Unite! – a future European university
Unite! – University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering - is a network of seven top universities in seven European countries. The aim is to set a new model for a European university through joint educational programmes, virtual and physical mobility, innovative pedagogic methods and harmonized governance models. Since 2021 there is also cooperation within research and innovation.
The process of developing the new university model, that started during autumn 2019, includes activities aimed at students and staff as well as external partners:
- Physical and virtual mobility within Unite! for all students, extending to joint education, summer schools, on-line courses as well as new joint courses comprising a short-term mobility programme.
- Language and culture courses.
For doctoral students
- Jointly developed European doctoral programmes where research connects with learning, innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Mobility within Unite!
- Mobility within Unite! for all staff, including thematic staff weeks.
- Teaching and Learning Academy to help professors and educators develop models for flexible study paths and innovative pedagogies.
For the region
- Access to innovation and entrepreneurship structures in other Unite! university regions and the possibility for regional actors to form new powerful international partnerships.
There are also activities focusing on the development of joint models for governance and management, support services, communication and quality assurance.
European Universities for competitiveness
Unite! Is part of the European Universities initiative and was one of the first 17 networks to receive funding by the European Commission 2019. The initiative targets to create a network of universities across Europe, encouraging the emergence by 2024 of a number of 'European Universities', which will enable students to obtain a degree by combining studies in several EU countries and which contributes to the international competitiveness of European universities.
Following a second call, 24 more networks received funding in July 2020.
The ongoing work within Unite! is a pilot project until 2022. The Unite! alliance is however more than this three year project, with the long-term goals to be reached and evaluated by 2025.
Cooperation in research and innovation
Unite! has also been granted additional funding in July 2020 through EU Horizon 2020. In this project Unite! will develop, in synergy with its educational dimension, an integrated, shared and long-term research and innovation (R&I) strategy. To reach this objective, Unite! will formulate an agenda of R&I shared by all partners, oriented to 2030.
Another objective is advancing, within three years, a series of pilot initiatives in the fields of energy, artificial intelligence and industry 4.0.
The project will also address the development of common policies for human capital, the sharing of research infrastructure, the strengthening of cooperation with non-academic R&I actors, Open Science and the involvement of citizens, civil society and public authorities.
The project is coordinated by the Politecnico di Torino and starts in 2021.
The Unite! members are seven universities from seven different EU countries:
- Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany)
- Aalto University (Finland)
- KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
- Grenoble INP graduate school of engineering and management, University Grenoble Alpes (France)
- Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
- Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) (Spain)
- Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal)
TU Darmstadt is responsible for coordination and administration.
Unite! originates from the CLUSTER network – Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research – and builds on three decades of close and dedicated cooperation on different aspects of higher education, research, innovation and social responsibility between some of the top technical universities in Europe.
Events and individual activities
Management and coordination
Joint overall planning and follow up takes place in the form of large meetings, "dialogue meetings". These are the meetings that have taken place or are planned:
- Kick-off, Darmstadt, 4-6 November 2019
- Dialogue meeting, Espoo (Helsinki), 12-14 February 2020
- Dialogue meeting (online), Lisbon, 29 September-1 October 2020
- Dialogue meeting 2021; Grenoble and Barcelona
- Dialogue meeting 2022: Stockholm and Turin/Darmstadt
Activities for students
- The INSPIRE course at TU Darmstadt, March-July 2020
- Summer school at Aalto: Digital Business Master Class
- Short-term courses on entrepreneurship
- Pilot project for virtual mobility within energy technology under development, master level
Activities for staff
- Boot camp at Aalto 8-11 June 2020 – Educators discussing pedagogic development
- Boot camp at UPC in 2021
- Final joint workshop in Darmstadt in 2022
- Training weeks for administrative staff
Organization and contacts at KTH
Chief responsible at KTH: President Sigbritt Karlsson and Vice president for global relations, Stefan Östlund.
Coordinator locally and within Unite! (Key Liaison Officer, KLO): Mirko Varano, GVS/EDO.
Unite! education (Erasmus+, E+)
Project leader for projects relating to education and studies within Unite! at KTH: Patrik Gärdenäs , GVS/EDO. This project is financed through the EU programme Erasmus+.
The activities within Unite!E+ take place in Task Forces (TF). All universities are represented in all TFs but each has a Task Force Leader (TFL) from one of the universities. Below is a list of all TFs involved in the areas of education and studies with its coordinating university and the names of contact persons from KTH.
- TF 1 – Management (TU Darmstadt)
Mirko Varano GVS/EDO
- TF 2 – Governance and quality assurance (TU Darmstadt)
President Sigbritt Karlsson and Vice President Stefan Östlund
- TF 3 – Support Services (U Lisboa)
Marina Wellén, GVS/EDO
- TF 4 – Virtual Campus (Aalto)
Elizabeth Keller, ITM/Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences
- TF 5 – Teaching and Learning Academy (Aalto)
Arnold Pears, ITM/Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences
- TF 6 – Mobility for all – students (KTH)
Johanna Simonsson, GVS/EDO
- TF 7 – Mobility for all – staff (INP Grenoble)
Jennifer Lindholm, GVS/HR
- TF 8 – PhD as Learning-Research-Innovation Interface– Focus on Energy and AI (PoliTorino)
Rahmatollah Khodabandeh, ITM/EGI
- TF 9 – Regional Involvement and Innovation (UPC)
Liz Adamsson, GVS/CBL
- TF 10 – Sustainability and Dissemination (UPC)
Kjell Carli, GVS/CBL
Unite! research and innovation (Horizon 2020, H2020)
Project leader for the area dealing with research and innovation is Maria Gustafson , GVS/RSO. This project is financed through the EU programme Horizon 2020.
The activities within Unite!H2020 take place in Work Packages (WP). All universities are represented in all WPs but each has a Work Package Leader (WPL) from one of the universities. Below is a list of all WPs with its coordinating university and the names of contact persons from KTH.
- WP1 – Management (PoliTorino)
Maria Gustafson, GVS/RSO
- WP2 – Common research and innovation agenda (PoliTorino)
Jenny Wanselius, GVS/RSO
- WP3 – Sharing infrastructure and resources (INP Grenoble)
Sanna Pehrson, GVS/RSO
- WP4 – Reinforcing academia-business cooperation (UPC)
Siimon Vaske, GVS/KTHI
- WP5 – Strengthening human capital (U Lisboa)
Petra Rosenquist, GVS/HR
- WP6 – Creating a High Impact European Open Science and Innovation University (Aalto)
Pernilla Looman, GVS/KTHB
- WP7 – A Unite! strategy for societal outreach and involvement of citizens in R&I (KTH)
Pia Isabel Schmitt, GVS/EDO
- WP8 – Exploring collaboration potential and joint structures of European university (TU Darmstadt)
Mirko Varano, GVS/EDO
- WP9 – Disseminating and communicating Unite! (UPC)
Kjell Carli, GVS/CBL
The Unite! website