A group of people sitting as public in a conference and looking very interested
A group of people sitting as public in a conference and looking very interested
Contributing to the European Research Area
A group of people sitting as public in a conference and looking very interested
The UNITE.H2020 project has shaped an integrated R&I strategy for the European University Alliance Unite!, concluding in December 2023. The follow-up UNITE!Widening project, starting in January 2024, aims to strengthen scientific capabilities in Portugal and Poland, highlighted in a Lisbon meeting on February 1st and 2nd.

The UNITE.H2020 project – Planning the Future of Research & Innovation in the European University Alliance Unite! – developing the R&I dimension of Unite!, one of the European University Alliances, ended in December 2023. Throughout UNITE.H2020 project the Alliance addressed the challenge launched by the European Commission developing, in synergy with its educational dimension, an integrated, shared and long-term research and innovation (R&I) strategy. Another objective was to develop a common R&I agenda and action plan for the Unite! Alliance, emphasizing the Unite! STEM nature, with the implementation of several pilot initiatives along the different institutional transformation modules proposed by the EC, through institutional transformations and the identification of good practices for the modernization of R&I among the partner universities. 

Several activities initiated in UNITE.H2020 project will be continued in the UNITE!Widening project – Raise excellence in R&S&I in HEI for widening countries -, started in January 2024 with a focus on the widening countries. The goal of Unite!WIDENING is to strengthen Unite! as an alliance, enhancing the scientific, technological and innovation capacity of the consortium of HEIs, raising its excellence as a group and also at the level of all individual partners, extend and expand its activities, raise the excellence profile of the Widening countries (Portugal and Poland) and implement the ERA/Widening policies at European scale. 

To emphasize the connection between the two projects, a contextual meeting will be organized on February 1st and 2nd in Lisbon, Portugal.  

  • February 1st - Unite!Widening Organizational Planning & Kick-Off: the focus is to present the main objective of the project and the principal activities that will be carried out through the work packages of the project 
  • February 2nd - UNITE.H2020 Dissemination Event: the focus is to emphasize the importance of contribution of the UNITE.H2020 project and the European Alliances in general, to the European Research Area. Interested stakeholders can see the programme here and click the following link to register to the Unite!H2020 Dissemination Event.

About UNITE.H2020 project 

With the UNITE.H2020 project the Unite! Alliance took up the challenge launched by the European Commission to develop, in synergy with its education dimension, a shared, integrated, long-term research and innovation (R&I) strategy. Funded within the Horizon2020 programme and coordinated by the Politecnico di Torino, its aim was to develop a common R&I agenda and action plan for the Unite! Alliance, emphasizing the UNITE! STEM nature. In UNITE.H2020 the Unite! universities aimed at exploring new models of collaborations through several pilot initiatives promoting institutional changes in different areas: 

  • Develop a common R&I 2030 agenda, emphasizing the common DNA and shared vocation to address major societal challenges of Unite! Universities; 
  • Develop policies to strengthen our R&I human capital by, e.g., new career development initiatives; 
  • Develop policies to share our research infrastructures (RIs) supported by, e.g., experimental tests of previously developed guidelines on a selection of Energy RIs; 
  • Reinforce cooperation with non-academic R&I players by, e.g., developing a network of Grant Offices & TTOs; 
  • Mainstream our comprehensive Open Science practices based on, e.g., a detailed experimental analysis on the approach of our R&I groups to OS; 
  • Involve citizens, civil society and public authorities in R&I; 
  • Develop relations with other Alliances for joint synergies/complementarities. 

The UNITE.H2020 consortium was composed by Politecnico di Torino (coordinator, Italy), TU Darmstadt (Germany), Aalto University (Finland), Grenoble Institute of Technology (France), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal) and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Barcelona Tech (Spain) and it has received up to EUR 2 million from the Horizon 2020 programme for the three-year-long pilot phase. This funding, complementing the funds granted to the Alliance from the Erasmus programme and the additional funds received by several Ministries such as the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, has been crucial for the identification and subsequent implementation of broad and shared strategies. 

About Unite!WIDENING project 

Unite!WIDENING project was conceived to be a complementary project under the umbrella of the European University Alliance Unite! “University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering” and aims to further raise excellence in science and in knowledge valorization of Alliance universities through increased and interwoven cooperation with Universities from Widening and non-Widening countries. 

The consortium is a strong and complementary partnership of nine leading European research universities, also partners in the University Alliance Unite!, two of them in Widening countries, two S&T parks, a development agency and an innovation management SME. The science, research and academic expertise of the universities are complemented by the innovation, industrial and business experience of the non-academic partners, to achieve the goals of the EEI. The project also aims to be a complementary space to underline and extend the outcomes of the UNITE.H2020 project, in particular, to become a role model for a competitive European University Alliance producing top-class R&I and combining it with a virtual and physical seamless inter-university campus, embedded in a network of innovative regions, aiming at a more sustainable world. 

The overall success of Unite!WIDENING project will be supported by the development and achievement of the specific objectives: 

  • Raise and mainstream excellence in science and value creation through deeper and geographically inclusive cooperation in alliances of HEI, and particularly in less research-intensive institutions with focus in Widening countries, achieving long-term collaboration 
  • Improve global competitiveness and visibility of Europe's HEI, creating critical mass in key areas such as the green transition and Horizon Europe mission areas. 
  • Successful institutional reform, upgrade and strengthening of HEI capacities in the R&I dimension (empowerment to be actors of change), through integrated collaboration between institutions and other actors in local ecosystems notably those located in Widening countries; 
  • Modernised research careers in higher education sector, interoperable with other sectors and improved global competitiveness of research in HEI by strongly increased critical mass in terms of upskilling, knowledge creation and circulation in the green transition and other key European policy areas such as European Missions; 
  • Accelerated digital transition of the R&I dimension of the higher education sector across the entire ERA; 
  • Contribution to implementation of the relevant ERA Policy Agenda actions in higher education sector.