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EUTOPIA Week 22-26 November 2021

A delegation from Warwick, led by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft, attended the first in-person ‘EUTOPIA week’ since Covid, hosted by Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Professor Seán Hand, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Europe), describes the Alliance and the opportunities it offers Warwick staff and students.

EUTOPIA, an alliance of ten universities co-founded by the University of Warwick in 2019, has been funded by the European Commission to test the model for a ‘European University’: a connected and inclusive community of students and staff delivering open, innovative higher education and conducting world-leading research.

What are EUTOPIA Weeks?

EUTOPIA weeks act as a showcase for the work of the alliance as well as offering an opportunity to discuss important issues regarding policy and practice. They provide a forum in which staff and students from the EUTOPIA partners can share their experiences and expertise and engage with policymakers, local communities, and each other. Highlights of the most recent EUTOPIA week included the introduction of a tenth partner, Babeș-Bolyai University, the signing of a multilateral agreement to facilitate greater levels of student mobility between partners, and the identification of 12 new Learning Communities to provide even

Eutopia leaders

more opportunities for collaboration between our universities.

It was wonderful to see the members of EUTOPIA – old and new – meeting in person, many for the first time, and all the more so as this took place in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Our colleagues at Pompeu Fabra University rose to the enormous challenge of welcoming both physical and online attendees, and the result was our most productive and enjoyable EUTOPIA Week yet.

Staff from across the academy and Professional Services participated in a series of meetings in support of EUTOPIA’s mission in several areas including Education, Innovation and Inclusion. Cross-institutional working groups met to share best practice and discuss areas of common interest, including at a Warwick-led session that explored how universities monitor their contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Launch of Eutopia Student Think Thank

Thanks to the workshops and networking opportunities afforded by this event, we were able to make significant progress across our portfolio of funded projects, as well as launching some new initiatives. The most exciting of these is the EUTOPIA Student Think Tank, which we are proud to say was developed and initiated entirely by students. The Think Tank promises to be an invaluable hub for integrating student-led activities, and for involving a more diverse range of students in those activities.

EUTOPIA Young Leaders

A kick-off event launched the EUTOPIA Young Leaders Academy, which will provide 19 Early Career Researchers from across the alliance with support, including a leadership training programme and a dedicated mobility budget, to initiate research collaborations and to act as ambassadors for the network.

EUTOPIA PhDs and Postdocs

EUTOPIA Week concluded a busy term for the alliance. We have welcomed our first cohort of Post-doctoral Science and Innovation Fellows (SIF) and a third intake of co-tutelle PhD scholars, greatly enriching the community of early-career researchers here at Warwick. In the first two years of this project we have seen many such opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation come to fruition, in the contexts of both education and research. Warwick is privileged to play a leading role in this truly innovative endeavour, which will help shape the future of Higher Education in Europe. A call for the second cohort of SIF fellows is open now, and we will launch a new call for co-tutelle PhD scholarships in the new year.

The universities of EUTOPIA

Initially formed in 2019 by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), CY Cergy Paris Université (France), Göteborgs Universitet (Sweden), Univerza v Ljubljani (Slovenia), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), and University of Warwick (United Kingdom), EUTOPIA has recently expanded its membership to include Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy), Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), NOVA University Lisbon (Portugal), and Babeș-Bolyai University (Romania).

Professor Seán Hand

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Europe)