European Universities Initiative: Széchenyi István University was among the winners

Széchenyi István University, in an alliance with seven partner universities, has made a successful application for funding in the European Commission's European Universities Initiative. The five million euro grant will cover the costs of joint academic programmes, joint research and projects as well as exchange programmes for students and staff.

In December 2017, the European Council, consisting of the leaders of Member States, drafted the implementations of a number of initiatives. One of these was to strengthen strategic partnerships between higher education institutions across the European Union and to encourage the creation of 'European Universities', consisting of bottom-up networks of various types of universities. On the one hand, this will afford students the opportunity to obtain a degree by combining studies in different countries, and on the other hand, it will contribute to an improvement in the international competitiveness of the continent's universities.

The response to this was the European Universities Initiative, developed in collaboration with higher education institutions, student organizations, Member States and the European Commission (EC), as part of the efforts to build a European education and research area. In connection with this, after last year's 17 successful entrants, according to ECJ, in this year's competition the Board announced that 24 start-up university consortia were winners. One of these is the Regional University Network (RUN), which includes Széchenyi István University, Győr. Other members include the Polytechnic of Leiria and the Polytechnic of Cavado and Ave (Portugal), the Athlone Institute of Technology and the Athlone Limerick Institute of Technology (Ireland), the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), HAMK University (Finland) and Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (Austria). Before submitting the application in February, the University of Győr had started collaboration with them in four working groups, and bilateral relations were strengthened via joint projects.

Dr. Lukács Eszter 

Dr Eszter Lukács, Vice-Rector for Educational Affairs at Széchenyi István University, said that the eight universities had received a total of five million euros in support, of which our institution received €631,000 or about 220 million forints. In addition, winning consortia can apply for an additional €2 million to meet their targets. These include the launching of joint academic programmes, the carrying out of joint research and projects as well as exchange programmes for both students and staff.

 “Until June this year, one of the financial sources for the internationalization of the University was the EFOP 3.6.1 project, for the implementation of which 124 colleagues were involved at the beginning of 2017. We are very pleased that funding for this area over the next three years will come in part from direct support in Brussels,” stressed the Vice-Rector. “In recent years, more and more foreign students have come to us to study, but the expansion was mainly due to Asian countries. The success of the European Universities Initiative could also increase the proportion of European students, which we consider to be extremely important, many of whom will take part via joint academic programmes not only in part-time but also in full-time education.”

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