Four Belgian universities selected among the first European universities
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    Four Belgian universities selected among the first European universities

    The main library hall at KU Leuven. © KU Leuven Libraries

    The European Commission announced last week the higher education institutions from all over Europe that will be part of the first European Universities alliances.

    17 alliances involving 114 institutions from 24 Member States were established and will start cooperating in the coming study year.

    European Universities are defined as transnational alliances of higher education institutions from across the EU that share a long-term strategy and promote European values and identity. A minimum of 3 institutions from 3 EU Member States or other Erasmus programme countries is required.

    KU Leuven, ULB Brussels, VUB Brussels and the University of Antwerp were among the first selected universities. In a recent global ranking report, KU Leuven was ranked at 80th place, the highest ranked Belgian university on the list and the only one in the top 100.

    The selection of universities includes a broad range of higher education institutions from across the EU, from universities of applied sciences, technical universities and universities of fine arts to comprehensive and research-intensive universities.

    The Commission writes that the European Universities will become inter-university campuses around which students, doctoral candidates, staff and researchers can move seamlessly. They will pool their expertise, platforms and resources to deliver joint curricula or modules covering various disciplines.

    The initiative is designed to significantly strengthen mobility of students and staff, and foster the quality, inclusiveness and competitiveness of European higher education. Students will be able to design their own curricula leading to a European Degree.

    Students, academics and external partners will also cooperate in teams covering different disciplines to tackle big issues, such as climate change, sustainable agriculture, Europe is facing today.

    The Central European University in Budapest is one of the selected universities. Despite protests by EU, the university has been banned by the Hungarian government and will be relocated to Vienna. At today’s press briefing (26 June) in Brussels, a Commission spokesperson said that its position was clear.

    The Brussels Times