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Excellent results for Finnish higher education institutions in the second application round of the European Universities Initiative

Ministry of Education and Culture 10.7.2020 13.14 | Published in English on 14.7.2020 at 13.39
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Yliopiston ruokala.

Six Finnish higher education institutions were selected as part of the European Universities alliances during the second application round of the initiative. Three Finnish universities, Oulu, Turku and Vaasa, were accepted for the initiative, together with three universities of applied sciences – Haaga-Helia, Karelia and Häme University of Applied Sciences. European Universities alliances is the flagship initiative of the EU’s higher education policy and will help to create a European Education Area by 2025. The focus of the initiative is on close strategic and cross-border cooperation. The university alliances support the internationalisation of higher education and research.

“It is great that European higher education institutions are cooperating more closely and that more Finnish institutions are involved. The networks were also high on the agenda during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The work of the higher education institutions selected in the first round of applications has started well, despite the coronavirus epidemic. The efforts by the networks will strengthen the creation of a European Education Area,” says Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen.

The networks aim to build European higher education campuses that offer students and staff flexible opportunities to move, study and research seamlessly, both physically and virtually. Cooperation is not limited to studies and learning, but networks are used to build and test practices for, for example, cross-border quality assurance and student administration.

Five Finnish universities were accepted for the networks in the first call for applications in 2019. It is important to Finland that the initiative is open to different types of universities and that universities of applied sciences can participate in the networks. The total number of networks funded after two application rounds is 41 and Finnish higher education institutions are involved in 11 different networks.

“I am particularly pleased that Finnish universities of applied sciences have been selected as part of the networks. That ensures that the initiative, which strengthens higher education and research in the EU, utilises the entire Finnish higher education sector throughout the country. Overall, Finnish higher education institutions have succeeded well in the applications. Finland’s role in building a new European Education Area is bigger than its size would suggest,” says Minister Kosonen.

Germany, whose Presidency of the Council of the EU started on 1 July, has also made the initiative one of its priorities in the education sector. The Member States, together with the Commission, will prepare joint conclusions on the priorities, which aim at strengthening the initiative and reaching a political consensus on it. The initiative is also one of the key elements in the European Skills Agenda, which was published by the Commission on 1 July 2020. The Agenda expects European higher education networks to promote the transformation of higher education in the European education and research area.

The Erasmus+ programme financed the networks in this application round by a total of EUR 205 million. Up to EUR 5 million were allocated to each network for a period of three years. This funding is complemented with the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, which finances research, development and innovation activities of selected alliances by EUR 2 million per network.  

See also

European Commission: 24 new European Universities reinforce the European Education Area 

Finnish National Agency for Education: Finnish higher education institutions are well represented in the second Erasmus+ European Universities alliances application round (in Finnish)

Finnish higher education institutions are involved in the following networks:

  • ULYSSES, A European University for the citizenship of the future - open to the world, human-centred and entrepreneurial: Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
  • RUN-EU, Regional University Network – European University: Häme University of Applied Sciences
  • INVEST, INnoVations of REgional Sustainability: European UniversiTy Alliance: Karelia University of Applied Sciences
  • UNIC, The European University of Post-Industrial Cities: University of Oulu
  • EC2U, European Campus of City-Universities: University of Turku
  • EUNICE, European University for Customised Education: University of Vaasa

Inquiries:

Kaisu Piiroinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 359 (on 10 July)
Jonna Korhonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 008 (from 13 July)
Birgitta Vuorinen, Director, tel. +358 295 330 335 (from 20 July)

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