The European Commission organized an event on the European Universities Initiative at SQUARE – Brussels Convention Centre on 7 November 2019 and invited me for the Panel discussion on the transformative role of the European Universities Initiative
Where do you see the main challenges to make the European Universities a reality? Name the two most important ones.
The first challenge is that we need comprehensive, complete European Universities with teaching, research and with strong third Mission activities.
The great initiative that now brought us together today covers the area of higher education. But European Universities also need access to research funding for real european collaborative, interdisciplinary research.
For visionary European future technologies, there is the outstanding FET Future Emerging Technologies programme. For the European universities, we need similar synergies between higher education and research. We need approaches in Horizon Europe and beyond that enable collaborative interdisciplinary research and research-integrated teaching at European universities. We need not only to open up promising avenues towards powerful new technologies in Europe- we need to open promising avenues towards innovative european societies of the future. Through a strong knowledge triangle research, linking research, education and innovation through European universities. Then, these universities can become key actors of a knowledge-based society.
The second key challenge is to make European universities truly societal innovation hubs in Europe. For this we need the Third Mission, we need transdisciplinary teaching and research. So far, the Third Mission has focused mainly on cooperation between universities and companies. With the digital transformation ahead and wie the climate crisis we face, we need a triangle of universities, business and society. Only then can the high goals set by the Arqus Alliance and the other alliances be achieved: Making European universities central institutions for the further creation of a knowledge-based, multicultural, multilingual and inclusive Europe that is open to the world.Petra Schaper Rinkel