In June 2020, the European Commission awarded Saarland University and partner universities from six European countries the highly coveted status of 'European University' in recognition of their trans-European higher education alliance 'Transform4Europe'.
Transform4Europe is a partnership of like-minded universities, which, despite differences in size, scope and academic profile, share a common vision for higher education in Europe. Each of the participating universities is anchored in a different region of Europe but all see themselves as agents of transformation – shaping the future of Europe by fostering and promoting knowledge entrepreneurship.
Saarland University's Internationalization Fund now has a new funding category (funding category 5), which can be used to support research projects (funding volume up to €30,000) and other collaborative projects such as symposia, cultural events or networking meetings (funding volume up to €5,000) that are conducted jointly with our partner universities in the European University alliance Transform4Europe.
With the addition of three new partner universities to the Transform4Europe alliance (the Catholic University of Portugal, the University of Primorska in Slovenia and the French Université Jean Monnet in Saint Etienne), the spectrum of possible cooperation partners is now larger than ever. For more detailed information on funding opportunities and on how to apply, please go to the information page.
Members of the Transform4Europe alliance
The University of Alicante is a Spanish university whose campus is located in San Vicente del Raspeig in the province of Alicante in south-east Spain. The university was established in 1979 and currently has around 26,000 students enrolled.
The Estonian Academy of Arts is a public university located in Estonia's capital city Tallinn. The Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) was founded in 1914 as a school of applied arts by the Estonian sculptor Jaan Koort and today has departments in the fields of architecture, design, art history, media studies, conservation and fine arts.
The University of Silesia in Katowice was established in 1968 through the merger of the Katowice branch of the Jagiellonian University (Kraków) and the Pedagogical Institute in Katowice, which had been in existence since 1928. About 22,000 students are currently enrolled in the university's 7 faculties.
With around 25,000 students and 15 faculties, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski is the largest university in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The university takes its name from its patron saint, the scholar Kliment of Ohrid. It was founded on 1 October 1888 and is the oldest higher education institution in Bulgaria.
Founded in 1924, the University of Trieste today has around 27,500 students and a teaching staff of about 1000 in 12 faculties.
Vytautas Magnus University is a university in Kaunus, Lithuania. It was founded in 1922 and was originally known as the University of Lithuania.
Saarland University was founded in 1948 under the auspices of the French government as a bilingual university. The university has earned an international reputation for its research in computer science and informatics and for work in the life sciences and nanosciences.
During the three-year funding period, the Transform4Europe alliance will receive a total of five million euros in funding from the European Union. Around 116,000 students will be able to benefit from this new European educational partnership by making use of joint academic programmes and common service platforms. In addition, approximately 18,500 members of staff at these universities will have access to a European work environment where expertise and resources are pooled and where interinstitutional mobility is easier.
1. European education and training
As part of the Transform4Europe alliance, students will be offered interdisciplinary and interinstitutional academic programmes with a strong European focus (Bachelor's and Master's degrees) as well as joint doctoral research programmes. Programme curricula will include topics that address issues in the alliance's three core fields: digital transformation, sustainability, and societal transformation. Students will also benefit from improved options for student mobility, more entrepreneurial knowledge and enhanced access to foreign language learning programmes.
2. Innovative teaching and learning environments
Best practice teaching and learning models will be developed and innovative teaching methods created and shared within the alliance's international network of partner universities. The focus here is on promoting research-based education models and co-creative learning environments. Virtual and hybrid learning forms are also being developed – a process that was started before the global coronavirus pandemic struck and that has now only grown in importance and relevance. These new digital learning environments will include an online platform that can be accessed by anyone interested in further and continuing education initiatives in the regions represented in the alliance.
3. Entrepreneurial knowledge for the regions
The partner universities aim to work closely with regional stakeholders from different parts of society, for example by creating lecture formats that integrate the expertise of companies or experienced professionals into the teaching and learning process, or by organizing summer schools that address issues of entrepreneurial and societal relevance.
4. Mobility and the European campus
Student and staff exchanges will be encouraged by establishing short-term flexible mobility schemes, including virtual exchange programmes. The mutual recognition of academic qualifications, including individual modules, will be simplified. By promoting the joint use of services at all of the participating universities and by establishing virtual offices accessible to all partners, the alliance hopes to establish the idea of a shared 'European campus'.
5. Governance and sustainability
The alliance partners want to create highly integrated joint governance structures that will involve academic and non-academic staff, students and regional stakeholders. Close interinstitutional collaboration is planned in the areas of fundraising, communication and mobility.
Transform4Europe aims to become a major player and a role model within the European Education Area by 2025. It wants to create a sustainable alliance that will educate and train a new generation of motivated and skilled European knowledge entrepreneurs to drive societal transformation. The seven partner universities will work together to establish Europe-wide benchmarks for knowledge and innovation ecosystems in the participating regions with the aim of strengthening the European Higher Education Area. Another important goal for the alliance partners is the development of joint international study programmes that combine challenge-based approaches and innovative teaching standards with a strong emphasis on lifelong learning, joint degree qualifications and mutual automatic recognition of academic credentials and credits. As part of its proposed inter-university campus, Transform4Europe is also focused on developing innovative forms of mobility and cooperation to foster the professional and personal development of its students, academic staff and administrative personnel.
The alliance's mission is to become a model virtual inter-university campus by the year 2025. This campus will be the starting point for the joint strategic development of the alliance in close cooperation with the regions in which the partner universities are active. It will also act as the centre for the education and training of knowledge entrepreneurs by the universities in the alliance.
Transform4Europe has three main areas of focus: digitalization, ecology and sustainability, and social change and inclusion. These topics will be an integral part of the academic and continuing education programmes offered at the participating institutions.
To meet the challenges of the future, Europe needs knowledge entrepreneurs who can identify, embrace and actively create opportunities for innovation and change. Knowledge entrepreneurship differs from entrepreneurship in the traditional sense of the word in that it is not focused on the production of material goods or on maximizing monetary profit, but rather on increasing knowledge production and on developing application-driven knowledge and expertise. The Transform4Europe alliance has extended this concept of knowledge entrepreneurship to include a values-based dimension that covers aspects such as broad social responsibility and European citizenship. Transform4Europe graduates and the members of the universities in the alliance identify with this spirit of knowledge entrepreneurship and see it as a key element of their future education and training and as a core driver of all that they do.
Internal project coordination at the UdS
IB | Internationalisation Department
Tel.: +49 681 302-2879
Website of the Alliance