UP plans international alliance with four universities

Palacký University Olomouc. Illustrational photo: Milada Hronová
Wednesday 27 March 2019, 15:40 – Text: Tomáš Franta

A healthy, competitive, and sustainable Europe. This is the theme and objective defined for the following years by an international team of universities within a joint research and sharing of expertise and experts project. “The University Coalition” was formed by Palacký University Olomouc, the University of Maribor, Slovenia, the University of Rouen, France, Rovira i Virgili University, Spain, and the University of Ferrara, Italy.

The plan of collaboration among the five universities was created on the basis of the call by the European Commission called European Universities 2019. This vision now waits for the approval by the EC. The five universities chose the priority of their collaboration to be the increasingly pressing issue of a healthy lifestyle. Health and well-being have become the pivotal theme of many expert and public debates. It has been proclaimed the key theme for the year 2020 by both the EU and the WHO.

“More than 25 percent of European population is insufficiently active, thus exposing themselves to health risks. Despite the growing numbers of this ticking time bomb, expenditures and campaigns for prevention and promotion of health are a minority issue in all European countries. This has motivated us to become fully engaged in this issue,” explained Martin Kudláček, Vice-Rector for International Relations.

In addition to health, the key activities include also the theme of sustainable development, collaboration in innovative education, and closer integration of all universities in research, including the establishment of joint expert commissions and boards. “The aim of the call is to give rise to a new generation of collaborations among European universities,” noted Kudláček.

The activities of this university alliance will be limited to laboratories and the academic environment. The universities intend to fulfil the “third mission” of universities and promote the awareness of a healthy lifestyle and sustainable development also in the public space. Their innovative scientific methods and applied research results will be shared with industries and relevant organisations in order to broaden the extent of planned activities. Their impact may have positive results in many areas of individual EU states.

“Thanks to our modern educational approaches, we have the increasing potential to prepare a future generation which will initiate a change in the thinking of the society concerning health and sustainable development,” said Kudláček. “We believe that a long-term vision in this area is in the interest of systemic improvement and overall financial effectivity of Europe… and more,” he added.

The call European Universities 2019 consists of the development of a functional network of European universities. According to the call, at least three universities from various EU countries should agree on creating an infrastructure that would strengthen the collaboration between the individual institutions of the university alliance. Such integration should allow students of all three degrees of university education, as well as academics, closer and easier contact with diverse academic environments. At the same time, it should improve excellence and increase the competitiveness of European universities. The European Commission will select six alliances out of the submitted proposals to support them in total with € 30 million.


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