Speaking at EUA’s annual conference, Murphy further said the European Council and member EU states could to do more in terms of enabling universities to be successful through regulatory frameworks, investments and direct funding of infrastructure, and staff upskilling.

“We have a responsibility to make sure our universities are fit for purpose in the coming years. The resilience of our society will depend upon us,” he added.

“We are here to discuss the various steps that we have to take in order to reach our goals, reach our vision in the coming years.”

European Council president Charles Michel however voiced fears of democracy coming under increasing pressure, stating that “universities must therefore continue to be home to academic freedom and democratic values, free speech, gender equality [and] fundamental rights”.

“Universities must therefore continue to be home to academic freedom and democratic values”

“These principles must be cherished and nurtured. Today, more than never as they are threatened across the globe,” he said.

“Our universities must remain temples of knowledge, talent and evidence based information as foreign interference and disinformation seek to infiltrate our societies intellectual rigour we will only grow in importance.”

He additionally noted that last year European leaders agreed that as part of the pandemic recovery package, Horizon Europe will be funded to the tune of almost €100 billion, a 30% increase in comparison with the current research and innovation program.

The new Erasmus program, announced in March, will also have a budget of €26 billion, €12 billion more than the previous budget.

“The new program will be stronger, greener, more digital and more inclusive,” said Michel.

“It will also support new flagship initiatives such as European universities.”

Source Article