A stronger future through collaboration

Rector Ladislav Janíček reflects on the purpose of European University Alliances and the role of associations such as CESAER in advancing international collaboration in education and research.
25th June 2024
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In April, our university hosted the CESAER Task Force Learning & Teaching. Among other topics, we discussed the role and governance models of European University Alliances within the European Higher Education Area. About a month later, our university hosted the General Assembly of our EULiST alliance, bringing together 10 predominantly technical universities from 10 European countries. Three years of cooperation within EULiST, driven solely by motivation and conviction about the value of such collaboration, culminated last year in the recognition of our Alliance as a European University. Coincidentally, the Brno University of Technology assumed the presidency of the Alliance for the next two years at this General Assembly.

At both forums, there was extensive discussion about the importance of participation in such alliances and membership of associations in the life of individual universities.

In the EULiST Alliance, we asked ourselves, what does it mean to be a European University? Is it really a university as such? In essence, it is an international community of mutually supportive partner universities linked by a common vision and strategic goals, working together to achieve agreed objectives. The Alliance represents an internationally distributed expertise of similarly based universities possessing unique professional competencies and strengths, creating a truly unique and competitive education and research offering, along with related international activities. It is a unique platform for internationalisation, enabling the symbiotic mobility of students, academics, and researchers. In our Alliance, we have clearly agreed that our priorities must reflect the pragmatic needs of our target groups: students, young researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and academics seeking international experience. Therefore, the Alliance must pursue clear and specific goals, generating benefits that support the institutional goals of our allied universities. Above all, we recognize the critical importance of internationalisation, and the EULiST Alliance provides the ideal platform for this.

For example, we agreed to map the areas of excellence of each of our universities to create a bank of mutually beneficial activities, educational products, and research opportunities that can be shared and further developed. By leveraging the best of each institution's expertise and infrastructure, we can achieve significant synergies, broadening and deepening our collaboration. We also aim to profile the Alliance as an international source of best practices, procedures, methodologies, and settings that can become a reference to support decision-making in the management of our own universities. Each of our universities operates within its national environment, fulfilling unique roles, needs, and strategic priorities. We understand the challenges of promoting necessary changes at home to reflect development trends and societal needs. Thus, international references, experience, transfer of good practices, and the implementation of agreed common practices within Alliances are ideal for achieving progress and motivating the development of our universities.

For the further development of cooperation, it is essential that our partnership in the Alliance is based on pragmatic activities that bring added value to all our universities, both nationally and internationally. We agreed on the need to revisit the mission and vision we initially set out to clarify why our Alliance exists, why we want to be part of it, what we expect from it, and how we will integrate its values and principles within our universities. We are aligning our strategy to achieve our strategic goals and fulfil our vision, with full respect for our current roles and agendas.

What is the role of associations such as EUA or CESAER in particular? We see their political and conceptual role as paramount. Today, practically all CESAER Members are also members of European University Alliances or European Universities. I believe that CESAER, as an association of selected technical and research universities, is an important player and a respected platform for supporting and promoting educational and research policies in the European Education and Research Areas. These policies aim to support and build national value-added economies based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and research. In this sense, we expect to shape our further cooperation and the contributions we aim to make.

Ladislav Janíček

Rector of Brno University of Technology

Chairman of the Governing Board, EULiST

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