Europe´s universities aim to be centers of outstanding research and innovation in teaching. Flexible options for study and research and a reduction in bureaucracy are to be introduced to make it easier for students, doctoral candidates, researchers and members of staff to pursue their individual professional and educational goals.
As an active shaper of European education, Technische Universität Berlin is participating with six partner universities in the second call of the European Commission´s European Universities Initiative.
As coordinating university, Technische Universität Berlin submitted the proposal of the Enhance – European Universities of Technology Alliance on 26 February 2020. The other six members of the alliance are: Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain), and Warsaw University of Technology (Poland).
The successful alliances are to act as role models for the European universities of the future. A special funding program will be provided for this by the Erasmus program.
The partner universities of the ENHANCE alliance are pursuing a vision to “...drive responsible societal transformation by enhancing a strong alliance of European Universities of Technology, empowering people to develop and use science and technology responsibly and turn global challenges into opportunities”. By doing so, they aim to lay the foundations over the three-year funding period for the unrestricted mobility of students, researchers and staff among the universities.
The measures to achieve this include a database for the accreditation of programs and a mapping of degrees to allow students to select the programs of their choice within the entire alliance while ensuring that they receive accreditation for their studies. The instruments being developed will be first tested in selected bachelor´s and master´s programs. New teaching and educational formats will also enable all enrolled students to benefit in the long term from ENHANCE´s international offers. For example, it will be possible for them to participate online in courses at partner universities, as well as projects, workshops and summer schools.
The aim is to build up value-based teaching programs working with key representatives from society to foster critical thinking and teaching regarding how technology can be used to benefit society. The ENHANCE alliance of technical universities places a further focus on sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. In a first step, joint research is to be conducted to ascertain the assistance startups need to pursue the goals of economic and ecological sustainability in their work.
“After working on a very constructive proposal, we are now eagerly awaiting the results. We are expecting to hear at the end of June or start of July 2020,” says Professor Dr. Angela Ittel, vice president for strategic development, junior scholars and teacher education at Technische Universität Berlin. “Together, we have set ourselves ambitious goals, and I am convinced that the European University Initiative will inspire us to achieve new levels of cooperation with our partners. We are already working more closely than ever before.”
The concept of a European university involving the member states, university institutions and student organizations developed out of a much publicized speech given by French head of state, President Emmanuel Macron, to Sorbonne University in Paris. As many as 54 alliances involving over 300 universities from 28 EU member states took part in the initial call in 2019. A total budget of 85 million euros was made available for the 17 alliances submitting the best proposals. German universities feature very strongly, with representation in 14 of the 17 alliances.