University of Turku has received the status of a European University together with a transnational alliance of higher education institutions
The European Commission approved a total of 24 new members to join the alliance of European Universities. The University of Turku is part of the European Campus of City-Universities, EC2U university alliance, which aims to promote cooperation between the alliance’s universities and cities.
The European universities are alliances of several universities forming virtual inter-university campuses. In 2017, the European Council set a target of creating at least 20 European universities by 2024.
The first 17 European universities were selected through applications for a pilot scheme in 2019, and on Thursday 9 July 2020, 24 new alliances were announced from the second round of applications. One of the new European universities is the European Campus of City Universities (EC2U) alliance formed by seven universities, of which the University of Turku is a member.
Jukka Kola, Rector of the University of Turku, thanked the university’s working group under the leadership of Professor Riitta Pyykkö, for preparing an effective application.
– Cooperation between the universities has been successful. The funding of European cooperation is also excellent for our new strategy, in which internationality plays an important role.
The common objective of the university alliances is to highlight common European values and thus strengthen civil society and a common Europe. Each alliance will receive a maximum of 5 million in funding under the Erasmus + and 2 million funding under the Horizon2020 programmes.
EC2U looks for new forms of collaboration
The EC2U alliance was established in 2017. In addition to Turku, the following universities are part of the alliance: Coimbra (Portugal), Alexandru Ioan Cuza (Iasi, Romania), Friedrich Schiller University (Jena, Germany), Pavia (Italy), Salamanca (Spain) and Poitiers (France, coordinating university). It comprises a total of some 160,000 students and 20,000 staff.
The fact that the Universities were active members of the Coimbra university network over a long period contributed to the formation of the alliance.
In accordance with its name, the European Campus of City Universities promotes cooperation between the cities and the universities. The objective of the network is to create innovative forms of collaboration and free modes of movement between the seven universities and cities - including virtually. Joint master's programmes will be developed as a one instrument for collaboration.
Thematically, the network is linked to three of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages (3), Guaranteeing open, equal and quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all (4) Guaranteeing safe and sustainable cities and communities (11).
Each university in the alliance has its own area of responsibility. The University of Turku’s objective is to develop learning environments and to plan events focusing on science and culture that promote sustainable development goals. In these events, the aim is to utilise the Science Battle concept, for example. In addition, the My mobile tutor application, developed by students at the University of Turku, will be distributed to all seven universities.
According to Piia Björn, Vice Rector responsible for education at the University of Turku, the application is a great example of the expertise that the University of Turku brings to the EC2U. Professor Björn is excited about the new status as a European University.
– Access to funding opens many new avenues for educational collaboration.