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European Universities Pilot Programme

27 March 2019

At the 2017 Gothenburg Summit, EU leaders outlined a vision for education and culture which included a call for applications to create European Universities: transnational alliances that promote European values and identity and will revolutionise the quality and competitiveness of European higher education. 

The 28 February 2019 deadline saw the application of 54 networks bidding for the European University pilot project, of which 12 will be selected for funding in the amount of €60 million – double the initial budget of  €30 million – will be shared in order to test the concept of these cross-border, multilingual and multi-disciplinary programmes and their transformative potential.

The possibility for a higher arts institution to be part of this pilot is an exciting one, as the aim is to develop deep level integration, possibility involving joint curriculum design, development of complementary research facilities and diverse degree pathways.

ELIA is excited to share about several of our member institutions who submitted an application to the European Universities pilot call:


University of Applied Arts Vienna

ELIA member University of Applied Arts Vienna was the lead institution of the proposal made by UNIQUE (University for New Interdisciplinary Qualification and Education), made to the European Universities, with a consortium of:
  • Five universities: Brno University of Technology (CZ), University of Nicosia (CY), University of Lapland (FI), University of the Peloponnese (GR);
  • Three associated partner institutions: European Forum Alpbach (A), Global Campus of Human Rights (IT), ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (DE); and
  • A number of regional stakeholders.
The proposed project aims at developing and implementing a radically new and innovative European higher education institution, establishing innovative structures on every level of its organization, supporting a strong focus on the development and employment of digital technologies for learning, teaching, and academic communication.

The basic concept of UNIQUE is to provide students with abilities and knowledge to deal with the global challenges of the future. Beside getting education in inter- and cross-disciplinary working, UNIQUE students will also be trained in abilities to identify complex problem fields in all societal areas, as well as to develop and realise solution strategies for such. In addition to the emphasis on integrating new digital technologies, the development and use of creative and artistic strategies is one of UNIQUE’s eight focus points, as there are too: Human Rights and Migration, Economic Equality, Human Labour, Environmental Challenges, Democracy in the Digital Age, and Aging Societies.

Art Academy of Latvia

ELIA member the Art Academy of Latvia cooperated with the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, and Academy of Fine Arts of Rome to submit the project proposal EU4ART to the call for European Universities.

The project contributes to linguistic diversity partly through extending the language of fine arts to additional languages and also through the fact that the vocabulary of fine arts and the related methodology can be extended to the vocabularies of other branches of arts while respecting the national autonomy of art academies and allowing an innovative, efficient clustering of course content that can be easily absorbed into curriculum. Art workshops are the backbone and engine of art study, the bridge from historical knowledge to the present and future. In this way, the network represents a quantum leap for art in higher education in terms of quality, outcomes, appeal and competitiveness.

Already, the arts have an important representation in the calls for the European Universities initiative. The first 12 European Universities will be selected by summer 2019.

University of Tartu

ELIA member, University of Tartu, along with the U4 Network, made up of the University Network of Ghent University (BE), University of Göttingen (DE), University of Groningen (NL), and Uppsala University (SE) submitted an ambitious proposal for involvement in the European Universities pilot, which aims at:
  • implementing inclusive education and mobility ecosystem across the five participating universities, with diverse mobility options and broad Internationalisation;
  • new modes of professional staff development to enhance knowledge and skills for innovation and to exploit the full potential of digital technologies and recognition of societal needs;
  • interaction with society: challenge-based research working groups with academics, students and non-academic regional stakeholders;
  • interconnected campus with new digital solutions for the interconnection of the existing student administration and learning platforms; and student network enhancement.

ELIA wishes all applicants best of luck in the selection process!


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