U!REKA European University Alliance

Ureka European University

U!REKA (Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance) European University is a transnational alliance with over 30 higher education institutions and other partners involved. Metropolia acts as the lead coordinator of the alliance.

Our vision is to create a profound shift towards climate neutral and eventually climate positive societies, where we educate professionals who are ready and equipped to accelerate this transition. We aim to contribute to the EU's mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities while collaborating closely with our large cities and local ecosystems.

Our alliance consists of six full partners that cover over 123 000 students and 13 000 staff members. The full partners are

In addition, our alliance has 26 associate partners:

  • 5 universities: Edinburgh Napier University, University of Bari, Odessa National Economic University, New Bulgarian University, University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna
  • 10 cities: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Amsterdam, Ostrava, Frankfurt, Ghent, Lisboa, Cascais, Oeiras
  • 5 regional/district councils/centres : Frankfurt Rhein-Main Metropolitan Region, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, East Flanders, The District of Offenbach, The Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre
  • European Networks: EURASHE, ERRIN
  • Other partners: Finnish Energy, The POLITEC&ID Value Knowledge Network, Waag FutureLab, Platform Beta en Techniek/Katapult

We also collaborate with other affiliates such as EIT Climate-KIC.


A photo of participants in the U!REKA Connects 2023 meeting
The alliance organises annual meetings. In 2023, the annual meeting U!REKA CONNECTS was held in Amsterdam.

Our U!REKA collaboration started in 2016 when six founding universities decided to harness their education, research and innovation activities to respond to urban challenges and offer students and employees opportunities to collaborate internationally.

We have deepened and broadened our collaboration throughout the years with different projects and initiatives. U!REKA Change Agents Programme, a great example of our projects, has gathered students from various backgrounds from across different partner countries for many years to work together on a challenge.

Another great example is U!REKA Lab: Urban Commons, our international and interdisciplinary blended learning and research project that involves participatory methods and invites local commoners in a co-creative process of knowledge creation.

In 2023, our alliance submitted a bid for the European Universities Initiative (EUI) call and was successfully selected to become a fully-fledged European University Alliance by the European Commission.

The successful bid, titled U!REKA SHIFT (Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance for Sustainable, Human, Inclusive and Future-proof Transition), aims to establish a long-term strategic and structural collaboration and widens U!REKA collaboration among higher education institutions and further towards local ecosystems.


U!REKA European University aims to contribute to the EU's mission for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities and collaborates to

  • establish a sustainable inter-university campus, based on a long-term strategy on education, ensuring seamless mobility and with respect for good governance;
  • become a lighthouse European University for challenge-based and collaborative learning and innovation; and
  • shape future-proof urban professionals who will accelerate the transition towards climate-neutral and smart cities.


In U!REKA SHIFT, we focus on seven activities that are each led by one of the partner institutions and accompanied by other partners’ representatives.

Metropolia leads the project management and governance. During the project, we improve and build a stronger and agile U!REKA governance through the active involvement of students and stakeholders and monitor and ensure that the results, processes, activities and deliverables of the project are delivered as planned.

The stakeholder and student engagement activities are led by HOGENT. The aim is to ensure that we co-create, co-implement and co-assess the alliance activities together with stakeholders and students.

One important goal relates to the development of an Inclusive and Connected Campus among the partners. We want to ensure that our students will be exposed to European mobility experience (virtual, blended or physical), during their studies and gain knowledge on sustainability and digital transitions. The campus activities are led by VSB Ostrava.

Another important goal concerns our joint RDI activities and cross-border cooperation with our local ecosystems. We are preparing three joint Centres of Expertise (CoE) to pool, integrate and strengthen existing research capacities and infrastructures and to share best practices. CoEs will focus on three transitions: Climate-Neutral Urban Communities, Transition to Circular Societies, and Innovative Governance Models & Citizen Engagement for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. These main activities are led by Amsterdam UAS.

We aim to offer students joint study opportunities and flexible study paths including interdisciplinary and international work placements. We also focus on the co-creation of our joint education framework and providing staff training for digital and green competences, innovative pedagogies for challenge-based and collaborative learning in an international, multicultural groups of learners online or on campus. Frankfurt UAS leads joint education activities.

The outcomes of all activities are communicated and disseminated strategically for all target audiences, both internally and externally. The communication, dissemination and impact activities are led by Polytechnic University of Lisbon.

Get involved

U!REKA European University alliance wants to ensure engagement of students, staff and community members in all its activities. Here are some examples of how to get involved and benefit from broad European collaboration.

More information

The U!REKA European University alliance has received funding from the European Commission in the Erasmus+ European Universities Programme under the grant agreement No. 101124308, UREKA SHIFT.

Read more about the U!REKA European University on its own website.

More information about the European Commission’s European University Initiative is available on the EU’s websites.

Contact us

Institutional Coordinator Niina Huovinen
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
niina.huovinen [at] metropolia.fi (niina[dot]huovinen[at]metropolia[dot]fi)

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Lead Coordinator of U!REKA European University Mona Roman
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
mona.roman [at] metropolia.fi (mona[dot]roman[at]metropolia[dot]fi)

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U!REKA SHIFT project funding