An agora of services to boost European Universities cooperation
3.4 million funding from the European Commission in the framework of the European Research Area call have been devoted to aUPaEU - A University Partnership for Acceleration of European Universities. The aim is the integration and implementation of acceleration services among university networks and Alliances, and Higher European Institutions in general (HEI). Following the Greek concept of the agora, the project will build a shared space where all stakeholders can offer and use acceleration services and, at the same time, contribute their knowledge and expertise. This space will be accessible, diverse and inclusive.
The ultimate goal of aUPaEU is thus to create methodologies, sustainability plans, coaching services and tangible digital technologies that will constitute an acceleration agora providing HEI, University networks and Alliances with integrated, shared, and long-term R&I strategies. Six are the project main areas: capacity, infrastructure and resource sharing; research career attractiveness; collaboration with R&I actors’ ecosystem; open science; societal outreach; gender equality.
For Jesús Alcober, Professor at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Coordinator of the project: “The aUPaEU partners' cooperative effort aims at building and deploying models of acceleration services for similar organizations, particularly those in widening countries, allowing the application of the outcomes of UNITE.H2020 and EPICUR-Research projects and their collective experience in European Higher Education Institutions, networks, university alliances and their umbrella organizations”.
aUPaEU is based on the collaboration of two European Alliances under the European Universities Initiative, Unite! and EPiCUR. Five Universities are involved in the project, spacing from eastern to western Europe: on the side of Unite!: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech, also including IThinkUPC, Grenoble INP - UGA Institut d'ingénierie et de management and Politecnico; for EPiCUR, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu and Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT).
All aUPaEU outcomes will be met through the collaborative efforts of five renowned research Universities with extensive expertise in HEI networks and Alliances: the resulting agora will therefore be validated by two Alliances' user groups and stakeholders, and is meant to serve as a model for other Alliances or networks of organisations to follow.
“The aUPaEU project is the demonstration that the European Universities Alliances are able to foster ideas and collaboration among the universities of the same alliance as well as creating synergies with other alliances. The acceleration services to be developed in aUPaEU will help boosting the R&I institutional transformations that are currently pursued in the Unite! Alliance with the pilot activities of the UNITE.H2020 project” says Roberto Zanino, Politecnico di Torino's Key Liaison Officer for Unite! and coordinator of UNITE.H2020.
“The European Universities all work on innovative solutions in research, teaching, innovation and transfer. With aUPaEU, partners from two such alliances have – for the first time in Europe – joint forces to combine their wisdom, their creativity, and their power”, says Michael Zacherle, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), who coordinates the EPICUR-Research SwafS project and acts as aUPaEU Liaison Officer. EPICUR-Research develops a common research agenda for all partner universities to improve and strengthen the interaction between science and society, with a strong focus on Early Career Researcher.