Ground-breaking plans to develop a new ‘European University’ will be pioneered by Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) thanks to its successful bid to the European Commission.

YUFE is one of just 17 alliances of European universities selected by the European Commission to take part in its programme to create European universities by bringing together institutions from across the continent.

The YUFE alliance, which includes eight leading young universities, presented its ambitious vision to the European Commission earlier this year and has now been given the go ahead to put it into action.

Professor Martin Paul, Chair of the YUFE alliance and President of Maastricht University, which leads the consortium, said: “Our alliance will build the first European University of the future that is open to anyone.

“Our European University will provide students with the skills they need to be highly employable and will offer truly European career paths to all members of society. In doing so, the YUFE European University will strengthen our collective identity and contribute to a more cohesive European society.”

The foundations for this European University will be laid in the next three years.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex Professor Anthony Forster said: “This is fantastic news as it is more important than ever to forge international partnerships with universities which share our mission and values. YUFE will play an important role in transforming the higher education sector in Europe by driving forward innovation, staff and student mobility, and enriching the economic, social and cultural life of our region.

"Establishing one of the first truly European universities will offer students and staff so much more than conventional exchange placements. They will be fully integrated into our institution, can make use of all the services and take advantage of the strong connections between YUFE institutions."

The YUFE vision

Studying throughout Europe

The YUFE European University will enable prospective students to choose from programmes offered at each of the eight YUFE universities. To allow access to all systems and facilities of these universities, the alliance will introduce a YUFE student card, valid at all participating universities. The official language of YUFE study programmes is English, but students who spend a period at a university in another country are encouraged and supported to learn the language of their host country. When they have successfully completed their studies, students receive a European diploma that will be valid anywhere in Europe. The diploma will not only acknowledge students’ academic performance, but also acknowledge their effort in mobility, language learning, professional training, job shadowing and community volunteering.

Feeling at home in the YUFE cities

To guarantee accessibility for as many students as possible, YUFE is preparing to set up a virtual European campus. Part-time students or interested citizens who want to follow a single virtual or physical course can also make use of the YUFE offer. For full-time students studying at one of the partner universities elsewhere in Europe, YUFE will develop housing solutions that facilitate cultural exchange, mutual support and integration with the local community. For example, an option YUFE is considering is furnishing special homes where students can live for free during their stay and in close proximity with local residents. They will be given the opportunity to contribute to the community in their neighbourhood, and to foster a culture of mutual support in all YUFE cities and communities. YUFE students will be immediately immersed in the local and regional society and will thus be the catalyst for further European integration.

Regional focus and impact

The YUFE programme itself pays a lot of attention to the specific regions in which the eight YUFE universities are located. When it comes to internships, for example, every university will work together with local authorities, the business community and other organisations. These collaborations are based on challenges that are of great importance to the YUFE regions.  In Limburg, for example, the region of the coordinating institution Maastricht University, the Brightlands ecosystem will be an excellent setting to implement the joint YUFE approach.  In Cyprus, students will contribute to the development of more efficient public transport in the capital Nicosia. In Essex (UK), YUFE projects will contribute to solving socio-economic disadvantage the eastern region.

Dr Daniela Trani and Jan Hupkens, coordinators of the YUFE-alliance, said: “In this way, YUFE education provides a European mind-set for students, enabling them to view matters from different perspectives and allows the various regions and their residents to benefit from this exchange of knowledge across Europe.”

European integration

Professor Paul said: “The selection of the YUFE proposal represents an important milestone for our alliance and we are keen to contribute to a unique momentum in European higher education.

“With YUFE, UM will, together with its partners, develop a shared vision for European higher education and will contribute to creating a bright future for all European citizens, regions and countries.”

Members

The YUFE alliance is geographically diverse and includes universities, cities and companies.

YUFE full partners are:

  • Maastricht University (coordinator) - Netherlands
  • Carlos III University of Madrid - Spain
  • University of Antwerp - Belgium
  • University of Bremen - Germany
  • University of Cyprus - Cyprus
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • University of Essex - United Kingdom
  • University of Rome Tor Vergata - Italy

YUFE associated partners are:

  • European Entrepreneurs CMA-PME
  • Kiron Open Higher Education
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University of Torún - Poland
  • The Adecco Group France
  • The Educational Testing Service Global
  • The University of Rijeka – Croatia

About The Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) alliance: A major strategic partnership established between eight young research-intensive universities from as many European countries. The YUFE alliance, together with its six associate partners, aims at bringing a radical change in European higher education by establishing itself as the leading model of a young, student-centred, non-elitist, open and inclusive European University. A unique ecosystem linking universities to communities, YUFE will be based on cooperation between higher education institutions, the public and private sector, and citizens across Europe.

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