ENHANCE is an alliance consisting of seven technical universities with a strong focus on innovation and research. Coordinated by Technische Universität Berlin, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), RWTH Aachen (Germany), Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain) and Warsaw University of Technology (Poland) have formed an alliance to lay the foundation for a European University.
A total of 245,000 students study at the seven partner universities. Of the nearly 45,000 total staff, 24,000 work in academic and research areas. Over 4,400 students and staff have already taken part in exchange programs between the partner universities in the last five years.
Through close cooperation, ENHANCE aims to develop new innovative concepts to responsibly address the challenges of tomorrow and sustainably advance digital and social transformation. The aim of the initiative is to enable unrestricted mobility of students, researchers and staff and to strengthen close networking with society at all levels. Digital infrastructures will enable automatic credit transfer and strengthen networking between European universities.
All partner universities in the ENHANCE Alliance regard themselves as technical universities with a great social responsibility. They have been working together successfully in various formats prior to the creation of ENHANCE and now intend to intensify this cooperation.
Politecnico di Milano (PoliMi), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) are three long-standing strategic partners of TU Berlin. Together with NTNU and WUT, TU Berlin offers double degree programs in computer science and engineering.
PoliMi, Chalmers and RWTH have already been cooperating in the IDEA League for several years. RWTH is an important partner for TU Berlin in the Germany-wide TU9 network. Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), one of the most attractive target universities in the ERASMUS program, is also represented in the ENHANCE Alliance. For many students of TU Berlin, UPV is a university of choice for a stay abroad.
TU Berlin and PoliMi already work together in the Alliance4Tech network to facilitate the organization of such an exchange and the subsequent recognition of academic achievements in the future.ENHANCE thus benefits from the diverse experience and trust of its partners and unites old and new acquaintances for a common, ambitious goal.
ENHANCE is supported by 30 associated partners from across Europe.
The European Universities Initiative developed out of a highly regarded speech given by the French president Emmanuel Macron at Sorbonne University in Paris in 2017. In its conclusions of December 2017, the European Council then called on Member States, the Council and the Commission to establish a number of initiatives, including:
“… strengthening strategic partnerships across the EU between higher education institutions and encouraging the emergence by 2024 of some twenty 'European Universities', consisting in bottom-up networks of universities across the EU which will enable students to obtain a degree by combining studies in several EU countries and contribute to the international competitiveness of European universities”.
The answer to this is the European Universities Initiative, developed together with higher education institutions, student organizations, Member States and the Commission. It is now one of the EU's flagship initiatives in its efforts to build a European Education Area.
In its coalition agreement, the state of Berlin also emphasizes its intention to further strengthen the cooperation of Berlin's universities with international partners and to develop Berlin "into one of the most important business and technology hubs in Europe."
ENHANCE, supported in its vision of a European university by local and European policy, intends to contribute to the further growing together of Europe.
At university level ENHANCE reflects the goals and measures derived from TU Berlin's International Strategy. ENHANCE initiates processes across TU Berlin to facilitate international exchange, including outside of the alliance, and aims to further sensitize and activate existing structures for internationalization. Existing cooperation with strategic partners in Europe will be intensified and new contacts established. This also increases the visibility of TU Berlin in European competition.
A declared goal of ENHANCE is to further increase student mobility and to make TU Berlin more attractive for foreign students. This includes a commitment to multilingualism at the university in research, teaching and administration; new forms of mobility and learning; and responsibility for a diverse university with equal opportunities.
Within the framework of Erasmus+, a pilot program to promote European university networks was launched by the EU Commission. In the second round of calls for proposals, the ENHANCE Alliance received funding of 5 million euros, initially for a period of 3 years. The alliance began its work in November 2020. First generation alliances are applying for follow-up funding in early 2022. It is expected that a similar call for second generation alliances, like ENHANCE, will be opened. ENHANCE intends to apply for such potential follow-up funding.
In addition to the EU initiative, the DAAD supports German universities in the alliance with implementing the planned measures through a national accompanying program.
Furthermore, ENHANCE receives additional funding from Horizon 2020 for its ENHANCERIA project focused on supporting research.
The funds will be used primarily to create structures for implementing the planned activities and to increase mobility and cooperation between the partner universities.
The governance structures in ENHANCE are designed to be participatory and include all status groups: students, administrative staff, junior scholars and professors. This encourages extensive participation, commitment and identification with ENHANCE. Decision-making processes are democratic and characterized by openness and mutual respect.