EU funding will go to 20 of the universities but their budget is “topped up” by a German national program. The other five have been approved by the EU but will be supported only by the national program.

“The European Universities should become powerhouses and pacemakers for the future of the European Higher Education Area,” said DAAD president Joybrato Mukherjee.

“The European Universities should become powerhouses and pacemakers for the future of the European Higher Education Area”

“They should make it possible for students and researchers to experience and shape a united and strong Europe at their institutions. To achieve this, the national accompanying program to EU funding is an excellent complement.”

According to a fact sheet published by the European Commission last year, European Universities are “ambitious transnational alliances of higher education institutions developing long-term structural and strategic cooperation”. Each requires the participation of at least three higher education institutions from three EU member states or other countries taking part in Erasmus+.

“Alliances need a joint long-term strategy for education with, where possible, links to research and innovation to drive systemic, structural and sustainable impact at all levels of their institutions,” the EC noted.

They must also “create a European inter-university ‘campus’, where students, staff and researchers enjoy seamless mobility (physical, virtual or blended) to study, train, teach, do research, work or share services at cooperating partner institutions [and] transdisciplinary and transnational teams of students, academics and external stakeholders tackle big issues facing Europe (such as climate protection, democracy, health, big data, migration).”

The EC launched its first call for proposals from higher education institutions for the project in October 2018 after the initiative was proposed the previous year. By July 2020, there were 41 European Universities representing more than 280 higher education institutions across the continent.

Based around themes such as the ATHENS Network’s focus on advanced technology or Transform4Europe’s tackling of challenges such as climate change, societal change and digital revolutions, students are able to do courses while spending several months at member institutions in different countries.

“With the additional selected universities, 35 German universities are now involved in 32 of the 41 Europe-wide alliances,” added a DAAD spokesperson.

“Particularly pleasing is the fact that two German Universities of Applied Sciences are part of the European Universities as well.

“We strongly believe that these higher education networks are a real advancement of the European idea”

“We strongly believe that these higher education networks are a real advancement of the European idea. In the future, they will enable students to study and research across borders within the EU.”

Local media in Bulgaria also announced five institutions in the country joining the program include the New Bulgarian University and the Technical University, Sofia. The country’s minister of Education Krasimir Valchev said the initiative was “a chance to become visible on the market, to be integrated into a common European Education Area, [and] to attract more students from Europe”.

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