Around 384,000 students and 55,000 staff members will be part of the network, aimed at creating an integrated university organisation where students, academics, researchers and staff move and collaborate as freely as in their institution of origin.
“Diversity of languages is important as part of the European identity”
The eight universities from eight different countries includes: Aix Marseille Université (France), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), University of Bucharest (Romania), Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), Sapienza Università di Roma (Italia), Stockholms Universitet (Sweden), Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany).
“Stockholm University has in its strategy to deepen our collaboration with other universities in Europe and this initiative is one good example,” head of the Research Support Office at Stockholm University Maryam Hansson Edalat told The PIE News.
Among its targets, the group aims to foster multilingualism in a range of languages, though several of the institutions offer courses in English.
“English is our common language, however diversity of languages is also important – and part of the European identity,” Edalat noted.
Adding members will be decided by the network, she continued, but discussions are underway on the possibility of further involvement from universities in both EEA and non-EEA countries.
While it is initially working with universities based within Europe, the universities are hoping to engage “with the world, its inhabitants and its institutions”.
Key issues the group hopes to address include “major challenges” in social, economic or environmental fields, such as urbanisation, energy and climate change, ageing, cultural heritage; and pedagogic priorities like fairer opportunities for any student from any background, or new ways of learning in the digital world.
The universities will share their teaching and research resources to promote innovative and integrated cooperation and action.