(Swedish version published 8 June.)
This week I have attended meetings of two European networks of which we are members: The Guild and Coimbra. First there was the General Assembly and Rectors’ Meeting of The Guild in Tübingen. We discussed the European Union’s next framework programme, Horizon Europe, with Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director-General of DG RTD, who had been invited to our meeting. Apart from that, most attention focused on the European Universities initiative, both at this meeting and at the Coimbra meeting in Krakow later in the week. The first call has attracted 54 proposals involving around 300 universities in all. There is great interest in the initiative, which was first mooted by Macron in a speech at the Sorbonne in 2017. In all likelihood, just as many are planning to apply in the next call, which opens in the autumn. The proposals vary widely and in view of the great interest, the idea is being discussed of increasing the number of projects in the next call to allow up to 24 proposals to be approved. Our own proposal is based on U4 and is called U4Society. Uppsala University is applying jointly with Tartu, Groningen, Ghent and Göttingen, and we are now eagerly awaiting the outcome of the first call, to be announced on 28 June.
In conjunction with the Coimbra meeting in Krakow, a conference was held on “Women in universities – the past, the present and the future”. I took part in a panel entitled “Role of women in higher education – experiences, best practices and challenges ahead”. It feels valuable to share the experiences I have gathered over the years and I hope this is a useful contribution to others’ leadership. This was my last meeting of the Coimbra Rectors’ Advisory Group (RAG), as I have now served two terms and it is time for me to step down. These two European university networks are very useful to us, both for the sake of influence in Brussels and for experience exchange. The Guild focuses more on research, being an association of 19 research-intensive universities, while Coimbra is a broader network with an emphasis on education and 39 members. The two networks complement one another well. They are a source of the latest news on current and upcoming developments, are good channels for jointly influencing upcoming programmes in Brussels, and help us to prepare better for future calls for proposals.