On June 26, the European Commission (EC) announced a list of European higher educational institutions which will be part of the first unions of the European university networking initiative. One of them is Klaipėda University: together with its EU partners, it is ready to build a unique European transnational higher science and scientific research institution.
The institution will specialise in the sustainability of smart urban coasts, blue growth, and innovative international academic activity to address global challenges.
Funding was provided to 17 out of 54 EU-wide applications, covering 114 higher education institutions.
As many as three Lithuanian universities became members of different alliances. That testifies to the quality of our national higher education and its competitive advantage, based on decades of experience.
A contemporary laboratory infrastructure of KU science and studies, marine specialism, strategic plans of Klaipėda City economic development to become the world’s city of blue economy and rapid solutions before 2030, and determination to create an innovation ecosystem of the Klaipėda Region are the key indicators for which the European Commission allocated 0,5 mln euro for Klaipėda University as a partner of the European University for Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability (EU CONEXUS) project.
The same consorcium includes the universities of Athens, Valencia, Zadar, Bucharest, and La Rochelle. All those institutions are united by the European geographical region, focusing on the sustainability of the urbanised coasts, digitalisation, and blue growth.
Together with the project partners, KU will strive both to develop a new approach to the organisation of studies and research in order to reflect the complexity of the challenges and oportunities faced by the urban coastal environment and also participate in common processes contributing to the development of the “university” of European universities, based on close academic and administrative cooperation.
Partner universities also have a shared vision for a new form of transnational university that would award joint European degrees and issue joint European diplomas. Mobility in each study programme ought to improve student language skills and intercultural competencies as well as enhance their sense of Europeanity and public spirit.
Building on the strengths of partner institutions, EU CONEXUS CAMPUS will be established, with joint bachelor, master’s, and doctoral study programmes, joint research programmes, contemporary learning technologies, and sporting and cultural events; more attention will be paid to the integration of people with disabilities and the needs of local communities.
EU CONEXUS will strategically attract outstanding students and researchers from all over the world and become a reference point for innovative research.
Dr. Rima Mickevičienė, Dean of the Faculty of Marine Technology and Natural Sciences, is sincerely happy about the KU participation in the EU pilot project.
“That is a good opportunity to increase the internationality of our University. Although we have joint study programmes with other universities abroad and implement about 80 international projects every year, the project means a leap forward. It is a great honour to participate in such a concorcium. Even if we are really strong in some areas, there is always room for improvement due to the advantages of academic networking. We trust that young people all over the world will become interested in the studies and degrees of the new European university”, said dr. Mickevičienė.
The EC proposed the new initiative to EU leaders before the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017. In December 2017, the initiative was endorsed by the European Council which called for at least 20 European university networks to be created before 2024. That is part of the ambition to create a European Education Area before 2025.
The creation of European university unions will enhance the quality and attractiveness of European higher education, increase its internationality, and strengthen European citizenship – student and teacher mobility in Europe will increase