Today I signed a Consortium Letter of Intent for ENLIGHT, our new venture in the second pilot round of the European Univeristy Initiative. Our application in the first pilot call, from the U4Society network (with Göttingen, Groningen, Ghent and Tartu), was well received but ultimately fell short. Now we are making a new effort along with four additional universities that complement our network in terms of geographical coverage and valuable expertise: the University of Bordeaux (France), the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain), the University of Galway (Ireland) and Comenius University (Slovakia).
Intensive discussions over the summer resulted in the identification of a major theme, Sustainable Cities, where all nine universities see many advantages to cooperating. At the beginning of the week, we gathered with our partners in Tartu to pursue our ideas further. We had productive and inspiring discussions that bode well for the future.
The EU programme, known as the ‘European Universities Initiative’, aims to “bring together a new generation of creative Europeans able to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines to address societal challenges and skills shortages faced in Europe.” Solutions to complicated societal challenges require international cooperation to access multiple points of view and benefit from other countries’ experiences.
We will now continue work on the application for European University status with renewed vigour. The application is due in February 2020 so time is short.