An alliance including TU Dublin has been chosen as one of the 24 winners of the second call for proposals in an EU initiative to create European universities of the future.
As part of the eight-member European University of Technology Alliance, Ireland’s first technological university is looking to create a new single entity that would span the continent, with each of the existing universities acting as regional hubs.

The consortium includes universities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Latvia, Romania and Spain. TU Dublin would become the Dublin campus of the group, with its 28,000 students being part of a larger university group of 100,000 students.

The alliance has set itself the goal of working towards a single European diploma and degree system with staff integrated across alliance member universities.

This comes after a memorandum of understanding to create a European University of Technology was signed in February by the presidents and rectors of the alliance.

Towards a European Education Area

The European Commission announcement last month saw 24 European Universities join the initial cohort of 17 alliances selected in 2019.

“With 41 European Universities, involving 280 institutions and backed up by €287m from the EU budget, the European Education Area becomes a tangible reality for many,” said Margaritis Schinas, European Commissioner for promoting the European way of life.

Commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth Mariya Gabriel echoed that these European Universities are “a key building block for the European Education Area” and highlighted that “the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that deeper cooperation across borders, disciplines and cultures is the only way to recover from the crisis and to build resilience”.

In fact, according to a European Commission survey of the existing 17 European Universities, 96pc of the institutions think they would have been better prepared to face the coronavirus pandemic if their European University had already been fully operational, and more than 60pc of them consider being part of a European University has already been helpful in addressing the crisis.

‘Impactful, multidisciplinary research’

This successful bid for European University of Technology will support the alliance in establishing a collaborative model aiming to revolutionise the quality and competitiveness of technologically focused higher education in Europe.

In June, the eight institutions finalised the creation of a student card for each campus which would be introduced at the beginning of the academic year in September 2020.

With this card, students can access courses and course materials online, access services offered by the host university (such as accommodation and libraries) and avail of discounts on cultural activities or public transport.

“As a member of the [alliance], TU Dublin is keen to create a new EU-wide model of education, which equips students with the knowledge and skills required to secure Europe’s global competitiveness and to play an active, responsible role in society,” said TU Dublin’s president, Prof David FitzPatrick.

“Today’s announcement will also see our researchers collaborate with colleagues across the [alliance] to develop impactful, multidisciplinary research delivering creative, tangible solutions for the real world.”
All 41 European University alliances will continue to test different models of the concept of European Universities and examine its potential to transform higher education.

Colm Gorey and Elaine Burke

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