“You are all now part of the Ulysseus Community!,” said Ulysseus General Coordinator Carmen Vargas in her closing remarks of the Ulysseus Open Event held on May 11, 2021. “With your participation in today’s Open Event, we are kick-starting a wonderful journey of collaboration and innovation through a broad range of opportunities that we will launch in the following months and years, that will contribute to shape the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area, and hence the future of Europe,” Vargas added.
The Ulysseus Open Event brought together more than 1.2K registrants around the matchmaking tool B2match with the aim of interconnecting the diverse actors of the Ulysseus Innovation Ecosystem and to help at co-creating the Ulysseus structure. The virtual platform, which will still be available for the next month, allowed to carry out not only a fully-packed and diverse agenda, but also the possibility to schedule up to 57 1:1 meetings between researchers, innovators, students, citizens, and representatives of companies, institutions, and NGOs, leading to establish project collaboration in the framework of initiatives such as Horizon Europe or Erasmus Plus. Over 140 opportunities are still online on the Ulysseus Open Event marketplace, including those promoted by Ulysseus Innovation Hubs.
“Our Strategic Priorities are centred on a number of issues which of course are also recognisable in the Mission of Ulysseus,” remarked President of Academia Europaea Sierd Cloetingh during the first Plenary session Building synergies between education, research, and innovation: the Ulysseus Innovation Ecosystem. According to Johan Stierna, Team Leader and Scientific Advisor on EU policy in the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) in Seville: “We are living in an historical moment. We are investing so much money that it’s scary. It’s more than 10 times the Marshall Plan.” In this context, “at least 36 Ulysseus satellite project proposals will be submitted during the Ulysseus initial term, either under Erasmus+ or Horizon Europe,” announced Siegfried Walch, from the Ulysseus Joint International Center.
Mobility played an essential role in the discussions held during the first Plenary session. “Brain circulation is essential. By setting new platforms such as Ulysseus, you can generate synergy by having activity at different spots. No brain drain, but really synergy,” Cloetingh stated. “What we are living this morning is part of the European construction. For most time of history, Europe has unfortunately not been a peaceful place. The European construction changed this, together through networks,” Stierna added. Both the event’s opening and the plenary sessions were livestreamed through the Ulysseus’ Facebook, Twitter and YouTube official pages.
“We have presented our six Innovation Hubs, which are key and unique structures within the European Universities initiative, which will bring together students, researchers, entrepreneurs, companies, and public authorities to innovate and co-create solutions for the challenges that Europe is facing as a society,” Vargas explained. “These Innovation Hubs have been designed to ensure diversity, inclusiveness, equal opportunities, transparency and environmental sustainability, and we are so excited to see the projects and activities that will be launched in the following months, thanks to your engagement and participation.” Recordings of the parallel sessions will be made available on the Ulysseus website and social media on the next days.
“We are currently building, co-designing, the generic structure of what Innovation Hubs should be. Those will be built through the inputs of all the members of the Alliance taking into account their experience,” explained Innovation Hub Coordinator Sylvain Antoniotti (Ageing and Wellbeing, Université Côte d’Azur, UCA) during the second Plenary session on Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence. This session was conducted by the Innovation Hubs from Ulysseus members’ Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (Haaga-Helia, Finland) and the Technical University of Košice (TUKE, Slovakia). “We see Digitalisation and AI as two closely interlinked domains,” highlighted Innovation Hub Officer for Digitalisation Viliam Fedák (TUKE).
“Where do we see our six Innovation Hubs at this same time one year ahead, in May 2022?,” Vargas asked herself in her closing remarks. “We see projects and activities being born thanks to your collaboration, and with Ulysseus support, presented to access resources to fund your initiatives, for example through the Erasmus + and the Horizon Europe program. We see students, researchers, entrepreneurs and companies connect through Ulysseus Innovation Hubs, bringing together their knowledge, skills and capacities to overcome European challenges.”
Other opportunities include joint degrees, mobility schemes, MOOCs, or micro-credentials, for traditional and non-traditional students to achieve all the formal and non-formal education for professionals in the labour market. “We will also reinforce traineeships and career development programmes, entrepreneurship and student associations as a priority. Ulysseus students will be able to design a flexible curriculum with basic competences and transferable skills”, Vargas pointed out.
The Ulysseus Digital Platform, which aims at being the “one-stop-shop for Ulysseus activities” and a social network including personal sites for teaching, learning, researching and innovating, is also amongst the top projects the European University will launch soon.
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.