In cooperation with several partners
Together with its partners from six other European countries, Saarland University has succeeded in convincing with its project "Transform4Europe - T4E". 62 consortia with a total of 165 universities from all over Europe had submitted their concepts for the award of a "European University". From a first round of applications, 17 alliances have already been funded since 2019.
The EU Commission has awarded "European Universities" to a further 24 university consortia and will provide them with five million euros each for their projects over the next three years. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the German partner universities in this programme with additional project funds.
Seven partners work together within the project "T4E": Besides Saarland University, the partners include the University of Alicante (Spain), the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn (Estonia), the Silesian University in Katowice (Poland), the University of St. Kliment Ohridski in Sofia (Bulgaria), the University of Trieste (Italy) and the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania).
Within the university association, "Transform4Europe - T4E" aims to promote a new generation of young, creative Europeans working together across disciplines, languages and national borders to acquire digital, intercultural and entrepreneurial skills. This should enable them to shape the necessary transformation processes in Europe in a self-determined manner in the future. The project partners are focusing on the areas of digitalization, ecology, sustainability, social change and inclusion.
Around 116,000 students will benefit from a "European education" and be able to use joint study programmes and platforms. In addition, the approximately 18,500 employees will be offered a European working environment that will facilitate mobility between universities and pool expertise and resources.
The president of Saarland University Manfred Schmitt was delighted: "The European spirit was already in the cradle of Saarland University when it was founded as a German-French university. Since then it has been a great concern of ours to educate convinced Europeans. Together with our partners at the 'University of the Greater Region', we have been pioneers in the field of cross-border European cooperation for more than ten years. We are now looking forward to contributing our many years of experience from this network and from partnerships with other international universities to the T4E Alliance, which has now been formally confirmed, and at the same time to profit from the fruits that this cooperation will bear."
Especially in the current corona pandemic, it is particularly important to facilitate student exchange through new formats. "That is why we have already laid the foundations for our cooperation in teaching in the past few weeks, so that the students of the seven partner universities can use the first online courses together. We therefore see great potential in this cooperation, both in the area of innovative teaching and learning formats and in terms of mobility, digitisation or stronger networking with regional players, and we are certain that the award as one of the selected 'European Universities contributes to further strengthening the visibility of Saar University and thus also of Saarland as an international university location", emphasised University President Schmitt.
Saarland`s prime minister Tobias Hans also congratulated the university on this recognition: "This success makes our Saarland University, with its European topics, a visible lighthouse in the european and international higher education landscape to a large extent. Especially we here in the heart of Europe and in the immediate vicinity of France and Luxembourg know how complex and fragile Europe can be, but also how much potential it has. It is very important to me to inspire our youth to intensify cooperation and exchange in Europe and to set the right course. Our universities have been committed to building Europe for many years and have created a wide range of training and further education opportunities for young Europeans.
The main goals of the European University "Transform4Europe":
1. European education
Within the framework of the Alliance, students will be offered joint interdisciplinary and european-oriented courses of study at Bachelor and Master level as well as in the form of joint doctoral programmes. Digital transformation, sustainability and social change will be included in the curricula as topics of the main areas.
2. Innovative teaching and learning environments
The focus is on the promotion of research-oriented and co-creative learning. Within the international network best practice examples will help improve teaching and learning. The development of innovative, virtual and mixed forms of learning is of particular importance here. The new digital learning spaces will also include an online platform to be open to all young and older people from the respective regions who are interested in further education.
3. Development of entrepreneurial know-how for the regions
The partner universities want to network closely with actors from various social areas in their regions, for example through lecture formats that involve companies and practitioners in teaching, or through summer schools on business and social issues.
4. Mobility and european campus
The exchange of students and employees within the alliance is to be promoted, also through short-term and flexible mobility programmes and virtual exchanges as a "mobility at home" experience. The recognition of degrees or even individual study contents should be simplified. A "European campus" is to be created by sharing the services offered at all locations.
5. Governance and sustainability
The network partners want to establish joint governance structures involving academic and non-academic staff, students and regional stakeholders. There will be close cooperation across campuses in the areas of fundraising, communication and mobility.