German Universities Urge European Commission to Expand EUI Funding to Non-EU Partners

Letter signed by 35 German higher education institutions issues recommendations in five areas: diversity, holistic approach, evaluation, communication and sustainability.

Thirty-five institutions of higher education in Germany who participate in the EU’s European University Alliances programme for cross-border institutional collaboration have issued a joint statement on the full roll-out of the European Universities Initiative (EUI).

The statement emphasises the members’ commitment to the principles and values reflected by the EUI and the opportunities the programme offers for long-term partnerships across state-borders. Yet, it also identifies issues with the implementation of the scheme that may hamper the EUI’s ambitious goals. The signees offer recommendations in five thematic areas: diversity, holistic approach, evaluation, communication and sustainability.

Acknowledging the importance of diversity for realising the EUI mission, and safeguarding the highest standard of research, the statement supports the expansion of EUI to also include excellent higher education institutions from countries beyond the Erasmus region, such as Switzerland, Great Britain and Israel.

The signees also advocate that the programme adopt a holistic approach that takes all dimensions of a university into equal account. To this end, the group recommends that funding schemes such as Erasmus+, Horizon Europe and innovation as well as talent and mobility programmes be merged and aligned with one another.

Addressing the topic of sustainability and resources, the document emphasises the need for long-term funding of European University Networks. It recommends the introduction of a new EU programme for institutional support of alliances and suggests that a similar lump sum scheme might be viable for Erasmus+ funding as well.

The statement also recommends the evaluation of European University Alliances to include both quantitative and qualitative criteria and urges the Commission to adopt a ‘a transparent and timely communication on the key evaluation modalities and criteria’ for future Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe calls.

The full statement is available on the website of Humboldt University, Berlin (PDF link).