6 November 2020
TU and UNITE! president Tanja Brühl speaks before the European Commission
For the first time, the European Commission met with the presidents and rectors of all European university alliances and the member states for a joint web conference. The aim of the conference was to reinforce the transformation potential of the "European Universities" initiative at institutional, regional, national and European level. As UNITE! president, TU President Professor Tanja Brühl was one of the keynote speakers. She emphasized that a strong long-term commitment of the European Commission and the member states was needed to turn the vision of European universities into reality.

In the morning of the 4th November, the Commission met with the students representing the alliances to strengthen the issue of student participation. Six students from UNITE! were involved, among them Aleko Khen from TU Darmstadt.

Students and presidents of 41 alliances participated in the European Commission's web conference, together with Directors-General for Higher Education of the Member States. Based on the experiences of the first 17 European universities, which they were able to share here for the first time with the new 24, one of the issues to be discussed was how to create a enabling policy framework that would enable seamless and ambitious transnational cooperation between higher education institutions in Europe.

TU President Professor Tanja Brühl gave one of the keynote speeches as UNITE! president. She spoke about the transformative potential of the virtual UNITE! campus, using the example of a pilot project on virtual mobility in the field of energy, which was launched this fall in UNITE! For the pilot project, five of the alliance partners have put together a total of 30 seminars and courses in the field of energy and made it possible for all UNITE! students to participate.

"As a result, structural reforms have already been initiated between the alliance partners and the development of joint technical solutions has been pushed forward," said the UNITE! president. A Memorandum of Understanding on Virtual Mobility will be formulated to govern the common procedure for the recruitment, admission and enrollment of students for virtual mobility. In addition, a common Moodle platform will be developed to realize an important first step of the UNITE! virtual campus. This will connect all individual online learning platforms with a meta-platform UNITE!

"We are dedicated and excited pioneers. We are willing to find solutions and pilot activities that address challenges for the implementation of the European University idea. We are convinced that UNITE! – and the other university alliances – are a first step of a long-term transformation of higher education in Europe," Tanja Brühl continued. However, this would require a sustained and long-term commitment from the European Commission and all member states to support this transformative path. The alliances are in agreement on this point.

Text by Mareike Hochschild (TU Darmstadt), originally published in: https://www.tu-darmstadt.de/universitaet/international/unite/unite_news_detail_281152.de.jsp

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