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Aurora EU Universities Network launched – Collective action for societal impact, global challenges & opportunities

A new community of European universities united by a shared commitment to advancing social good and helping solve global challenges has been launched in Amsterdam on 21 October. Aurora is a new network of nine European universities with similar philosophies and a shared mission to make a real difference to society.

The nine founding institutions are: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Université Grenoble-Alpes, University of Aberdeen, University of Antwerp, University of Bergen, University of Duisburg-Essen, University of East Anglia, University of Gothenburg and the University of Iceland.

The president of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and founding president of Aurora, Professor Jaap Winter, said: “What unites us as founding members of the Aurora network is the conviction that there is no trade-off between research excellence by global standards, broad access for students and an inclusive academic environment and societal impact in research, teaching and outreach. We strive to make to combine these elements in the fibres of the university organisation and culture. Aurora universities share their determination to build a different kind of inclusive university community that fits a more networked generation, that strives to help solve global challenges and provides collaborative space for members to learn from each other and with each other to become better in what we aim to do.”

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Professor David Richardson, said: “Aurora exists not to lobby for self-interest but to bring together like-minded universities with a demonstrable track record of research excellence, a shared commitment to strengthening each other, and focusing activity on finding solutions to some of the problems our world needs to solve.

Aurora universities are world leaders in academic research – within the world top 250 in field weighted citation impact, with an analysis of research excellence and collaboration by Reed Elsevier substantiating the Aurora Network’s top performance in these areas.

The new network’s launch was preceded by workshops in Amsterdam and Grenoble involving all member universities identifying areas where Aurora can add real value to society by working together on important societal challenges such as sustainability, climate and energy, digital technology and society, student experience and innovation in teaching and learning, human life and health, and transformations in a globalising society. A workshop bringing together student representatives from Aurora universities, offered an important opportunity to share experiences, exchange practices and identify possibilities for co-operation and mutual learning across the new community.

Find out more about the Aurora Network Aurora Research Quality & Collaboration