The UNIC Alliance has secured continued funding in the 2023 Erasmus+ European Universities Call, enabling the implementation of its expanded, ambitious new Mission Statement over the next four years. The European University of Cities in Post-Industrial Transition – expanded to ten universities from the founding eight – will deepen its commitments and values, continuing a journey started after a successful 2020 Erasmus+ grant designed to foster the quality, inclusiveness and competitiveness of European higher education and a H2020 SwafS grant towards collaborative approach and structure for Engaged Research.
Since then, UNIC has built a rich diversity of activities and new offerings for students, researchers, staff, and citizens across Europe. It has enabled enhanced mobility through hybrid campuses and course offerings, started a joint MSc programme on “Redesigning the Post-Industrial City”, and offered an Engaged Research seed fund for collaborative research projects. It has created communities of practice and made available an open case repository through flagship “CityLabs”, which create opportunities for knowledge exchange between universities and the cities they’re embedded in.
UNIC’s new phase, with 14.4 million € in funding, begins in October 2023. It will be guided by a bold, new Mission Statement and roadmap that was signed by the rectors of all 10 partner universities earlier in January.
UNIC’s initiatives benefit nearly 20 million citizens, students, staff, and researchers in post-industrial cities across Europe. Collectively, the next phase of this Alliance aims to further boost development of knowledge and co-creation through collaboration, innovation and inclusion for societal impact and improvement. Building on the foundations established in the last 3 years, UNIC’s renewed objectives in the coming years will center on unlocking models of inter-institutional learning, teaching, and research that are profoundly engaged with diverse post-industrial urban ecosystems.
"UNIC is committed to building the European university of the future, and we are delighted to be supported in our next phase by the European Commission,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Scholten, UNIC's Alliance coordinator. “ Our impact is in educating our students as change agents of the future, and we will continue to set a positive model for European cities on how to bring together learning, engaged research and innovation to create societal impact.“
“UNIC goes beyond just the practical – it’s creating a shared institutional memory for future generations of students,” said Yağmur Kökden, UNIC Student Representative at Koç University in Istanbul. “As UNIC students, we’re excited by the opportunities that this new phase holds for us, and we feel more empowered and excited to shape our future.”
In its next phase, the Alliance will roll out new programs and expand existing offerings that reflect its renewed mission:
“Since 2020, our unique identity has already provided a solid foundation for our joint European Alliance to impact the future of our cities,” said Prof. Dr. Ed Brinksma, President of Erasmus University Rotterdam. “We look forward to deepening UNIC’s work as a true partnership of students, teachers, and citizens – enabling the co-creation of knowledge to tackle the major transitions that will define Europe’s future.”
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