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"Rethinking the European Educational Area"

14 November 2019

The first steps towards a trans-European campus have been taken. The heads of seven European technical universities, which have joined forces to form the UNITE! alliance and have been awarded the title "European University", have signed a joint charter and commenced their work at TU Darmstadt at a festive opening event. On Thursday, the network partners will participate in the opening meeting of the European Commission for all 17 funded "European Universities" in Brussels.

During the UNITE! event, the president of TU Darmstadt, Professor Dr. Tanja Brühl, addressed the Rectors, Presidents and Delegations of the partner universities: "We think ahead on the European idea. Students and teaching staff share their knowledge across borders, jointly developing an European Education Area." In times of Brexit and the weakening of the European Union, the initiative to create "European universities" is an "epochal and encouraging signal". The president, who was elected UNITE! president until 2022, continued: "Our aim is to reform the national and European educational area. Our lives and our thinking have become more agile, and that's the best way to break down boundaries, both socially and politically."

UNITE! is coordinated by TU Darmstadt and receives five million euros in start-up funding until 2022. The seven partner universities intend to use the alliance to create a trans-European campus for students, scientists and administrative staff. The aim is to ensure that degree programmes involving several universities, academic cooperation in teaching and research and transnational knowledge transfer become commonplace. By 2025, 50 percent of students are to benefit from the various mobility opportunities between the universities. The partners want to strengthen student mobility and doctoral programmes, create a virtual campus and put new pedagogical concepts to the test. As a network of universities of engineering and science, UNITE! places great importance on having an interdisciplinary focus on technological and scientific issues, establishing links with start-up networks and industry in the respective regions, and making essential contributions to current social issues such as the energy revolution, artificial intelligence and industry 4.0.

Following the consultations at TU Darmstadt, the UNITE! delegations will travel to Brussels for an opening event of the European Commission. At the same time, the German Academic Exchange Service is inviting all universities that have successfully entered the "European Universities" competition to a first network meeting in Brussels. The EU funding competition was established on the initiative of French President Macron in 2017.

About UNITE!

In addition to TU Darmstadt, UNITE! includes Aalto University (Finland), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Grenoble Institute of Technology (France), Poltecnico di Torino (Italy), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya Barcelona Tech (Spain) and Universidade des Lisboa (Portugal). Together, the seven partners have 167,000 students and 36,700 graduates annually. They already cooperate closely in more than 80 EU projects and have exchanged more than 2,000 students in the last five years.

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