The UPC selected by the European Commission to build the new European university UNITE!

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The partners of the UNITE! consortium, gathered at the Politecnico di Torino

The University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering - UNITE! is now a fact. The new technological university campus promoted by the European Commission with the participation of the UPC, the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, the Grenoble Institute of Technology, the Politecnico di Torino, TU Darmstadt, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and Aalto University is an alliance that aims to create a common space for multidisciplinary training, cooperation in teaching and research, and knowledge transfer between regions.

Jul 25, 2019

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) is one of the institutions of higher education that has been selected to be among the first “European universities” promoted by the European Commission within the European Universities Initiative, a strategic commitment to enhance the quality and attractiveness of European higher education and boost cooperation between institutions, their students and staff.

In particular, the UPC is participating as a partner in the University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering - UNITE! along with six other prestigious European universities: the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon (Portugal), the Grenoble Institute of Technology (France), the Politecnico di Torino (Italy), the Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany), the Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) and Aalto University (Finland).

UNITE! aims to become a benchmark technology university that promotes teaching quality, the cooperation of the scientific community in teaching and research, and knowledge transfer between regions. This alliance aims to produce highly qualified European professionals who can face labour market challenges in the scientific and technological sectors by providing them with excellent multidisciplinary training. Therefore, the participating institutions will promote student mobility between them, so that students may build up their own CV by studying at several universities. The institutions will set up a “teaching academy” to train teachers in order to guarantee teaching quality, and they will join their efforts to support innovation and promote knowledge transfer between institutions and companies in their regions. To achieve this, the network will receive five million euros in funding over the next three years.

Overall, the seven partners have 167,000 students and produce 36,700 graduates every year. They work closely in more than 80 EU projects and have exchanged more than 2,000 students over the last five years. All of them are members of the CLUSTER (Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research) network, which is made up of 12 leading technology universities.

The rector of the UPC, Francesc Torres, said: “We are very pleased to have received this recognition from the European Commission to create UNITE! along with other prestigious European technology universities. It will be a great opportunity to create a pan-European technology university in order to train multidisciplinary professionals who embrace the values of European culture, as well as to attract talent, share research infrastructure and encourage student and staff mobility. It is also a challenge for the UPC, which will have to act as a role model in driving regional development and involving all the partners in the initiative”.

A new European education area by 2025
UNITE! is one of 17 networks comprising an average of seven higher education institutions that are participating in the pilot call for this “strategy for European excellence”, which envisages creating a European education area by 2025 with the participation of 20 trans-European universities. The selection of universities includes a wide range of higher education institutions from across the EU. While some networks are comprehensive and cover all disciplines, others are focusing, for example, on urban coastal sustainability, social sciences or global health.

European universities will become interuniversity campuses around which students, doctoral candidates, teaching and research staff and administrative and service staff can move seamlessly. They will pool their expertise, platforms and resources to deliver joint curricula or modules that cover various disciplines. These curricula will be very flexible and will allow students to personalise their education, choosing what, where and when to study and get a European degree. European universities will also contribute to the sustainable economic development of the regions where they are located, as their students will work closely with companies, municipal authorities and teaching and research staff to find solutions to the challenges that their regions are facing.

In total, a budget of up to €85 million is available for the first 17 “European Universities”. This first call, together with a second one to be launched this autumn, will test different models to implement the new concept of European universities and its potential to boost higher education. For the next long-term EU budget running from 2021 to 2027, the Commission proposed to fully roll out European Universities under Erasmus+.