To address the 2030 vision on the future of universities in the field of R&I in Europe by developing, in synergy with its educational dimension, an integrated, shared and long-term research and innovation (R&I) strategy – this is the aim of Unite.H2020 project, that has been launched 29.1.2021 by a kick off meeting among the 7 European partners universities of the Unite! European University Alliance.
Throughout Unite.H2020, coordinated by Politecnico di Torino, the alliance is further consolidated in the Research&Innovation field, following the establishment of the alliance through the award in 2019 of the Unite!E+ project, more focused on the educational dimension. Within the three years of the Unite.H2020 project, a series of pilot initiatives will be carried out, in the fields of Energy, Artificial Intelligence and Industry 4.0. The overall aim of the project will be therefore to produce tangible results towards the institutional transformation of our universities and the identification of good practices for the modernization of R&I.
In the Unite.H2020 kick-off meeting, Prof. Roberto Zanino, Vice Rector for European Relations of Politecnico di Torino and coordinator of Unite.H2020, presented the main objective of the project highlighting the strategic value of the R&I agenda that will be issued and shared by all the 7 involved partners, in a 2030 perspective, stressing the common intent of facing the present and future societal challenges: “ In this project we will develop a common R&I agenda, taking advantage of the
complementary strengths of our universities, overcoming the related implementation barriers, with special emphasis on boosting interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity in synergy with the education mission of our alliance. We hope this effort will contribute to the strengthening of the European Research Area, in connection with the European Education Area”.
During the kick-off meeting, representatives of all partners presented the main activities that will be carried out through the work packages of the project: the development of the common research and innovation agenda, the development of common policies for human capital , the sharing of research infrastructures , the strengthening of cooperation with non-academic R&I actors, the mainstreaming of comprehensive Open Science, the involvement of citizens, civil society and public authorities, the exploration of joint structures across the European Universities and finally the project communication and dissemination strategy. Moreover, the meeting saw two contributions from the European Commission Directorate General RTD: Stijn Delaure gave an interesting speech about the policy context that will be relevant to all the alliances, and the Project Officer Alina-Maria Bercea presented the guidelines for the project management.
The Unite.H2020 consortium is 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 Politécnica de Catalunya — Barcelona Tech (Spain). It will receive up to EUR 2 million from the Horizon 2020 programme for the three-year-long pilot phase. This funding complements the EUR 5 million granted to the alliance from the Erasmus+ programme and the additional funds received by several Ministries -such as the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MUR).
About Unite! European University Alliance
Unite! – University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering – is one of the first 17 European University Alliances funded by the European Commission. It includes TU Darmstadt (coordinator, Germany), Aalto University (Finland), Grenoble Institute of Technology (France), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Universidade des Lisboa (Portugal) and Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya Barcelona Tech (Spain).
The Unite! partner universities are highly ranked in their shared focus areas – STEM, architecture and design – and all belong to the CLUSTER university network, which boasts three decades of close cooperation among its members. Together, the seven partners include 167,000 students and 36,700 graduates annually. They already cooperate closely in more than 80 EU projects and have exchanged more than 2,000 students in the last five years.