The European University Ulysseus has started its journey this Thursday, the 17th of December, with a kick-off meeting in which the six rectors of the partner universities of the alliance have participated. In his welcoming message, Miguel Ángel Castro, the Rector of the University of Seville (coordinator of the project), has congratulated the participants of the meeting for been selected by the European Commission as one of the 41 European Universities destined to be one of the universities of the future: “It is a big success, a great honour, and at the same time a real challenge for all of us to lead this amazing project.”
After the presentation of the project in February this year and its further approval in July, “now it is the beginning of the game,” Jeanick Brisswalter, President of the Université Cote d’Azur (France) pointed out: “In Nice we are ready — we have built a very good team and now we are just waiting to work for our great project.”
“The project name is inspired by one of the most famous Greek heroes,” Federico Delfino, Rector of the University of Genoa (Italia) pointed out. “Indeed it is as ambitious and versatile as the Homer’s Ulysses.” Ulysseus starts a challenging 10-year journey with the same enthusiasm and determination as the Odissey’s hero. During the first three years of the project covered by EU funds, the initiative will focus its efforts on designing and co-creating the joint governance and management structures, as well as the pilot programs for the different activities. By 2030, Ulysseus will be consolidated as an internationally attractive, open, person centered and entrepreneurial European University of excellence.
“In Slovakia, one of the serious topics of discussion is the potential integration of the universities in order to increase the quality of education, research, development and innovation activities and to be more attractive for national and international students”, Anton Čižmár commented, as the responsible for Innovation and Technological transfer of the Technical University of Košice (Slovakia) in representation of the Rector Stanislav Kmeť, who was not able to attend. “Ulysseus could be a very good practice here.”
“I see Europe as our hope, our future and in strategic terms, also our destiny,” Andreas Altmann, Rector of MCI | The Entrepreneurial School® (Austria), added. “This is why we all in academia, in education, in science, in politics, in business, culture, arts, in all the other sectors, should do our utmost to create joint opportunities across the continent.”
“In Finland this is the darkest time of the year. At the moment we receive 5 hours and 51 minutes of daylight,” Teemu Kokko, President of the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (Finland), concluded. “So we need a lot of light bulbs. For us Ulysseus is and will be a very important lightbulb.”
Approved by unanimity
The meeting also led to the approval of the governance structure of Ulysseus by unanimity, as well as the composition of the International Advisory Board and the RADAR observatory, a structure for closely following the project that seeks to become a reference for the monitoring of short term and long term changes in economy, society, labor market and competencies.
Ulysseus, which is currently in its planning phase, will pass on to the executive phase in March 2021, when the Governing Council of Ulysseus counts on all of its appointed members.
Carmen Vargas, general coordinator of the alliance and Vice-Rector of Internationalisation of the University of Seville, pointed out during her presentation of the executive summary of the alliance the different satellite proposals already presented as part of the Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 programs: “These proposals are part of our sustainability plan. These, and the more to come, will help us to go beyond the EC funding for Ulysseus, and move to the next step beyond 2023.”
Ulysseus is one of the 41 European Universities selected by the European Commission to become the universities of the future. Led by the University of Seville together with five other universities in Europe (the University of Genoa, Italy; Université Côte d’Azur, France; the Technical University of Košice, Slovakia; MCI | The Entrepreneurial School®, Austria; and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland), the project will allow students, researchers and graduates to move freely between universities, carry out internships in companies and start high-impact research projects.