As the world grows closer, working together to address global issues, such as climate change, and growing an international network, is becoming more important.
The Johannes Kepler University Linz joined the EU-funded alliance, "European Campus of City-Universities" (EC2U), on November 1, 2023, in an effort to support and accomplish these objectives.
This involves much more than just academic partnerships; the Alliance’s ambition is to develop an innovative space allowing seamless mobility between the universities and associated cities, providing an opportunity for the universities to grow closer by working together. JKU Rector Stefan Koch remarked: "Ultimately, it's about promoting and strengthening our shared European values. Future generations can become more enthusiastic about the EU and its values, such as freedom and democracy, so they can ultimately and actively take part in the European political and social process."
The JKU Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs, Alberta Bonanni, is also delighted that the JKU has joined the Alliance: "There is nothing more important for researchers than the opportunity to share ideas with other scientists and scholars. Close partnerships between the participating universities mean that we can incorporate many different ideas and perspectives into research projects and everyone can benefit."
The significance of these types of initiatives are not to be understated and becoming part of a "European Universities" alliance is even stipulated in the performance agreement, i.e. the agreement between the Austrian federal government and the university regarding the university’s financing. The alliance further supports and encourages student mobility in particular, thereby facilitating enables new opportunities and cross-linked communication between intercultural aspects in university education.
Growing Cohesion in Europe
The EC2U is a multinational and intercultural university alliance consisting of eight universities based in different European countries. Dr. Manfred Heublein, the JKU’s partnership coordinator and manager, remarked: "It's all about sharing expertise and bringing people together on a more in-depth level." In addition to more mobility opportunities for researchers and students, there are also plans for joint Master's degree programs, events, and establishing virtual institutes, as well as creating interdisciplinary joint Master's degree programs. "This will involve very hands-on, real-world practices to incorporate international aspects, perspectives, and approaches into the research and education at all of the participating universities."
Each university will also set priorities in this regard. As part of the EC2U work package "Lifelong Learning" coordinated by the JKU, for example, the JKU is working on a course catalog covering labor market qualifications and lifelong learning. At the same time, the home cities and regions - the city of Linz and Upper Austria in the JKU's case - are also involved, aiming to engage in a permanent exchange. The university hospitals are also associated Alliance partners, and will be involved in partnership efforts and sharing expertise.
Linz Mayor Klaus Luger added: "The alliance is an important milestone for our city and our university, promoting international exchange in research. I had the opportunity to experience this for myself at the conference in Poitiers. This will make it easier to create innovative solutions to address global challenges across national borders. The Alliance will positively impact our city and region."
Markus Achleitner, Minister for Economic Affairs and Research, points out: "Internationalization is key to Upper Austria's success as a business location. This not only applies to Upper Austrian companies in the country’s top export state, but also to research and science as the Johannes Kepler University benefits from partnerships with the other participating universities. This, in turn, benefits for local companies and ultimately the entire region."
The JKU is now part of a strong network of over160,000 students and 20,000 employees in cities with a population of approximately 1,600,000, forming an alliance to support a strong, liberal and inclusive community within the European Union.
Universities and Cities in the EC2U Alliance:
University of Coimbra (Portugal)
University of Iasi (Romania)
University of Jena (Germany)
University of Pavia (Italy)
University of Poitiers (France)
University of Salamanca (Spain)
University of Turku (Finland)
Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria)
Learn more about the EC2U: https://ec2u.eu/, opens an external URL in a new window
Dr. Manfred Heublein
Research Services and Knowledge Transfer
Ph.: 0732 2468 3439