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Record funding round adds seven EUI alliances

Total number of EU-backed European Universities Initiative alliances hits 50 with record €402 million funding

A record funding round of €402 million has added seven new alliances to the EU’s scheme for financing cross-border collaborations among universities.  

Fifty alliances involving over 430 higher education institutions are now being supported by the European Universities Initiative, which helps universities perform collaborative work by creating joint campuses, qualifications and posts.

The results of the latest EUI call bring the initiative closer to its target of supporting 60 alliances involving over 500 higher education institutions by mid-2024.

Each of the new alliances will receive up to €14.4m for four years via the initiative, funded through the EU’s Erasmus+ scheme for academic mobility. National funding tops up support for alliances in some EU countries.

Broadening out

The European Commission also revealed that the alliances now involve universities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro after the 2023 call was opened up to institutions in the Western Balkans.

Universities in countries associated to the intergovernmental Bologna Process initiative, including Ukraine, the UK and Switzerland, have been allowed to take part in the alliances from 2022, albeit only as associated partners without EU funding.

With the 2023 call, almost 30 universities from Ukraine have joined the alliances despite recent criticism of the scheme for not providing direct funding to Ukrainian institutions, which must finance alliance activities themselves.

Kseniia Smyrnova, a vice-rector at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, called in April for “the rules and methods of including Ukrainian universities in the EUI [to] be adjustable” to factor in the country’s unique situation.

There have also been concerns raised from the alliances that their funding is insufficient to support the high ambitions being set for them. A study commissioned by the European Parliament education committee at the beginning of the year found that the initiative is operating in an “unsustainable” and “disjointed” way.