The European Commission will support the implementation of Arqus’ strategic path towards a truly European University. Following the launch of a renewed Arqus Mission Statement for the next 10 years, Arqus submitted last March a proposal for receiving support from the Erasmus Plus Programme for its 2022-2026 Work Plan. Today, the European Commission has announced the results of the competitive call, where Arqus has been successfully selected.
The Arqus European University Alliance is thrilled to announce that the European Commission has approved the Arqus proposal for the upcoming 4 years Work Plan of the Alliance, supporting it with the maximum budget of €14.4 million. The Arqus Alliance is one of the 16 alliances that have been selected in this competitive call to support the roll-out of the first European Universities launched in 2019. In addition, 4 new alliances will be financed and will join the already existing alliances selected under the flagship initiative of European Universities of the European Commission.
The 2022-26 Work Plan that Arqus proposed under this call is the continuation of the Arqus European University Alliance initiated in 2019. Arqus is composed of the universities of Granada, Graz, Leipzig, Lyon1, Minho, Padua, Vilnius and Wrocław. Its vision for 2032 is that of a forward-looking, open, integrated, and research-driven European University, building transformative excellence with and for all.
The Arqus proposal for its second phase has received a very positive evaluation by the European Commission which highlights that this new phase clearly builds up from the outcomes and institutional cooperation achieved through a long-standing partnership and during the initial pilot phase. Moreover, the evaluator pointed out that the foreseen new initiatives are credible and create real opportunities for further intensification of the cooperation between partners for the benefit of its students, academics and professional staff. Furthermore, the evaluation emphasises that the objectives and actions are very relevant and identify well the “main problems in European higher education and important societal challenges”.
There are two main focuses in the 2022-2026 Work Plan selected for support from the European Commission through its Erasmus Plus Programme: to upscale and institutionalize the pilot actions implemented in Arqus during its initial three years (such as the free mobility of staff and students among all universities of the Alliance, joint educational and staff-development offer or sharing resources); and to develop new innovative actions towards its roll-out as a fully-fledged European University.
During the next 4 years, Arqus will deepen its focus on communities, promoting student and staff engagement through three separate initiatives:
- The Arqus Living Lab, that will act as a generator of innovative responses to three major and interconnected thematic priorities for the XXIst century: Climate Change & Sustainable Development; Artificial Intelligence & Digital Transformation; European Identity & Heritage.
- The Arqus Communities of Practice will address domain-based challenges for professional and academic staff.
- The Arqus Student Agora will constitute a dynamic framework for student-led co-creation initiatives.
Arqus aims to advance in joint flexible learning pathways, in innovative teaching, in enhancing the experience of early-stage researchers, and in synergies with its local ecosystems. It will promote three cross-cutting enablers: traditional and innovative forms of mobility for all; inclusion and diversity; plurilingual and intercultural competence for democratic culture.
In order to fulfil these tasks, Arqus will develop a common digital environment for its collaborative work, as a joint virtual learning and teaching platform, digital tools for federated digital identity and secure certification.
Another key feature of this new phase is the set up of a Talent & Innovation Fund to attract excellent students (with a special focus on those from vulnerable backgrounds, including those affected by the war in Ukraine), to offer seed funding for small-scale bottom-up initiatives, and to test new forms of mobility. Finally, Arqus will establish a development unit to facilitate data and evidence-based analysis for the strategic planning of the future of the Alliance itself and of the European Universities Initiative in general.