24 December 2021
Unite! IV Dialogue conclusions
Universities' commitment to European education, technology and entrepreneurship moves forward with Unite!

What is the future of the Unite! alliance? What are the steps to be taken in the coming years by the universities that are part of the alliance to lead the transformation of European higher education? How to move towards a new model of innovative and multidisciplinary education, combined with ethical, safe and sustainable research and entrepreneurship in co-creation by students and teaching and research staff?

For three days, representatives of the seven universities that are part of the Unite! alliance met in Barcelona, hosted by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) to discuss these issues at the IV Unite! Dialogue, Past, Present and Future.

More than 200 people participated in the meeting in person and 150 more virtually from all the universities of the alliance: 23 from Aalto University; 41 from Grenoble INP; 26 from KTH Royal Institute of Technology; 43 from Politecnico di Torino; 39 from Technical University of Darmstadt; 34 from Universidade de Lisboa and 123 from UPC, including students and staff. Rectors, vice-rectors, vice-chancellors and 35 speakers from the business and political sphere also took part in the debates and meetings.

In the plenary sessions and in the different working group meetings (more than 40 official meetings), the alliance has been able to review the results obtained to date of the different initiatives that, under the umbrella of the European projects Erasmus+ and H2020, have been launched. It was also the time to make progress in reaching a consensus on the new challenges ahead, the review of its mission and the consolidation of its governing bodies.

Unite! remains committed to the promotion of science, technology and engineering education in a multidisciplinary, multicultural and multilingual European campus, which is integrated into busy business environments, playing a relevant role in regional innovation systems with a strong social impact across Europe and the world. The participants have confirmed, during the different sessions and debates, their commitment to an ethical, safe and sustainable use of technology, in accordance with a fair and open science oriented to empower and train a new generation of European and global citizens. On the way, there are still pending issues such as the recognition of qualifications between the educational systems of the different countries, which will facilitate the path towards the design of the future European engineer and architect.

As the secretary of Unite! Andreas Winkler, "the main objective of this fourth meeting of the alliance has been to jointly define our future and to give a new orientation to what is to come and how Unite! wants to continue to grow". For the secretary, the meeting has shown, after two years of work, "the lively cooperation between all the university communities that are part of it".

The meeting hosted the first meeting of SURE!, Students for Representation and Empowerment, the alliance's student representation body.

Unite!'s Governing Platform, which brings together the rectors of the universities, took a number of important governance decisions during the meeting, laying the foundations for further structural and sustainable cooperation. In this regard, the first meeting of the Unite! Academic Forum took place, a governing body that brings together academic and administrative staff and students from each university and whose mission is to advise the Unite! Governing Platform on the development of the partnership and to monitor the progress of its work. In addition, the Governing Platform adopted the Unite! Quality Management Manual. Its approach can be considered a role model and an example of good practice for other higher education institutions in Europe.

The Unite! Governing Platform also intensively discussed a possible extension of the partnership. Only one week after the Unite! Dialogue meetings, the alliance has announced the addition of two new partners: the Graz University of Technology in Styria, Austria, and the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, in Poland. This enlargement ensures the presence and representation of all European geographical regions in the alliance.

As Juan Jesús Pérez, Key Liason Officer of the UPC, host of the meeting, said, "the 4th Unite! Dialogue was a splendid opportunity to reflect and review achievements, analyse the extent to which objectives have been met and brainstorm on the future of the partnership. There were interesting discussions on the current state and future of the alliance, but the most important was the personal satisfaction of seeing delegates from the various working groups delighted to meet in person with renewed enthusiasm, surpassing the resilience demonstrated during the pandemic".


Unite! members are now continuing to work on the different projects of the alliance. These projects will again be reviewed and discussed together next March at the 5th Alliance Dialogue at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.


As Tanja Brühl, President of the Alliance and Rector of the Technical University of Darmstadt, said at the opening of the 4th Dialogue in Barcelona: "We started as pioneers committed to transforming European higher education and our mission statement illustrates that we are committed to innovation, multidisciplinarity, teaching, research and entrepreneurship".

Juan Jesús Pérez, Key Liason Officer of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) during the Opening Session.

Tanja Brühl, President of the Alliance and Rector of the Technical University of Darmstadt, at the opening of the 4th Dialogue in Barcelona.

General Secretary of Unite! Andreas Winkler at the meeting of the Unite! Steering Committee.

Daniel Crespo, Rector of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) together with the President of Unite and Rector of the Technical University of Darmstadt, Tanja Brühl.