Together we make U!REKA SHIFT
Nearly 200 people from 10 countries across Europe convened in Amsterdam from 30 May–2 June for the U!REKA Connects annual networking event ‘Let’s Shift’. Hosted by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS/HvA), the event focused on the shift needed for a sustainable future, both within U!REKA and beyond. The chairmanship of the alliance for the next two years was passed on to Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, starting from September 2023.
The Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance (U!REKA) is a network of European higher education institutions across Europe. Its annual event, U!REKA Connects, is hosted by a different partner each year. The gathering is a prime opportunity for strengthening existing partnerships and forging new joint activities.
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is an active member of U!REKA, and will be taking over the chairmanship of the alliance for the next two years from September 2023 onwards. Metropolia’s CEO, President Riitta Konkola becomes the chairperson of the Steering Committee.
“As international applied research, innovation, and education network, with a longstanding collaboration since 2016, U!REKA’s ambition is to educate, shape, and deliver the European professionals of tomorrow as orchestrators of smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. It’s a pleasure to start as chairman of the Steering Committee of the excellent U!REKA consortium”, Riitta Konkola says.
(Photography credits: Monique Kooijmans)
Shifting to a climate-neutral Europe
The Let’s Shift event theme relates to U!REKA’s European Universities (EUI) ambitions. Earlier this year, the network submitted its U!REKA SHIFT proposal to the 2023 EUI call. The U!REKA SHIFT (Sustainable Human Inclusive Future-proof Transition) project aims to turn the U!REKA alliance, together with 24 associated partners, into a fully-fledged U!REKA European University Network, with a common vision of climate neutrality and beyond.
Inspirational plans were shared by the working groups about the U!REKA SHIFT ambitions in a forward-focused session led by European Universities Initiative coordinator Mona Roman.
“The tight integration of research with education in U!REKA SHIFT facilitates in building strong societal impact boosting the European transition towards climate-neutral and smart cities”, Mona Roman says.
U!REKA’s plan to establish a Student Board was announced by HOGENT President Koen Goethals and student representative Roxanne van de Voorde.
“U!REKA’s ambition is to educate, shape and deliver the European professionals of tomorrow. What better way to reach this goal than by involving the students themselves? Student participation encourages democracy and stimulates the growth of skills necessary for a true European professional”, says Roxanne van de Voorde.
U!REKA Connects has evolved since its first networking event in 2015, which was primarily an internal event for administrators and colleagues involved in internationalisation policy. This year, the event opened its doors to external stakeholders such as EURASHE (the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education) and UAS4EUROPE. These are the two major advocacy groups representing the interests of hundreds of universities of applied sciences (UAS) in Europe.
Tim Uebelen, who works at UAS4EUROPE and the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR) GmbH, joined U!REKA’s Steering Committee to discuss the latest EU policy developments and how U!REKA can contribute to strategic European topics such as the Innovation Agenda, Skills Agenda, Green Deal and the EU Missions.