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European Universities: call for proposals and discussions on the future funding model

On 3 October, the European Commission published the fifth Erasmus+ call for proposals to support the rollout of the European Universities initiative. The aim of this call, with the total budget of EUR 189.2 million, is to enable an expansion to at least 60 European Universities by mid-2024, in line with the European strategy for universities. Open for submissions until 6 February 2024, the call supports the following topics:

  • Topic 1: development of deep institutional transnational cooperation between higher education institutions in a ‘European Universities’ alliance
  • Topic 2: Community of practice for European Universities alliances, to create a collaborative and supportive environment for peer learning among European Universities alliances and for the benefit of the wider higher education sector.

While more universities are being welcome to the European Universities Initiative, the discussions on both how to evaluate the related progress and to secure adequate funding for the future are being held by the European Commission with various stakeholders. As several scenarios are put on the table, the 41 Alliances issued a Joint statement on a sustainable investment pathway for European Universities on 3 October 2023. The following points emerge from this statement:

  • The Alliances remain committed to the transformational agenda enabled to date through Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 (unfortunately not yet continued in Horizon Europe) and the engagement of their own resources.
  • The Alliances are willing to discuss with all relevant stakeholders the establishment of a sustainable and predictable investment pathway architecture to allow the long-term, multi-mission vision of the alliances to be realised.
  • The Alliances urge member states to strongly engage in and support to ensure a coherent approach across European countries.

A holistic approach involves funding for all university’s missions allocated from combined resources, including EU programmes (Erasmus+, Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, etc.) and member state funding, for both knowledge creation and infrastructure, while being offered in a sustainable way.

Individual alliances such as CIVIS also issued similar statements. A new round of stakeholder consultations on the monitoring framework and an investment pathway for the European Universities Initiative is planned for November this year.