24 July 2020

TRAIN4EU+ project awarded Horizon 2020 funding in the special call for European University Alliances

One year after becoming one of the 17 pilot ‘European Universities’ co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the 4EU+ Alliance is awarded additional funding in the special Horizon 2020 ‘Science with and for Society’ call to support the research and innovation dimension of European University Alliances.

The supplementary grant will serve for the development of long-term joint strategies on research and innovation, in line with the alliances’ overall visions and strategies. As such, the special Horizon 2020 grant will not cover the funding of joint research activities in the alliances. Instead, it will support coordinated institutional transformation efforts at the research and innovation (R&I) level, including multiplying and mainstreaming open science practices, strengthening human capital, embedding a strong equal opportunities culture, reinforcing co-creation with the non-academic sectors or digitalisation of research support processes.

TRAIN4EU+, which stands for Transforming ReseArch & INnovation agendas and support in 4EU+, is rooted in the 4EU+ Alliance’s ambition to strive for excellence in each and every aspect of their roles as comprehensive, public research-based European universities, be it in education, R&I, administration or public engagement. It is also a response to the objective reflected in the 4EU+ mission to support our researchers ‘as they continue to expand the limits of knowledge’ and to ensure that the knowledge and innovations produced by 4EU+ member universities help society address the challenges of our times. The project aims at improving the quality of R&I support at 4EU+ member universities by developing a culture of co-learning and co-innovation within the 4EU+ Alliance based on a thorough, cross-institutional best-practice assessment.

A systematic methodology will be applied to identify the best models, procedures, approaches and lessons learned across 4EU+ universities’ R&I support services and structures, and to co-develop transformative action plans. An ambitious dissemination and communication effort will ensure the project outcomes are made available for use outside the Alliance and reach policy makers, peer universities and university alliances, business and industry stakeholders and the wider society, thus making a constructive contribution to the ongoing effort of developing the European Research Area and preparing the European universities for the future.

Although the Erasmus+ ‘European Universities’ project focuses exclusively on the education dimension and supports collaboration in the development of innovative pedagogies and new curricula, the link between research and education is very apparent in the 4EU+ education strategy. The need for challenge-based and research-based approaches was also highlighted in the recent call for 4EU+ educational projects.

The 4EU+ Alliance remains committed to fostering research cooperation among academic staff from 4EU+ member institutions. Seed funding programmes such as the mini-grants funded by Charles University or the Flagship 2 research mini-grants organised by the University of Warsaw as part of the “Excellence Initiative - Research University” programme enable 4EU+ research teams to carry out exploratory research and develop advanced, highly competitive proposals to be submitted in international research funding calls.

The 4EU+ Governing Board has expressed their appreciation for the efficient work of the 4EU+ inter-university team led by the experts from the University of Copenhagen. The team had only a few weeks to prepare the proposal and succeeded in doing so, despite coronavirus restrictions and special arrangements at their institutions.

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