UPEC Launches Its First Aurora Summer School 

In June 2024, one month before the Summer 2024 Olympics in Paris, Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) will be hosting students from Aurora universities’ member institutions for its first-ever Aurora Summer School on Emerging Futures: Societal Innovation Meets Futures Studies  

On the heels of its integration into Aurora and the Aurora 2030 European university initiative, UPEC will be introducing its first Aurora Summer School during the summer of 2024. Targeted to Bachelor students, this intensive two-week course aims to train the next generation of leaders intending to make a tangible and sustainable impact on the world.  

Aligned with the Aurora Competence Framework, the course provides a world view of global challenges. It further gives students the opportunity to leverage their knowledge and work to respond to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and hence meets one of Aurora’s key objectives in the Aurora 2030 project. 

“The future is not a place in some later-than-now timeframe, it is a tool that helps us to change the way we look at the present: knowing how the anticipation process takes place, helps us make use of different futures in the now,” says Felipe Koch, Vice-Dean of AEI International School at UPEC. “It makes us more confortable with the uncertainty and more prone to innovative ideas.” 

Embracing Uncertainties in Emerging Futures 

At the heart of this summer school is the very real notion of addressing a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) environment and its potential consequences on our future. With two focus areas in Futures Literacy and Social Foresight, this course empowers students to both understand possible future scenarios and anticipate eventual changes that can impact societies and communities in the longer term.  

The ability to comprehend future possibilities and the social dimensions of change allows students to adopt a forward-looking mindset. It sets the stage for more informed decision making in the present, in order to better adapt to evolving uncertainties in the future.  

During the course, students will learn about anticipation mechanisms, strategic foresight and systemic thinking. They will be taught to distinguish between concrete and abstract futures, to identify and analyse emerging trends, opportunities and risks, and to prepare key stakeholders in developing better strategies and action plans.  

Transformation through Blended Learning 

This summer school takes place over two weeks, during which students will receive comprehensive instruction and practical experience through the Futures Literacy Lab at the AEI International School at UPEC. They will be exposed to the study of theoretical foundations and facilitation techniques to craft and lead change.  

In addition, over 30 hours of autonomous class preparation, lectures, teamwork, online videos and podcasts, aim to challenge students’ perspectives and enable them to shape the future of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  

This Aurora Summer School on Emerging Futures: Societal Innovation Meets Futures Studies goes beyond gaining knowledge; it transforms students by giving them the tools to catalyse real-world change.   

Aurora Executive Committee Drives Key Actions for Aurora 2030

The Aurora Executive Committee convened recently at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to discuss the strategy and critical actions moving forward in Aurora 2030, the second phase of the Aurora European university alliance.  

Following the European Universities Coordinators’ Meeting in February this year, the Aurora central office organised a three-day seminar for its Executive Committee. The seminar gathered Institutional Coordinators and experts from nine Aurora member universities, as well as representatives from the central office leadership team. On the agenda were important topics marking the way forward for Aurora universities. 

Managing Expectations for the Future 

Recommendations from the DG EAC (Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture)

Sabine Sainte-Rose, Aurora Programme Director, shared key recommendations from the DG EAC. These include a focus on the evolution of a blueprint for a European Degree and the conclusions following six experimentation projects with 90 higher education institutions. She also highlighted the Council’s recommendation on the development of a quality assurance and recognition system for European university alliances that can be adapted to countries with a more institutional approach in this matter. The Executive Committee further exchanged on the Council’s advice to develop incentives for higher education institutions. Among these incentives is to create transnational initiatives to promote attractive and sustainable careers within this sector.  

Expectations from the EACEA (European Education and Culture Executive Agency)

The expectations from the EACEA was one of the major takeaways from the European Coordinators’ Meeting in Brussels. Impact measurement is a key denominator of success for European university alliances. The methodology used and the metrics required to measure impact are non-negligible. Both must take into consideration the actual impact of alliances’ activities on the lives of students, staff and academics, beyond just mobility statistics. Markers of success integrate best practices for educational offers and the European inter-university campus experiences that demonstrate embeddedness, seamless mobility and recognition, all of which highlight the European values of inclusion and plurilingualism.  

In addition, Sabine highlighted the rich and thought-provoking exchanges shared with colleagues from other European university alliances in the following areas: 

  • National developments and progress in higher education, such as the recognition of microcredentials offered through a course by a partner institution. 
  • The perception and acceptance of the joint European Degree by the ministries and institutions of higher education. 
  • The foundational elements that contribute to a better structure and visibility of our course offerings. 
Alessandro Arienzo, Aurora Institutional Coordinator at University Federico II of Naples, moderates discussion on Aurora governance
Aurora Executive Committee and Central Office representatives

Structuring a European University Alliance 

Clémentine Perdriau from the Aurora central office, delivered her findings from the study that she had carried out on the governance models in European universities. She underlined that there was no “one size fits all” model: each European university alliance has specificities that result in a diverse set of governance models. 

Following this presentation, the Executive Committee discussed possible scenarios that could be developed as the governance structure for Aurora in this second phase between the years 2023 to 2027. They further established an initial base for a more long-term structure to ensure the sustainability of Aurora universities beyond the year 2027.  

Moving Forward in Aurora 2030 

The Executive Committee seminar continued with updates in the development of the following work packages (WP) and task teams (TT): 

TT10.1 on Communication and Dissemination 

Building a solid foundation is part of TT10.1 strategy for communication and dissemination in the Aurora 2030 project. Two fundamental elements supporting this objective are the development of the official Aurora Brand and Design Guidelines and the Institutional Trusted Local Communicator (TLC) role standardisation for communication representatives of each institution within Aurora. These were presented by Aniza Pourtauborde, Aurora Communications Manager and Anna Klas, Aurora Communications Officer, both of whom are part of the TT10.1 leadership team.  

Aurora Executive Committee and Central Office Representatives
Aurora Executive Committee workshop on communications
TT10.3 on Holistic and Strategic Approach for Impact 

Ilyas Kenadid, Head of Strategic Projects at Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) and TT10.3 Lead, reported on the different methodologies in managing, monitoring and measuring the impact of Aurora within the nine member institutions, their immediate stakeholders and the wider ecosystem.  

TT6.1 on Aurora IT Development and Services 

Thomas Baumgartner, Institutional Coordinator for Universität Innsbruck, spoke about the progress of the Aurora Virtual Campus, led by his university under Work Package 6 for Green and Digital Campus. He focused in particular on the Course Catalogue as a one-stop shop for all opportunities for students from Aurora universities. Topics covered consisted of the definition of an Aurora course, the digitalisation of credentials and the creation of a committee of transversal expertise in education, mobility and communications. 

WP8 on Enabling Mobility and Exchange 

Joan-Miquel Canals, Institutional Coordinator for Universität Rovira i Virgili (URV), shared initiatives encouraging international learning experiences among students, staff and academics. Through increased joint mobility opportunities between Aurora member institutions, demand is high for short-term courses.  

TT5.2 on Academic Collaboration and Community Building 

Martin Schwell, Institutional Coordinator for UPEC, outlined recent advances following the Call for Incentive Research Collaboration launched in mid-February this year. He spoke on developments in the creation of the Aurora Research Council (ARC) comprised of cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary representatives from all Aurora member universities.  

Building on the foundation created during the first phase of Aurora, and leveraging on this experience, have enabled the Executive Committee and the Aurora central office to offer a holistic and visionary approach to the Aurora 2030 project.  

Aurora Digital Campus: Laying the Foundations for a Joint Digital Campus

Over the course of four intensive days, IT experts and administrative staff gathered at Universität Innsbruck to set the course for a joint digital campus.

Part of the Aurora 2030 programme includes enabling seamless access to educational and training activities for students and staff from Aurora universities. Set under Task 6.1. Aurora IT Development & Services of work package 6 for Green and Digital Campus, this task further aims to deliver shared interoperability, in line with the expansion of EU standards for online authentication and authorization to access digital services. 

The starting point of these discussions was to develop a common understanding of the digital campus. Three key building blocks were identified. The first building block is a common central course catalogue that collects information on courses from each individual university system. From this foundational block come procedures for automated enrolment and course registration processes in the local systems. This includes access to the local teaching management systems. Finally, the last building block constitutes the issuance, exchange and archive of digital credentials, for which new IT solutions will need to be developed.

For the joint course catalogue, a pilot that has already been developed will be expanded to include Aurora universities the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Universität Rovira i Virgili (URV). The functionality of this joint course catalogue will be further tested. The University of Duisburg-Essen and the URV will also develop a proof of concept for automated enrolment and course registration within the local university systems. In the meantime, the Universität Innsbruck and the University Federico II of Naples will be responsible for developing a concept for digital credentials.

The four-day meeting and workshop culminated in setting up additional working groups to tackle the various topics and to further realise the plans for a joint digital campus for Aurora universities.

Aurora universities Push to Inspire Inclusion and Accelerate Progress for Women 

On International Women’s Day 2024, Aurora universities set a leading example by fostering an environment that nurtures inclusivity and celebrates women’s pivotal roles in driving innovation, scientific discoveries, and societal advancements.

These initiatives and activities spearheaded by Aurora universities are aligned with United Nations’ theme “Accelerate Progress: Invest in Women”, and the International Women’s Day (IWD) theme, “Inspire Inclusion”. Both focus on expediting women’s rights, achieving gender equality, inspiring women from all walks of life, and challenging barriers that historically impeded women’s progress.


University of Iceland 

As part of a larger conference called “Science and Society”, the University of Iceland (UIce) organised an event on the gender gap that remains an issue within the business sector, and especially for women in top management positions. Notable people from the university, business, and also the Parliament, including Iceland‘s Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, gathered to discuss how the government could help reduce this gender gap. 

Read more about the event (in Icelandic): Hverjir geta dregið úr kynjabilinu í stjórnendastöðum í atvinnulífinu.



Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Did you know that women are the reason that Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) exists today? On this International Women’s Day, VU Amsterdam commemorates the fundraising initiative launched and organised by women since 1932. The objective of this collective effort was to build a medical faculty, physics and chemistry laboratories, and also to improve hospital accessibility and development aid abroad. Today, this country-wide initiative has come under the name of “Women VU Aid”.  

Read the story in detail: Women are the reason VU exists. 


University of Duisburg-Essen 

Gender studies have a long track record at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE). During the International Women’s Day 2024, UDE celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Essen Center for Gender Studies. The university also kicked off its new Institute for Gender-Sensitive Medicine, to strengthen gender research even further. These special occasions called for an interview with Dr. Maren A. Jochimsen, Professor Dr. Anke Hinney and lecturer Dr. Andrea Kindler-Röhrborn.  

Read the interviews (in German): Pionierinstitutionen der Geschlechterforschung. 



Universität Innsbruck  

For this special occasion, Universität Innsbruck organised an interactive poster (re)design exhibition to raise awareness on gender equality as the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the United Nations. The exhibition was created by communication designer Elisabeth Kopf and is part of the UniNEtZ project to support Austria in the implementation of the SDGs by providing specialist know how: Universities make their social and natural science, technical and artistic expertise available and in this way take responsibility for a sustainable transformation – in an ecological, economic and social sense. 

Watch the video of the interactive exhibition.


Copenhagen Business School 

Is gender equality in the labour market still an issue today? Research from Copenhagen Business School (CBS) highlights the challenges that women face at different levels in their professional development. From job loss to women in top management to bias against women entrepreneurs, these studies explore in depth, the reasons behind enduring inequality, its consequences, and the actions taken to move towards a more equal future for women.  

Delve into the research: Exploring Equality Challenges in the Job Market.



University of Naples Federico II  

In one of its initiatives to celebrate International Women’s Day, University of Naples Federico II (UNINA) brought to light the discrimination and prejudice against women working in the marine sector. In collaboration with Oceanitalians, UNINA organised an exchange with three female professionals working in oceanographic research, Professor Flegra Bentivegna, Dr. Angela Landolfi, Dr. Sara Biancardi, and psychologist-psychotherapist Anna Pisterzi. 

Watch the replay of this discussion (in Italian): Donna Nella Scienza 2024. 



Palacký University Olomouc

In line with its long-term vision, Palacký University Olomouc (UP) has committed to equal opportunities through initiatives such as its “Gender Equality Plan”. In addition, the university has also recently featured several female scientists in a series of podcasts. These interviews aim to break down barriers for women in scientific fields, and to inspire other women to consider career possibilities in scientific fields.  

Listen to the podcast (in Czech): Žena ve vědě.  



Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Every year for International Women’s Day, the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) coordinates a number of activities through its Unitat d’Igualtat (Equality Unit) and in collaboration with other URV Departments and Services. One of the highlight events this year was the ceremony awarding the founders and pioneers of the Bloc Feminista de Tarragona established in the 1970s, with the Maria Antònia Ferrer i Bosch Distinction. They led the way in organising the fight against the lack of rights for women in Tarragona. Thanks to these visionary leaders, today they are able to have open discussions on labour discrimination, gender equality in education and employment.

Find out more (in Catalan): La URV commemora el 8M amb activitats que posen en relació la discriminació de les dones amb altres desigualtats.


Université Paris-Est Créteil 

This year at Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), the whole month of March is dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusivity. All month long, UPEC organises conferences, workshops, thematic stands and exhibitions tackling issues such as gender equality, sexual discrimination, prejudice against the disabled, and violence against women, to name a few. Spotlight on a conference by female scientist Fahimeh Robiolle, who shared her trials and tribulations as a female Iranian living in Teheran under the rule of Mohammad Reza Chah Pahlavi. During the conference, she shared her story of emancipation and how she became one of the first women to study nuclear physics in Iran.  

Discover other activities at UPEC during this special month (in French): Mois de Mars, Mois de L’égalité et de L’Inclusion à l’UPEC. 

Aurora Student Conference 2024 Promotes Intercultural Understanding and Collaboration

Hosted by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) in Tarragona, Spain, the Aurora Student Conference 2024 brought together students from across Europe for two days of immersive cultural exchange and collaborative workshops.

Open to all Aurora Student Council members and Aurora Student Ambassadors, this conference aimed specifically to promote intercultural understanding and collaboration among its participants. As such, the event featured a diverse array of activities, including cultural learning sessions, language quizzes, and workshops. Attendees had the opportunity to engage in cultural speed dating, traditional dance sessions, and peer-learning discussions. 

This annual student conference is part of the goals set within the Aurora 2030 Work Package 7 on Capacity Building and Community Engagement, to upscale the engagement of the Aurora universities’ student communities by encouraging teamwork and partnership between them. The two-day programme kicked off with a warm welcome by Josep Pallarès, Rector of the URV, and Joan-Miquel Canals, URV’s Commissioner for International Networks. Following the opening session, students were invited to participate in immersive intercultural activities that offered an eye-opening experience and a better understanding of URV’s community and the lively Catalan culture. 

Embedding Aurora Values into the Student Community

Delving deeper into the essence of Aurora, student participants explored its vision, ambitions, and achievements through a comprehensive introduction. This session provided invaluable exposure – particularly for students new to Aurora – on what Aurora represents to its internal and external stakeholders. It gave light to the Aurora vision to match academic excellence to societal relevance, and emphasised how students can play a role in contributing to the Aurora mission and in affecting positive impact. 

World Café: The Impact of Aurora
Cultural session on Catalan culture and language

Throughout the conference, participants engaged in thought-provoking discussions during the World Cafe session, where they brainstormed and shared perspectives on the Aurora values. Topics ranged from Diversity and Inclusivity to International Education, emphasizing the dedication of Aurora members to nurturing a diverse and globally-aware academic community.  

Enhancing Personal Development

Part of the Aurora Student Conference included a workshop entitled “Speak UP!”, hosted by academic Markus Öbrink from Palacky University Olomouc. Aimed at enhancing students’ communication skills, the workshop consisted of practical exercises and guidance that enabled students to learn tools and strategies for effective public speaking.

Student from Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) at the Speak Up! Workshop
Cultural tour of the historical city of Tarragona

During the two days, attendees had the opportunity to explore the historical city of Tarragona and discover its vibrant Catalan culture. Guided tours offered glimpses into the city’s heritage, complementing the conference’s focus on intercultural understanding and collaboration.

The Aurora Student Conference 2024 underscored the importance of cross-cultural dialogue, and fostering connections and understanding in today’s globalised world. The conference left Aurora students inspired to continue building bridges across borders, both in Europe and beyond. 

Academic Careers

Aurora Universities Network Offers Recommendations for Diverse and Sustainable Academic Careers in Higher Education

Amsterdam / Brussels – February 2024

The Aurora Universities Network has released a set of recommendations aimed at enhancing the attractiveness and sustainability of academic careers within higher education. These recommendations, rooted in practicality and alignment with EU Council guidelines, represent a joint effort to address the evolving needs of academia.

Focusing on Alignment with EU Council Recommendations

Central to the recommendations is a focus on aligning with EU Council recommendations on research careers, talent retention, and the CoARA principles. By adhering to these directives, the Aurora Universities Network seeks to ensure coherence and harmonization within the European academic landscape.

Emphasizing Multifaceted Career Roles

Recognizing the diverse nature of academic roles, the recommendations advocate for the inclusion of education, research, innovation, and societal outreach in academic career paths. This acknowledges the reality of hybrid careers and the fluidity with which individuals move between different functions within academia.

Rethinking Recognition and Rewards

A significant departure from conventional approaches is the proposal to reassess the acknowledgment and incentive structure within academia. Instead of solely focusing on publication metrics, the Aurora Universities Network suggests a holistic approach that encompasses teaching, societal impact, research support, management, leadership, and patient care.

Maintaining Realistic Standards

The proposal emphasizes the importance of maintaining realistic standards while striving for consistency across the European Union. Highlighting the need for comprehensive frameworks that accommodate the diverse career paths present in modern academia, it draws on examples such as the Dutch Recognition & Awarding strategy.

Looking Ahead

The Aurora Universities Network remains committed to promoting diversity, sustainability, and excellence in academic careers. By embracing these recommendations, institutions can work towards fostering a more inclusive and vibrant academic community.

For inquiries, please contact Dr. Pim de Boer at w.i.de.boer@vu.nl or Dejan Lukovic at dejan.lukovic@uibk.ac.at.

EURIDICE: Shaping the Future of Digital Education and Innovation in Europe

Exciting developments are underway in Aurora international education, thanks to the newly launched EURIDICE project. Officially initiated at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and co-led by the University of Naples Federico II, EURIDICE brings together representatives from European institutions, companies, and universities.

EURIDICE – short for European Inclusive Education for Digital Society, Social Innovation, and Global Citizenship – commenced with a dynamic meeting at VU Amsterdam. Gathering a diverse group of 25 partners, including universities, research centres, cultural and scientific institutions, and companies, the event saw 30-40 attendees on-site and an additional 27 participants joining online from 10 countries worldwide.


Building Digital Society and Global Citizenship

Expanding Aurora’s pilot domain on Digital Society and Global Citizenship, EURIDICE aims to advance Europe toward a digital future by nurturing the next generation of innovators and leaders. These individuals will be equipped with advanced digital skills tailored to societal transformation and global citizenship.

Attendee Dr. Michal Malacka, Vice-Rector for Strategy and Regional Affairs at Palacký University Olomouc, commented, “Aurora has long been dedicated to the Digital Society and Global Citizenship. Initially starting with a common educational module, the project evolved into a comprehensive master’s study program. The complexity of this initiative requires innovative solutions, incurring increased costs. To expand our efforts towards reaching these goals, we have utilized the Digital Europe program of the European Commission to secure funding for the EURIDICE project and facilitate the preparation and implementation of study programs.

EURIDICE’s objectives are two-fold:

  • To establish an international, interdisciplinary, and collaborative master’s degree program (a Joint MA Degree) focusing on digital society, social innovation, and global citizenship.
  • To enhance the teaching competencies of educators in higher education by developing a programme for professional training and lifelong learning.


Interdisciplinarity At the Heart of EURIDICE

EURIDICE’s interdisciplinary essence revolves around advanced digital technologies, encompassing fields such as AI, Machine Learning, Data Science, and Cybersecurity. Beyond technical skills, the project integrates perspectives from law, humanities, social sciences, and business/economics to understand the digital landscape comprehensively.

Dr. Pietro Nunziante, Associate Professor in Industrial Design at the Department of Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, was one of the main speakers during the first day of the EURIDICE launch. Providing insight into collaborative learning design, he explained the concept with a particular focus on blended and remote learning.

The consortium driving EURIDICE is robust, consisting of eleven universities across Europe, two independent digital research centres of excellence, two cultural institutes, six small-medium enterprises, and four associated universities, three of which are from the Global South. The project seamlessly integrates ongoing academic digital research into education programs, fostering strong connections with industry and societal institutions. This collaborative effort promises to shape the future of inclusive digital education and innovation in Europe and beyond.

A Conversation with Hanuš Patera, the Student Council President

The student council president holds immense responsibility and comes with high expectations. It evokes images of a resilient student leader, a champion for the unheard, and a key player in the complex realm of university governance. At the Aurora Student Council (ASC), Hanuš Patera exceeds the mere symbolism of the position; he personifies the virtues of unwavering commitment. In this interview, we delve into the goals and aspirations of Hanuš for 2024, the council’s theme of diversity and inclusion, and insights on the student conference. 

About Hanuš Patera

Hanuš started his journey as a psychology student at Palacky University Olomouc; he entered Aurora with a mind eager to soak up university life’s opportunities. He recounts: “My path to becoming the student council president was long and enriching. This is my third year in the Aurora Student Council. I first started as a member, the first one from Palacky University. Then, when it was time to elect the new vice president, I thought, “I see so much potential here; maybe I will run for this position.” The next thing you know, I was the vice president. And then, after another academic year came to pass, I decided (after many discussions with the former president Alma Ágústsdóttir) that I would run for the position of the President of the Aurora Student Council. I was honoured to be elected to this position and have enjoyed it ever since.”

For Hanuš, the joy lies in seeing young people connect and interact. He feels privileged to play a part in facilitating these connections. The current team at the Aurora Student Council is a constant source of motivation and inspiration. Regarding shaping higher education, Hanuš appreciates the access his role offers him. He shares: “I am grateful for the access my role provides – I am part of the Board and General Council in Aurora. I am regularly invited to the meetings of Institutional Coordinators, where we discuss strategic decisions regarding student involvement. Overall, I believe that thanks to this platform, I can impact students’ decisions.”

Hanuš currently devotes his efforts to developing a strategy document to guide future ASC members. In doing so, he adds: “In the past, the ASC always started back from ground zero when a new academic year hit. With this document, we aim to guide priorities – outlining completed tasks, feasible goals, ongoing projects to complete, and past initiatives. This will serve as a roadmap for future ASC members, helping them make informed decisions about the council’s direction.”

Diversity and Inclusion and Insights into the Student Conference in Tarragona

In 2024, the student council’s theme is encouraging Diversity and inclusion in Aurora member university campuses. He notes that it is crucial to prioritize diversity and inclusion as essential steps for societal progress. He states: “To move forward as a society, we need to be welcoming to every single member. This applies especially in higher education: to erase barriers, we must make learning accessible to everyone. Hanuš emphasizes how the student council is undertaking a meticulous review to identify three areas within each partner university where the university could improve regarding diversity and inclusion. He says: “We are also trying to develop meaningful policy implementations that could be applied across Aurora. We also organised a workshop focused on inclusion and cross-cultural communication at the Student Conference in Tarragona.”

One of the recent initiatives of the student council was the Student Conference on Diversity and Inclusion held at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. The conference was attended by student council members and participants of this year’s Aurora Student Ambassadors Programme. Unpacking conference details, Hanus shares: “We began with an informative session on diversity and inclusion, covering key terms and recommended practices for fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Subsequently, we engaged in activities centred on cross-cultural communication to align with the inclusivity theme. These activities included a quiz on diverse customs, a “Running a Business Across Cultures” workshop, a delightful exchange of humorous idioms from participants’ native languages, and various engaging exercises. It was truly an enjoyable and memorable experience!”

Organising the Student Conference was a notable achievement for the ASC. At the conference, ambassadors could connect with their ASC representatives, which helped broaden each other’s horizons. The attendees had a great time together, which, he notes, is a crucial part of the conference’s experience. Other student council initiatives include having finished a draft of the strategy document. Additionally, he shares: “We plan to gather feedback from relevant parties within Aurora. We have started to prepare our plenary session for the spring biannual in Naples, but I won’t reveal our theme yet ;)”

With a keen focus on diversity and inclusion, the council’s initiatives aim to raise awareness and institute meaningful changes that echo throughout the campus. The successful integration of these values into everyday campus life exemplifies a future where all students can thrive, supported by respect and understanding.

Aurora Welcomes Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) As New Member

Aurora Associate Partner since May 2022, Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) officially joins as Aurora Full Member and becomes part of the Aurora 2030 programme within the framework of the European Universities Initiative launched by the European Commission.   

The Aurora 2030 programme brings together nine research-intensive higher education institutions and five associated academic partners across 13 countries, working towards a common strategic vision: Matching academic excellence with societal relevance. UPEC’s entry into this alliance of European universities, further contributes to the collective commitment in achieving sustainable impact through education, research and innovation.  

“We are very pleased and proud to welcome UPEC as a full member of Aurora Universities Network,” says Jon Atli Benediktsson, President of Aurora and Rector of the University of Iceland. “The emphasis at UPEC on high-quality education and research for societal impact makes UPEC an excellent and important partner of Aurora.” 

As a university engaged in being a service to its region, UPEC aims to redefine its university model and strengthen its actions to address key societal and environmental challenges. This also includes supporting further European integration in higher education and research through collaboration with other member institutions within Aurora. 

Shared Coordination and Expertise 

The Aurora 2030 programme consists of ten work packages and 33 task teams, coordinating collaborative actions in identifying and tackling common goals in the fields of diversity, sustainability, research, innovation, education and student engagement. These actions include, but are not limited to, green and digital campus initiatives, research assessment, inclusion and student mobility.  

“UPEC’s institutional strategy is well-aligned to Aurora’s five hubs: Sustainability & Climate Change, Digital Society & Global Citizenship, Health & Well-being, Cultures: Diversities & Identities, and Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation,” says Martin Schwell, Vice President, European Affairs and Aurora Institutional Coordinator at UPEC. “Furthermore, UPEC’s integration into Aurora enables opportunities for our students, staff and academics that go beyond international borders and disciplines.” 

As a new member integrated into this programme, UPEC will be playing an active role in Aurora’s  work for the next four years by co-leading two strategic work packages, on the one hand Enhancing Quality of Research through an Aurora Research and Innovation Community, and on the other hand Impact and Dissemination. 

Dedicated Representation  

Being part of Aurora  goes beyond cooperating within the work packages and task teams of the Aurora 2030 programme. UPEC’s commitment to this alliance is also demonstrated by the representation of its community of students, academics and administrative staff in opportunities aligned with the university’s mission: sustainable campus, student life, and science with and for society.  





Aurora Launches Call for Incentive Research Collaboration

In the wake of the Aurora 2030 Kick-off in November 2023, the Aurora European University alliance further consolidates its scientific and academic collaboration among member institutions by building an Aurora Research and Innovation community.  

Building on the progress from the first phase of Aurora, this Call for Incentive Research Projects, Thematic Summer Schools and Early-stage Researcher Mobilities is part of Aurora 2030 Work Package 5: Enhancing Quality of Research through an Aurora Research and Innovation (R&I) Community, and therefore aims to foster a fertile environment for the excellent quality of research and research collaboration through shared values and practices within Aurora. 

“During its first phase, Aurora universities have successfully set up an inventory of research infrastructures that they are ready to share for common research,” says Matthias Beekmann, Director of Observatoire des Sciences de l’univers at Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) and Task Team 5.2 Leader on Academic Collaboration and Community Building. “With the incentive call launched today, we want to go a big step forward in bringing researchers from Aurora together.” 

Indeed, through common research activities and mobility actions, the present Call will continue to strengthen the relationships among researchers and scientific communities within member institutions and raise awareness about R&I activities and Aurora on a much broader academic level.  

Driving Research for Education and Societal Impact 

Harnessing collective knowledge from the Aurora scientific community enhances the quality of research and, thus, increases its ability to address key world challenges and make a positive and sustainable societal impact in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With this vision in mind, the present Call welcomes applications in research disciplines and topics that fall within the five Aurora 2030 educational hubs: Sustainability & Climate Change, Digital Society & Global Citizenship, Health & Wellbeing, Culture: Diversities & Identities, and Social Entrepreneurship. Going further than this, the Call is open to all research disciplines as long as the proposed project fosters real new collaboration.  

 To continue growing the next generation of Aurora academics prepared to conduct research, impart knowledge and catalyze change in a meaningful and durable way, this Call intends to create opportunities and incentives for both early-stage and established academics by supporting three types of key actions:  

  • Incentive and Collaborative Research Projects
    This action supports concrete exploratory research activities that emphasise the complementarity of competencies and approaches gained from the expected collaboration between researchers of different Aurora member institutions. 
  • Thematic Summer Schools
    This action comprises opportunities for career development, knowledge-sharing and network/community-building through thematic disciplinary training for early-stage researchers. 
  • Short-term Research Secondments for Early-stage Researchers 
    This action boosts researchers’ skill set by supporting short-term mobility of up to three months in a research laboratory or unit of an Aurora 2030 full-member institution. 

The Building Blocks of the Aurora Research and Innovation Community  

Raised on the foundation of collaboration between nine higher education institutions in Europe, today Aurora officially releases its Call for Incentive Research Projects, Thematic Summer Schools and Early-stage Researcher Mobilities, one of the building blocks towards an Aurora R&I Community. The deadline for submission runs until 12 pm (CET) on April 30, 2024