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Monday, March 27, 2023

Maria Gabriel: European alliances lead the way for the EU’s university strategy

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There are currently 44 of them, with the goal of becoming 60 by 2024

In the European University Strategy, the leading initiative is the European University Alliances and their acquisition of status. This was said today by the Bulgarian European Commissioner for Innovation, Scientific Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Maria Gabriel, during a discussion at the Agricultural University-Plovdiv (Bulgaria). She met with lecturers, students, innovators, young scientists and representatives of the European Institute of Food Innovation and Technology (EIT Food). The topic of the discussion was “Innovation and education – building synergies for better opportunities”.

At the moment, there are 44 European university alliances, with the goal being to increase them to 60 by 2024. The initiative’s budget for 2021-2027 is 1.1 billion euros. Behind the 44 alliances are 340 universities from 31 countries and 1,300 partners – non-governmental organizations, local authorities, enterprises, noted Gabriel. According to her, this year marks the beginning of a stage for having the opportunity to work for a European diploma. Work will be done on a joint European sign for an educational degree and on the status of European alliances. In this regard, 10 pilot projects have been selected, in which 90 higher education institutions and 190 associated partners will participate.

There is a difference between regions and member states in terms of science and innovation, commented the European Commissioner. Europe’s goal is to make 100 regional innovation valleys to connect and work for a pan-European innovation system. For 70 percent of all companies in Europe, the first difficulty to grow the business and invest in a given location is finding people with knowledge, Gabriel said. According to her, the role of universities is to become a driving force.

Agricultural University – Plovdiv is a partner in the European University Alliance UNIgreen, approved for funding by the European Commission on July 27, 2022, recalled the rector of the educational institution Prof. Hristina Yancheva. The alliance is the first project in Europe for a “green” European university in agronomic, biotechnological and natural sciences. It includes eight partner universities. Today we give an official start to the activities included in the project, in which we will share all resources – scientific, material, educational, as well as application of general knowledge, Yancheva pointed out. In the areas of education, research, innovation, good practice and knowledge transfer, the partners aim to position the alliance as a landmark European educational and research institution.

European Commissioner Maria Gabriel also visited the Mathematical High School “Acad. Kiril Popov” in Plovdiv, where she participated in a meeting and discussion with students and teachers about the new opportunities under the European programs “Erasmus+” and “European Peace Corps”.

Photo: Agricultural University Plovdiv / Public Domain

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