As part of a major education and research initiative, the EU Commission is financing 17 European university alliances. Each of these alliances includes a number of universities and KTH is part of UNITE!, (the University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering), together with universities of technology in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
“UNITE! aims to promote indepth cooperation on a broad front between the universities in the alliance. This will open up new opportunities for both personal and professional development at all these universities,” says Mette Svensson, International Project and Cooperation Manager at KTH who has been involved in this work with Mirko Varano, Senior Advisor International Projects at KTH.
Each of these European university groups is being allocated €5 million, or approximately SEK 53 million, over the next three years.
UNITE! stands for the University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering. The seven universities together have 167,000 students, of whom around 37,000 graduate each year. The universities have already worked together in over 80 EU projects, are part of CLUSTER (Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research) and between them, have had around 2,000 exchange students.
In addition to KTH, the other UNITE! partners are TU Darmstadt (Germany), Aalto University (Finland), the Grenoble Institute of Technology (France), the Polytechnic University of Turin (Italy), the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Spain) and University of Lisbon (Portugal). That these universities in particular are forming an alliance is based on the fact that they have all been working together successfully for the last 30 years in research and education.
“Part of the thinking behind UNITE! is that the universities should be able to develop common programmes. These programmes will be more attractive and viable in all European countries and will also have a positive effect when it comes to attracting fee paying students,” Varano says.
TU Darmstadt will coordinate UNITE!, whose president, Hans Jürgen Prömel, envisages a bright future.
“The aim of UNITE! Is to become a European role model for a genuinely inter-university campus. UNITE! should stand for outstanding qualitative opportunities for both students and teachers, while at the same time linking together the seven regions and creating a trans-European ecosystem that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship,” Prömel says.
Stefan Östlund, Vice President of KTH with special responsibility for global relations, sees several advantages with UNITE!
“Firstly, UNITE! shows how well developed our alliance with the other universities already is, and secondly, we are gaining the resources to develop and strengthen new forms of international cooperation,” Östlund says. “The partners in UNITE know each other extremely well, which will be a key factor in taking the alliance to a new level.”