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EUTOPIA already co-teaching European PhDs as Erasmus+ project commences

  • EUTOPIA academic community was successful in its bid to be part of the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ pilot to develop new model of higher education across the continent
  • PhD and MA students already studying double courses, receiving joint supervision and teaching across UK, France, Belgium, and Spain — with plans to extend further across EUTOPIA network
  • EUTOPIA appoints its first Secretary General, Nikki Muckle
  • The alliance spans six countries and is working to boost mobility of students and staff, by testing new methods of cooperative teaching, learning and working beyond borders

EUTOPIA, a next-generation teaching and research community of six European universities, which was successful in its selection to be part of the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ Programme this year, officially begins its project today, 1st December 2019.

The alliance, which currently spans the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Slovenia, continues to forge a ‘European University’ of the future — a network of campuses working together to develop a new model of internationally connected, inclusive, student-led higher education that has not been seen before.

EUTOPIA is comprised of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, CY Cergy Paris Université, the University of Gothenburg, the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, the University of Warwick, and is led by the University of Ljubljana. It launched its mission in 2019 at the Solvay Library in Brussels.

EUTOPIA partners and students

The partners are dedicated to addressing local and global issues by collaborating not just as six institutions, but also as six European regions with links to businesses and policy makers, delivering research and ideas that will impact the lives of ordinary citizens.

Moreover, EUTOPIA exists to boost the mobility of students, academics, and university staff by testing new methods of cooperative teaching, learning, and working beyond national borders.

Presidents and other key representatives from each partner institution will come together on 2nd December 2019 in Ljubljana, to celebrate successes so far, to mark the start of the project, and to plan more collaborative initiatives.

Co-tutelle scholarships

Already, six PhD candidates have begun studying and receiving joint supervision between the University of Warwick and either Vrije Universiteit Brussel or CY Cergy Paris Université, thanks to the EUTOPIA-funded co-tutelle scholarships.

The scholars began their PhD projects in October 2019, with two more due to start soon, conducting research in fields such as Complexity Science, Reproductive Science, as well as Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

The co-tutelle scholarship programme was made possible thanks to a joint investment of £500,000 from the three institutions currently involved. It is set to be extended across the other EUTOPIA partner institutions, enabling PhD candidates to be co-supervised across the breadth of Europe.

Double Masters Programme

In addition, students have the opportunity to undertake a Double Masters programme in ‘European Integration’, developed between the Institute for European Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Warwick’s Department of Politics and International Studies.

From the next academic year, these Double MA students will study for a year at each institution, with their final project jointly supervised and marked between the two institutions, receiving qualifications from both universities.

For the last five years, there has already existed a similar Double Masters programme in ‘Political Science’ and ‘Political Philosophy’ between the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and the University of Warwick. Other collaborative courses across the network are also under discussion.

EUTOPIA Secretary General appointed

EUTOPIA has recently appointed its first Secretary General, Nikki Muckle. Nikki has worked at the University of Warwick for the past two decades, and has most recently been responsible for leading the University’s European strategy, including building and maintaining institutional links with key partners across the continent — and has been instrumental in establishing the EUTOPIA network.

Momentum has built rapidly since EUTOPIA launched its mission in February 2019. Since then it has been successful in its bid to be included in the pilot for the Erasmus+ European Universities programme, receiving €5m and recognition as a leading alliance of institutions by the European Commission.


Other activities that have taken place in the EUTOPIA partnership include:

  • Extensive mobility of students and staff across the EUTOPIA campuses, wider Europe, and the world, as part of the ERASMUS+ exchange programmes
  • The Universities of Warwick and Gothenberg are both members of the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), an Africa-led initiative that seeks to rebuild and to strengthen the capacity of African universities to produce world-class researchers
  • Students from the EUTOPIA partners spent time this summer at the Barcelona International Summer School (Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona), where they will take courses in Spanish and English
  • Students from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and from Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona participated in the Warwick-run International Conference of Undergraduate Research in September 2019
  • A number of academic mobility schemes, including the Fernandes Fellowships programme (University of Warwick), and the EUTOPIA International Fellowships programme (CY Cergy Paris Université) provide the opportunity for EUTOPIA academics to undertake research visits at partner universities. The EUTOPIA partner institutions are also developing exchange programmes for students and professional administrative staff
  • Numerous research workshops continue to take place across the EUTOPIA partner institutions, including one that was hosted by University of Ljubljana in the area of Computer and Data Science, and an upcoming workshop between the University of Gothenberg and Warwick. Further collaborations continue in the areas of Complexity Science, Theoretical Physics, Political and Social Sciences, and Arts and Cultural Heritage

Professor Stuart Croft, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said:

“EUTOPIA exists to build bridges throughout Europe. Our network of campuses is collaborating on research to benefit citizens across the continent, and is developing a new form of open, connected higher education that enables greater mobility for students, academics, and staff.

“As we officially begin the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ project today, we have already taken bold steps in creating our European academic community, with students and staff learning, working, and sharing ideas in multiple countries right now.

“Warwick is a proudly international institution, with Europe-wide teaching and research collaboration in our DNA. I look forward to the opportunities still to come — for the University and for our region — from the further strengthening of our EUTOPIA partnership.”

Caroline Pauwels, Rector of Vrije Universteit Brussel, said:

“I’m proud that the Vrije Universteit Brussel, with five other ambitious European universities in the EUTOPIA alliance, has been chosen by the European Commission as one of the pilot projects for developing a ‘European university’.

“Our shared aim is to create a common European learning and knowledge community that will transform our universities into living labs for education, research and innovation.

“Through open science and open education, with EUTOPIA we are creating a shared ‘multiversity’ with a strong multilingual, multidisciplinary and multicultural research and education agenda.”

Eva Wiberg, Vice Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg commented:

“EUTOPIA brings great opportunities to develop internationalisation, and to fulfil the vision that students, scholars and other employees can move freely between the alliance’s universities.

“I’m delighted that the collaboration now officially has begun. At the University of Gothenburg, we see a great interest in, and commitment to, our participation.

“We have made careful preparations for the outset, both within the alliance and at the University of Gothenburg, and we are eager to move forward.”

Igor Papič, Rector of the University of Ljubljana, said:

“I am very pleased that we are today officially launching the EUTOPIA University Alliance. This is certainly a turning point in our understanding of the significance of cooperation between universities in Europe in the decades to come.

“In addition to the focus on students and Society 2050, the balanced development of European regions is of utmost importance to us. It is an excellent opportunity for the University of Ljubljana to formulate a new development strategy together with its partners, the five selected universities.”


Jaume Casals, Rector of the Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, said:

“EUTOPIA is the dream of some of the best European universities immersed in rigid regulatory environments which limit our decision-making capacity, for instance, in our teaching staff policies or the design of our courses. The dream and perhaps the salvation.

“If Europe helps us, we will make history from our intrinsic quality and we will show that Europe is an inexhaustible source of science, culture and respect for humanity and the planet.”

François Germinet, Président CY Cergy Paris Université commented:

“EUTOPIA 2050 is the place where we will test innovative methods of collaboration, going beyond existing models to progressively increase the quality and attractiveness of European higher education. Through training and research this project is accelerating the transformation process already underway in our six institutions. As so, EUTOPIA is not the European part of our international relations. It represents the European scale of our answers to the societal challenges of the new century."

Note to editors:

Image 1: EUTOPIA presidents with students from each institution in Brussels, 2019

(top row left to right) - Caroline Pauwels, Rector of Vrije Universteit Brussel; Igor Papic, Rector of the University of Ljubljana; Eva Wiberg, Vice Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg; Francois Germinet, Président CY Cergy Paris Université; Isabel Valverde, Vice Rector International, Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona; Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick

(bottom row left to right) - Otto Cartrysse, Vrije Universteit Brussel; Laura Koudela, University of Ljubljana; Sara Gabrielsen, University of Gothenburg; Louis L'Haridon, CY Cergy Paris Université; Ferran Piqué, University of Gothenburg; Liam Jackson, University of Warwick

High res copy here:

Image 2: EUTOPIA logo

High res copy here:

More about EUTOPIA here:

EU logo

This project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

1 December 2019

For further information, contact:

Luke Walton

International Press Manager

+44 (0) 7823 362 150