15 March 2021
Great success of the biggest Unite! event to date: 3rd Unite! Dialogue Grenoble
Unite! convened online for its big event, the Unite! Dialogue from 8th to 10th March 2021. The biggest Unite! event yet – gathering more than 350 guests from all over Europe for the public session – was hosted by Grenoble INP-UGA. Furthermore, the third Dialogue had three premieres to offer: a public session, the inauguration of the Student Forum SURE! and an open call for the thematic parallel sessions – resulting in 18 lively workshops to bring Unite! further ahead.

The 3rd Unite! Dialogue had a different focus every day: from the meeting of rectors and presidents of the seven Unite! partners in the Unite! Governing Platform (UGP) to decide on the next strategic steps of the alliance on March 8th, to the Dialogue itself, where teams and anyone active in building Unite! meet for exchange and inspiration on March 9th, with highlights like the Public Session.

Also, the first meeting of the Student Forum SURE! with the Unite! Steering Committee (USC) took place on March 10th, on an exchange on the SURE! mission statement and further student involvement in Unite!. Being both agents and beneficiaries of the alliance, Unite! students have a key role in the future of the European Universities. Including students’ voices into the implementation, decisions and planning of Unite! is essential to its mission. The Unite! Student Forum SURE! (“Students in Unite! for Representation and Empowerment”) was confirmed and approved by the UGP as the student-self-organised body within the overall governance of Unite! on the first day of the Dialogue.

The Public Session was dedicated to the topic of “European Values and Innovation”. Tanja Brühl, Unite! President, started the event with a welcome address: “Unite! as a European University alliance is contributing to strengthening core European values by demonstrating that close cooperation is valuable and that such cooperation enables us to develop new ideas and innovation.” She gave over to the two keynote speakers, Constance Chevallier Govers, professor at the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA), and Stephane Hubac, from ST Microelectronics, researcher in manufacturing sciences, elaborating their concepts of “European values and innovation” as input for the following discussion with the audience. Over 350 participants from Unite! universities all over Europe attended, as well as other European University Alliances and some ersonalities of the political arena.

The Unite! internal session with overall 260 participants opened with a welcome by the host Grenoble INP-UGA President Pierre Benech. The host Grenoble INP-UGA presented itself in a video – living Unite!’s multilingualism. Secretary General Andreas Winkler reported on the results of the Unite! Governing Platform and the great achievements made possible by all Uniters in the last six months. The digitalisation of the alliance activities is a first decisive step towards the overall idea of an inter-university Campus. Finally, Michel Böhm introduced the Student Forum to the wider Unite! audience as their spokesperson.

The Grenoble Dialogue Organisation team had the idea to take co-creation in Unite! to a new level by having an open call among all Unite! members to contribute topics for the parallel session. With 18 sessions in 6 tracks, it allowed the attendants to attend differents sessions according to their interests. The virtual format allowed a high number of participants – ranging from students to academic and administrative staff from all seven partners – discussing and working together in breakout-sessions or other collaborative formats.

  • Track 1: University and society in a European perspective
  • Track 2: Students, cultures, arts & sciences: let's connect!
  • Track 3: Beyond mobility
  • Track 4: Unite!'s tools and progress
  • Track 5: Degrees and doctoral studies
  • Track 6: Innovation, society and business

The results of each parallel session that was the product of lively and interactive sessions were presented by Key Liaison Officer Brigitte Plateau in the final session. As host of the event she gave over to the next host of the Unite! Dialogue: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC). Juan Jesús Pérez, vice rector of the UPC, invited everyone to the 4th Dialogue in Barcelona from 30 November to 1 December 2021.