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University consortium launches Covid-19 policy group

Commission from European University of Well-being will examine health problems from remote working

The European University of Well-being, a consortium of seven universities established in line with the EU’s European Universities Initiative, has put together a policy team focused on improving citizens’ health in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This ‘policy commission’ will “bring together experts and interested parties to shape a multi-faceted approach and methodology to well-being in a Covid world”, the EUniWell consortium announced on 17 June.

“The commission will scope the issue and produce recommendations for policy change—considering evidence from a range of organisations, experts and interests, as well as drawing on relevant research from within EUniWell,” the consortium said.

In a webinar on the launch day, leaders from the EUniWell member universities said the challenges posed by Covid-19 give “new urgency” to their mission to improve the well-being of individuals, communities and society.

“Work from home has also merged into the idea that home has become all work,” said Matthew Broome, the director of the Institute of Mental Health at Birmingham University in the UK. The ubiquity of digital technologies means “digitally we’re there all the time”, increasing mental fatigue, he added.

Added pressures from working from home have meant that addressing students’ personal problems is “more important than ever”, said Judith Barth, EUniWell’s chief student officer and a researcher at the University of Cologne in Germany.

EUniWell comprises seven European institutions, with the other five being the universities of Florence in Italy, Leiden in the Netherlands, Linnaeus in Sweden, Nantes in France and Semmelweis in Hungary. It has applied for EU funding from the second call of the European Universities Initiative.