provisoire Université Paris Seine, commented :
“Université Paris Seine is very proud that our collective project EUTOPIA has obtained the opportunity to carry even further the impulse that we launched in gathering our academic communities.
“Working together this past year to build common grounds for a strong European universities’ alliance has showed us how rewarding it is for our students, teachers and researchers to reach for broader programs that enhance the flow of ideas and scientific approaches across boundaries. It is an honor that our strenghts and will to go further have been recognized.
“It is a thrill to have the means to make it a very concrete reality and an every day perspective for our communities and territories.”

Professor Jaume Casals, Rector of the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, said:
“At last a great opportunity to eradicate internal and external, mental and material, local and national, bureaucratic and academic university barriers in Europe.
“UPF intends to make the most of it and try to fly freely, which is precisely what, by nature, a university should be doing.”

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick, commented:
“We in the University of Warwick and EUTOPIA community are delighted to have been successful in the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme.
“Our alliance of six European universities has already taken bold steps to create a new form of inclusive, innovative, international higher education – and this recognition from the European Union will help us to advance our mission.
“Warwick has been an international university since its foundation, and, together with our EUTOPIA partners, we continue to strengthen links across the continent, provide global opportunities for staff and students, and to transform our local region through collaborative research.”

Research groups at Warwick and VUB address the topic Rights as Methodology? Researching at the Intersections of Law, Technology, Knowledge and Society

On 14 June 2019 the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick and the Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society at the Free University of Brussels organised a joint seminar. The day started with the question ‘how do, on the one hand, methodological and, on the other hand, legal aspects come together and/or interact in data-intenstive research in digital societies and cultures? In several sessions topics such as digital rights, transparency and reverse engineering were addressed.

The aim is to strengthen the collaboration between the two centers.

About the centers:

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (CIM) at the University of Warwick research champions innovative and experimental forms of knowledge production through a sustained focus on methodology, with current projects focusing on smart city research, machine learning, personalisation in medicine,visualisation, digital pay, environmental sensing, and real-world testing of intelligent technology.

The Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), is a research leader in legal and ethical aspects of digital transformations, with a special focus on issues of privacy, trust, security and democracy, and the Centre has recently led funded projects on accountability of machine learning, new sources of personal data and citizen profiling. More information HERE.

EUTOPIA takes next steps in making Bridges to European Economic Development through Universities, Partnership and Social Value.

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.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships at VUB for EUTOPIA candidates

The VUB is currently actively recruiting experienced researchers for the prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships which is part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funding scheme. The MSCA-IF funding scheme is geared to promising experienced researchers (ER). A repository of topics to inspire potential applicants, and to ensure a two-way knowledge transfer between applicant and host institution (a requirement for the proposal) has been created. The topics of the repository are thought to be seen as grounds for discussion and further evolution into a project idea together with the respective VUB supervisor. The applicant will have to write a proposal to further expound his or her idea regarding e.g. innovation, training and stakeholders. Candidates from the EUTOPIA universities are welcomed. Read more.

EUTOPIA International Fellowships at Paris Seine

The Paris Seine Institute of Advanced Studies has launched a new scheme, the EUTOPIA Visiting Fellowships, to facilitate the hosting of EUTOPIA researchers wishing to collaborate with Paris Seine faculty.

The program is open to researchers of the five partner universities wishing to undertake a short research stay (up to 21 days) at Paris Seine University. It covers stipend and living expenses for a fixed amount of 150 € per day (including travel fees and housing). Visitors will be hosted jointly in one of the research centers of the Paris Seine University and at the Paris Seine Institute for Advanced Studies.

Applications are open and welcome! Read more.

University of Paris-Seine visits UPF in the framework of EUTOPIA

Led by its rector, François Germinet, the University of Paris-Seine visited the University Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona in the beginning of May 2019 with the aim of creating synergies in the field of higher education and building strong international partnerships.

The meeting, part of the Eutopia project, was held so that the representatives of the two institutions could explore ways of working together. For this purpose, bilateral meetings were organized with the different fields of knowledge at UPF: political and social sciences, health and life sciences, communication, economics and business, engineering and information and communication technologies, humanities, and translation and language sciences.

Visits to several unique spaces of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra – Barcelona were also scheduled, such as the Workshops Area of the Poblenou campus, which is undergoing transformation, and the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).

Finally, the visit also served to introduce to the delegation of University of Paris-Seine two strategic projects that UPF is currently developing.  Josep Lluís Martí, vice-rector for innovation projects, explained EDvolució, the project to completely renovate and update UPF’s model of education; Pablo Pareja, commissioner for UPF student academic career, presented UPForward, the project that seeks to give order and coherence to every student’s passage through the University, from before their arrival until after graduation, when they become alumni. Read more.

Delegation of the University of Paris-Seine visiting the Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Barcelona.

Warwick, VUB and UPS start with co-tutelle PhD Scholarschips

For the first time, Warwick and Paris Seine, and Warwick and VUB, are offering a number of PhD scholarships for joint projects to enable promising researchers to be jointly supervised in order to complete their PhD. PhD candidates will have one supervisor at Warwick and another at VUB or UPS and spend at least 12 months in each institution. Successful candidates will enter into an agreement governing the joint supervision of their PhD with Warwick and VUB or UPS.

The funding, which covers tuition fees, a salary/stipend and research/travel expenses, will allow students to be jointly supervised by an academic at Warwick and an academic at either Paris Seine or VUB.

The deadline for applications is the 29th May. Read more.

EUTOPIA, a new generation of European alliance of universities

The University of Paris-Seine, Vrije University Brussels, University of Warwick, University of Ljubljana, University of Gothenburg and Pompeu Fabra University are the six member institutions of the network.

Eutopia aims to boost its mission of operating as a network of European campuses facing global challenges through collaborative research, greater student and staff mobility, and shared innovations that serve a broader public than that of their regional communities.

The alliance unites more than 165,000 students and 30,000 staff members from six countries, with 90,000 international students associated through the partner universities. Together, the EUTOPIA universities have research centres in 760 different areas of knowledge.

The six partner universities are working together to modernize education and training, and provide the skills for the twenty-first century in all European regions. Hence, they have opted for the new competitive call “European Universities Initiative” launched by the European Commission to build a European Education Area. 

Next generation European university alliance launches mission in Brussels

EUTOPIA, a new alliance of six European universities that strives to create a connected and inclusive academic community across the continent, launches its strategy today at the Solvay Library in Brussels. 

The alliance has also today submitted its bid for the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ programme grant, which would boost its mission of working as a network of European campuses addressing global challenges – through collaborative research, increased mobility of students and staff, and with shared innovations which serve the wider public in regional communities.

Already, the alliance is developing joint Masters courses, joint PhD studentships and fellowships for Early Career Researchers, student exchange programmes and teaching collaborations.

Furthermore, academic conferences are taking place across the EUTOPIA universities – such as a two day workshop on Complex Systems in October 2018, during which potential research collaborations in areas like robotics and artificial intelligence were explored. A workshop for researchers in the Humanities on ‘History, Memory and Conflicts’ is also planned for later in 2019.

At the heart of EUTOPIA is an open learning community, which is co-created in partnership with academics, students and non-academic partners. In time, the alliance may include other higher education institutions both within and outside Europe.

The six partner universities are working together to modernise education and training, and provide 21st century skills and competencies in all of Europe’s regions.

Launch event at the Solvay Library on 28 February 2019.

Caroline Pauwels, Rector of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, said

“The VUB is happy that the EUTOPIA alliance brings together 6 ambitious universities from very diverse metropolitan settings. Our joint project to create a common learning community and knowledge creation community aims to transform our universities into living labs of education and research innovation.

“Through Open Science and Open Education the EUTOPIA alliance is driven towards the creation of a joint ‘multiversity’ with a strong multilingual, multidisciplinary and multicultural research and educational agenda. We aim to create mutual understanding through intensified co-creation of a common future for Europe.”

Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg, said:

“Together, the network has now submitted a strong application in a tough race with other universities. Our strongest contributions in this alliance are our knowledge in multidisciplinary research in relation to our large societal challenges, and our comprehensive quality work.

“I’m really looking forward to the bid submission. Regardless of the outcome, this is the beginning of an exciting co-operation.”

Igor Papic, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, said:

“I am very pleased that we have successfully submitted the EUTOPIA project proposal. Our alliance puts students ‘at the centre’ and prepares them for the society of 2050, teaching them how to tackle technological and sociological challenges. Part of the project’s objective is to ensure a balanced development across all the EU regions – which will be crucial for the success of the EU in the future. I am convinced that it is important that the UK universities remain partners in all the EU programmes.

“Our project proposal conveys the messages that we would like to establish a very good collaboration with the University of Warwick, irrespective of Brexit. I am so glad that the initial discussions between the universities were so fruitful and that we will continue to work together in any case.”

Francois Germinet, l’Université Paris Seine’s President, said:

“How can we address sustainable development goals around us? How do we make Europe a practical reality and meaningful utopia again? Our children are expecting strong answers. They expect respectful places where they can design their future and the future of our planet. This is why we are so pleased to launch our European University EUTOPIA.

“We are so proud, in Cergy, to be part of it. The teams of our 6 universities have done a great job. We are highly motivated to rely on our diversity, enlightened by a common humanist and entrepreneurial spirit, in order to invent the university 21st century Europe needs”.

Jaume Casals, Rector of Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, said:

“EUTOPIA is, first and foremost, a happy encounter: a friendly alliance of universities that still breathe and live on the road coming at a good time. Then it’s a useful tool, optimal for the birth of the European universities of the 21st century, innovative, respectful to the local environment and with a vocation to cause an impact on a planetary scale.” 

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said:

“The University of Warwick is delighted to be a member of EUTOPIA, a new and exciting collaboration of universities from across Europe.

“Today, we collectively launch EUTOPIA’s mission and strategy, which confirms the commitment of our six member universities to open, innovative and inclusive education. Together, we will strive to foster greater mobility for ideas and people, bring together our local regions to address global issues and push forward the new generation of higher education in Europe.

“Europe-wide research and teaching collaboration is central to who we are as a University and we are delighted to work with our EUTOPIA colleagues to further our alliance, and to provide fresh opportunities to transform the lives of the Warwick community and our region.”

University of Ljubljana to lead new European university network

A university alliance founded by the UK’s University of Warwick, L’Université Paris Seine, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and recently joined by the University of Ljubljana, today made three announcements which were: the names of two new members of the alliance; the alliance’s name; and the fact that they have chosen the Slovenia’s University of Ljubljana and its Rector Professor Doctor Igor Papič to lead the new alliance’s approach to the European Universities of the future initiative. An initiative first suggested by French President Emmanuel Macron. 13 December 2018. Read more. 

A university alliance founded by the UK’s University of Warwick, L’Université Paris Seine, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and recently joined by the University of Ljubljana, today made three announcements which were: the names of two new members of the alliance; the alliance’s name; and the fact that they have chosen the Slovenia’s University of Ljubljana and its Rector Professor Doctor Igor Papič to lead the new alliance’s approach to the European Universities of the future initiative. An initiative first suggested by French President Emmanuel Macron. 13 December 2018. Read more. 

VUB launches new European University EUTOPIA with Partners

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the University of Warwick, the 
Université Paris Seine, the University of Gothenburg, Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona and the University of Ljubljana are now working together in a new university alliance: EUTOPIA. To achieve this, several declarations of intent were signed by all the universities  involved on Wednesday, 12 December, in Ljubljana. This collaboration is in line with the European Commission’s call to expand and strengthen European cooperation in higher education and scientific research. 13 December 2018. Read more. 

University of Gothenburg joins new European network

On Wednesday, Eva Wiberg, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg, signed an agreement to join the university network Eutopia, a new alliance of six European universities. 13 December. Read more. 

Regional leaders attend Paris meeting with the University of Warwick and new alliance members

Regional leaders joined academic and policy staff from the University of Warwick at a summit with European counterparts this week. 6 November 2018. Read more. 

Paris summit to see further political and academic backing for new European university alliance

The University of Ljubljana in Slovenia is the fourth institution to join a new, growing university alliance founded by the University of Warwick, L’Université Paris Seine, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The group has also revealed that discussions are well in advance for further members to join. 29 October 2018. Read more.

Alliance between the University of Warwick and the University of Paris-Seine

The University of Paris-Seine and the University of Warwick signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Wednesday, 28 March 2018 in London. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Paris-Seine Initiative members (Cergy-Pontoise University, ESSEC, EISTI, ENSEA, ComUE Paris Seine), winners of the “I-SITE Initiatives of Excellence”, in the framework of the Investments for the Future Programme (Programme Investissement d’Avenir, in French). 10 April 2018. Read more. 

University of Warwick launches major teaching and research collaboration with partners in Paris and Brussels

The University of Warwick has today signed and launched two major teaching and research collaborations with partner universities and and colleges in Paris and Brussels. 28 March 2018. Read more.