"The European University EUniWell, of which we are a part, has now been running for two of the three years of the pilot project. It was therefore time to submit a new application for funding for another four years to the European Commission", says Ann-Charlotte Larsson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation.
The European Commission provides funding for the European Universities, and if renewed, will give a maximum of €14.4 million to an alliance of nine partner universities from EU countries. Together with the universities joint co-funding, the total budget in the application is €18 million.
"Since our partner University of Birmingham from the UK is no longer in an EU country and the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, chose to switch to another alliance, EUniWell has invited new partners into the collaboration. For example, the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) was officially added yesterday."
Last year, the Spanish university of Murcia and the German university of Konstanz joined. In addition, the French university Inalco from Paris is joining the alliance. Together with the Ukrainian university of Kiev, this brings the total number of universities in the EUniWell partnership to eleven.
The new application will allow the partner universities to further develop both education and research cooperation with better sustainability and greater funding.
"The vision and ambition of EUniWell is to create a stronger and broader collaboration so that we can pursue well-being issues on a wide range of levels", explains Ann-Charlotte. For example, we will develop cooperation in our four areas of Health, Democracy and Gender Equality, Sustainability and Teacher Education, and we will also add the area of Culture and Languages.
The new application also includes work packages focusing on support structures such as Mobility, Learning, IT Structures, Interaction with Society and Research and Innovation.
"It is very similar to a university with five faculties and support structures. The new application is more flexible, as it is difficult to look four years into the future."
When will we know if there will be an extension or not?
"We hope that the EU will decide in July, and that we can start work in January 2024", concludes Ann-Charlotte Larsson.
EU is working on a higher education strategy in which European Universities will be at the forefront. They are aiming for a total of 60 European University Alliances across the EU, and EUniWell is one of them.