How many students attend universities in Europe

European universities

Cross-border mobility of teachers, students and researchers across Europe, outstanding education of a new quality, close cooperation in research and teaching: that is the vision of the European universities. The idea for this comes from Emmanuel Macron. In his Sorbonne speech in September 2017, the French President proposed forming a network of universities from several European countries. His goal was to establish at least 20 European universities by 2024 - and for this he received a lot of encouragement from the heads of state and government of the European Union.

From vision to reality

The first pilot tender for the European universities was launched in October 2018. The results were announced at the end of June 2019: 17 university networks will be funded with 85 million euros over the next three years. (15 universities from Germany are involved in 14 networks.) The networks cover a broad disciplinary and institutional spectrum. A total of 114 universities from 24 EU member states and Norway are participating in the cooperation. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has supported the initiative from the start and supports the participating German universities in addition to European funding through the DAAD.

What are the university networks doing?

The networks develop long-term strategies, the core of which are mostly innovative and cross-location teaching formats. In almost all cases, the common teaching is put under the motto of a "challenge based learning" approach. The development of joint, topic-oriented courses (e.g. "Global Health", "Cybersecurity" or Sustainability ") and coordinated curricula, automatic recognition of academic achievements and" joint degrees "are planned. In most networks, the establishment of a cross-location infrastructure is planned as the first step towards a common campus offer.

Almost all networks focus on the connection of physical and virtual mobility as a core component of their activities, which should enable constant access to the course content of all participating universities. In addition to longer phases of physical mobility and mobility supported by existing Erasmus + programs, low-threshold and regular short-term mobility as well as accompanying virtual mobility should be possible. Through the almost equal connection of physical and virtual mobility, the ambitious long-term goal of 50 percent mobility within the respective network - by 2025 - which is binding for all selected networks, should be achieved.

Second pilot selected from European universities

At the beginning of July 2020, the European Commission selected the winners of the second pilot round of “European Universities”. From the 62 applications received, the EU selected 24 European University Alliances, in which 165 universities from 26 countries are involved. These include 20 Germans who are involved in 18 of the total of 24 networks. As in the first pilot round of European universities, the BMBF is again offering the German universities additional support in the form of a national accompanying program through the German Academic Exchange Service.

Outlook: so it goes on

The European trio presidency started on July 1st, 2020 (starting July 2020 with Germany, Portugal and Slovenia) will treat the European university networks as an overarching topic. Germany begins with so-called Council Conclusions, with which the political framework for the further development of the European university networks will be established. So-called Council recommendations are then to be adopted under the Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies.

additional Information

What are European Universities?

The term "universities" should be understood in its broadest sense, including all types of higher education institutions.

The European Universities have a mandate aimed at promoting unprecedented institutionalized cooperation between higher education institutions and making it systemic, structural and sustainable.

The European Universities should provide the following Key elements to be established:

  • A shared, integrated, long-term shared education strategy that has links to research and innovation as well as to society as a whole, whenever possible.
  • A European inter-university campus with curricula in which students, doctoral candidates and employees can experience mobility at all study levels.
  • European knowledge-building teams that work together to tackle societal challenges in a multidisciplinary approach.

How is the initiative implemented?

At the EU level, the EU education and exchange program Erasmus + is the central program for implementing the initiative.

Eligibility criteria for the pilot tender

  • Consortium composition: minimumthree universities outthree Erasmus + program countries(in possession of a valid Erasmus university charter ECHE)
  • Possibility ofassociated partnership for public / private organizations from the Erasmus + program countries that are active in the fields of education, research and innovation or in the world of work (associated partners do not receive funding through the program)
  • A coordinator acts on behalf of the consortium

Selection criteria for European universities

  • Relevance of the proposal (including long-term common model; innovative and new structural models; contribution to regional development; promotion of scientific excellence)
  • Geographical balance
  • Quality of the proposal and implementation (innovative pedagogical models for the development of future-oriented skills and competencies; level of mobility of students, employees and researchers; strengthening the knowledge triangle; promoting the social commitment of students and employees as well as their key entrepreneurial competencies; involving the local community; involving disadvantaged groups)
  • Quality of the cooperation agreement (common management structures; support for university management; diversity of university types; added value and cost efficiency)
  • Sustainability and dissemination

Information onSelection and assessment process of the first pilot can be found in the EACEA's 2019 Guide for Experts.