With 10 alliance partners, an expanded, renewed commitment to the university of the future, and a detailed roadmap till 2024, the European University of Cities in Post-Industrial Transition (UNIC) kickstarts its second phase with a signing in Zagreb.
27 January, 2023: The rectors of ten universities across the European continent gathered in Zagreb today to sign the expanded, ambitious new Joint Mission Statement for UNIC, now the European University of Cities in Post-Industrial Transition. This “2.0” vision offers a detailed roadmap for the alliance – expanded to ten universities from the founding eight - to deepen its commitments and values, continuing a journey started in 2020 after securing a grant via the European Commission’s Erasmus+ European Universities Call.
The new mission statement, which offers a detailed roadmap of activities and initiatives till 2024, will involve a rich diversity of events and new offerings for students, researchers, and citizens across Europe: enhanced mobility through hybrid campuses and course offerings, PhD and other research programmes, micro-credentials, seminars and roundtables, and an intensified focus on the Alliance’s flagship “CityLabs”, which create opportunities for knowledge exchange between universities and the cities they’re embedded in.
Engaging with Europe’s Superdiverse Future
UNIC’s initiatives benefit nearly 20 million citizens, students, staff, and researchers in post-industrial cities across Europe. Collectively, the next phase of this alliance aims to further boost development of knowledge and co-creation through collaboration, innovation and inclusion for societal impact and improvement. Building on the foundations established in the last 3 years, the “2.0” Mission Statement and tweak in the Alliance’s name highlight’s UNIC’s renewed objectives in the coming years: unlocking models of inter-institutional learning, teaching, and research that are profoundly engaged with diverse post-industrial urban ecosystems.
“We are ten universities from ten very different parts of Europe; but connected by our histories, our present and our future,” said Prof. Dr. Ed Brinksma, President of Erasmus University Rotterdam. “Since 2020, our unique identity has already provided a solid foundation for our joint European Alliance to deepen and widen the shaping of the future of our cities. Our impact is in educating our students as change agents of the future. UNIC aims to set a positive model for European cities on how to bring together learning, engaged research and urban innovation to create societal impact and improvement, and to help with the major transitions that will define Europe’s future.”
"As students of UNIC, we are very much excited by the opportunities the new proposal holds for us," said Yağmur Kökden, UNIC Student Representative at Koç University in Istanbul. "We feel more empowered and are excited to shape our future. The work put into this proposal is massive, and we are eager to co-create, innovate and embrace the UNIC spirit with the inspiration the expanded mission statement brings us!"
"I am very glad that our University hosted the signing of the new "2.0" Mission Statement,“ said Prof. Stjepan Lakušić, Ph.D., Rector of the University of Zagreb.
"Participation in the UNIC alliance has opened up a number of opportunities for internationalization as one of the key areas of the University's development. We look forward to further deepening of cooperation and development of the UNIC alliance as a true partnership of students, teachers, researchers, and supporting staff over many years to come."
Paving the Way to Universities of the Future
The “2.0” Joint Mission Statement will inform UNIC’s proposal for its next phase, submitted later this month to the latest round the European Commission’s European University Initiative.
The Alliance is already rolling out new programs and offerings that reflect this renewed mission: a Seed Fund for Collaborative Engaged Research Projects was launched in December 2022, and a charter for the UNIC Centre for City Futures will be announced. UNIC’s innovative Hybrid Campus will set the foundations for state-of-the-art mutual exchanges, opening up Blended Intensive Programs, virtual courses, and joint degrees to an even wider community of students, researchers and citizens.
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