Group: For students

Looking back at the International Summer School: Refugee Law & Rights

In support of our Ukrainian partners at V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, the International Summer School Refugee Law & Rights took place between the 15th and 25th of August, in Olomouc. The hybrid school, co-organized and implemented by Palacký University Olomouc and Karazin University, welcomed 24 participants both online and in person.

The participants came from six countries including United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, and Ukraine. They comprised both undergraduate and postgraduate students of social sciences, mostly from law studies, sociology, and human rights.

During ten dynamic days, the participants followed lectures, engaged in discussions and participated in an extensive evening program, during which the students had a chance to engage with professionals in the field, UNHCR experts, as well as a plenary sessions on Peace Building and Recovery with Karazin University Staff and Peace Education MA student from the University of Innsbruck.

As part of the ongoing Aurora Universities donations and support campaign for Karazin University, the school was able to provide 5 students from Karazin University free of charge online participation, and to engage another 5 university professors and 2 administrative stuff in its organization and full program implementation, alongside the UP and International experts.

A detailed report of the International Summer School on Refugee Law & Rights can be found here.

The full program of the summer school can be found here.

Aurora offers exciting opportunities for students

Aurora offers students a variety of exciting opportunities in the new academic year. Whether students are interested in learning about international collaborative projects, improving their transversal skills or participating in exciting courses abroad, Aurora has something to offer to every student.

Aurora invites students to participate directly in its endeavours through the Aurora Student Champion or Ambassador schemes. By participating, students are simultaneously given the opportunity to participate directly in international projects, improve their skills for their future careers and receive a grant to participate in the Aurora student conference. Students who wish to become an “Aurora Student Champion” or an “Aurora Ambassador” apply to participate by filling out an application form. The application deadline is the 18th of September.

Antonia Hamann, a master´s student in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland, took an active part in the Aurora Student Schemes last academic year as an Aurora Student Champion. She says that participation has had many positive effects on her. “For example, I have learned to use design thinking methodology to develop solutions under the supervision of experts in a workshop in Spain with other students. I gained a lot personally as well from my participation in Aurora by meeting and talking to amazing people from different countries. We both worked together and enjoyed events together; some of these people have become my good friends”.

She says, however, that her participation in a working group developing a new Aurora master’s programme in the field of “digital society” was the highlight of the academic year. There, she shared the student viewpoints and participated in a conference in Amsterdam about the topics the programme will cover. “It was really exciting to see how a master´s programme is developed and to contribute to it. The highlight of this working group was the “Connecting Worlds” conference in Amsterdam which I attended. There, we continued to talk about the programme in person, and I got to meet professors and students who are involved in the project”.

Antonia recommends that students check out the Aurora Student Schemes and consider participating in them. “I would definitely recommend participating in the Aurora schemes because it is a great experience to meet students online or in person who are outside your faculty, university or even country and talk about relevant topics regarding your university. I would advise students who will participate to be proactive in suggesting topics they want to talk about and not to be shy to share their ideas within their working group.

Aurora also offers exciting courses this autumn semester, and students are encouraged to visit the new Aurora Virtual Campus to explore the opportunities. Among other things, you can find courses that students can take online at the University of Innsbruck which cover the topic of sustainability from different perspectives. The application deadline is the 4th of September, and students from all fields of study are encouraged to apply.

Particular attention is drawn to a new course developed by Aurora, Perspectives on Europe in a Global Context, which tackles European matters from various perspectives. “In light of the events that have taken place in Europe this year, it is very important that universities teach students about the history of the continent, the diverse cultures within it, the importance of European cooperation and the main challenges that come with it,” says Guðmundur Hálfdánarson, professor of history, who leads the working group developing a new programme within Aurora that focus on issues relating to cultures, diversities and identities within Europe.

Aurora Student Schemes

We are pleased to announce that you can now apply for the Aurora Student Schemes for the upcoming Academic year 2022/2023. Become part of an international community of students by taking on one of the following two roles:

Student Ambassador

If you want to be a part of an international community of students, the role of Aurora Student Ambassador will be perfect for you.

In this role, you will be given the opportunity to take part in a variety of online and in-person events, together with students from across all Aurora Universities.

You can participate in several international workshops that will boost you personal and professional development. At the end of the year, we will invite you to participate in the Aurora Student Conference, where you will meet your fellow ambassadors.

Student Champion

This role is created specifically for students that want to go the extra mile.  You will directly work on the key Aurora topics, in addition to the joint activities provided to Aurora Student Ambassadors.

If you get at least 15 hours of combined participation in the program and the working groups, you will receive the certificate of Aurora Student Champion.


The program for the student ambassadors and champions will take place between October 2022 to July 2023. In October, a first joint online session will serve as an introduction to the scheme and Aurora in general and you will be given information on the various working groups and activities you could join.

More detailed information on the program for the academic year 2022/2023 will be announced soon!


The application is open from July 1st to September 18th, 2022.

Applying is simple, just sign up through the application form below.

Aurora Student Schemes – Application Form

If you have any questions, you can contact your local Aurora Office, or


Student Schemes – Workshops Concept Program

Aurora Student Schemes 22-23 – Flyer

Aurora Student Schemes 22-23 – Poster

Aurora is looking for dynamic students

Aurora is a cooperation between 11 universities across Europe that aims to increase quality and innovation in higher education in response to rapid societal change and strengthen the search for solutions to the biggest challenges facing humanity. To this end, Aurora Universities will create a variety of opportunities for students to gain international experiences as part of their studies and the skills, knowledge and drive to become social entrepreneurs and leaders.

Since the start of the cooperation, the universities have placed great emphasis on the students’ voices influencing all of Aurora´s policies, projects and innovation endeavours. To mobilize students, the Aurora Student Council has established The Aurora Student Champions and Ambassadors Schemes in collaboration with the universities and applications are now open until October 17th.

Alma Ágústsdóttir, president of the Aurora Student Council, says that this is a unique opportunity for students at Aurora Universities. Through their participation, students are directly involved in international cooperation and policy-making, develop skills that are in high demand by employers and have the opportunity to work with students from other universities and participate in Aurora events.

Alma also says that it is a great advantage how much flexibility Aurora offers students who are interested in participating. “Students can choose to participate as an Aurora Student Champion or Aurora Ambassador, depending on the level of commitment they want to take on and what type of projects they want to work on. Students can also suggest projects based on their own interests that help spread the Aurora message“. The aim is to find about 10 students at each university to participate in Aurora as either Student Champions or Ambassadors this academic year. When asked about what´s next, Alma says there are many exciting things going on for students within Aurora. “Yes, there are really exciting times ahead. For example, students are going to Spain in November to participate in a workshop to find solutions to improve student’s experience of higher education and enable more students to take part in their studies abroad. I am also going to promote a new project soon that Aurora students are invited to take part in, which is about presenting the students’ vision for the future in the context of an important conference next year, the Conference on the Future of Europe, organized by the European Union in Strasbourg”.

Aurora Universities support The Guild’s concerns and recommendations related to European AI Act proposal

Aurora Universities support the concerns, statements and recommendations provided by The Guild[1] regarding the proposal of the European Commission for the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act)[2].

The proposal for the AI Act was published in April 2021 and is being discussed by the European Parliament and Council of the EU. The Act describes harmonised rules on the use of AI and may impose a burden on research and researchers. The statement and recommendations by The Guild call upon the European Commission to also meaningfully engage academic researchers and other research actors in future monitoring and amending processes of the Act.

Main concerns deal with 1) the AI approach attempting to regulate AI systems while not banning some practices, 2) defining AI too broadly, thereby encompassing non-AI technologies and not being future-proof, 3) the additional burden to EU research grant applicants as they already have to provide information on potential ethical risks, and 4) the consequences of unharmonised interpretation and harmonisation across EU and EEA member states.

Recommendations include a call to 1) establish a high-level expert group of academic researchers to advise on amending the body text or annexe of the AI Act, 2) setting up regulatory frameworks enabling banning jeopardizing practices, 3) ensure a harmonized implementation of the AI Act across the EU, 4) ensure avoiding an overall prohibition of some AI systems, and 5) ensure that universities can act as ‘regulatory sandboxes’ and can test AI systems in safe environments, e.g. by supporting research projects on the concepts introduced by the AI Act and the compliance to the Act.

Aurora will share and discuss these concerns with relevant stakeholders and policy and decision-makers at national and European levels.

[1] The Guild of European research-intensive universities. The Guild sets recommendations for the AI act. Weblink:

[2] Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonized rules on artificial intelligence (artificial intelligence act) and amending certain union legislative acts. Com/2021/206 final. Weblink:

Lively discussions with teachers at the Aurora seminar on interdisciplinary learning outcomes

At the beginning of September, Kees Kouwenaar, former Secretary-General of Aurora and specialist in the Aurora Competence Framework at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, visited the University of Iceland.

The purpose of the visit was to invite teachers and directors of academic development within the University of Iceland to become better acquainted with Aurora and discuss how the Aurora Competence Framework can support teachers in strengthening their students’ interdisciplinary skills in addition to subject-specific skills and knowledge. The seminar generated a lively discussion on how to better enable students to tackle societal challenges and diverse jobs in a dynamic and technological world, in accordance with the goals of HÍ26. Participants shared their suggestions for the continued development of the Aurora Competence Framework, which will be useful in the coming months.

Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland and Aurora President, also met with Kees. During the meeting, the successful collaboration between the University of Iceland and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in recent years was discussed, which has resulted in extensive student and staff exchanges between the universities increased internationalisation of studies and a total of 7 million euros in funding from the European Commission to deepen and strengthen the cooperation between Aurora Universities as part of the European Universities Initiative.

The Rector also congratulated Kees on his recent award from the European Association for International Education (EAIE) for his outstanding contribution to international collaboration in higher education. The EAIE is Europe’s largest forum in this field and provides a robust platform for university staff and experts to exchange new knowledge and ideas that contribute to successful internationalisation.

Kees says that the purpose of founding Aurora was exactly this, to create a solid network for European research universities with common values ​​and goals to help each other achieve even better results. “I immediately liked the idea of ​​founding Aurora because I have always felt that international collaboration should also help universities, students and teachers to make their core activities even better – not just be a nice additional thing on the side.”

Kees says the support from the European Union has helped to integrate the Aurora partnership even better into the institutional strategies and policies of the member universities. “Part of the benefits that the EU support brings us are the risks and costs associated with not achieving the results we aim for in the coming years within Aurora. The recognition from the EU has made Aurora universities more visible and garnered them great prestige both in their home countries and in Europe, and it is therefore, crucial to ensure continued EU funding for Aurora by demonstrating concrete results and impact, allowing us to maintain this prestige which can open many doors in the future”.

Regarding the development of education, Kees is convinced that Aurora will be useful to the member universities in various ways. Aurora’s motto is ‘to learn from and with each other’. Doing things together is the key vehicle for students, teachers and other university staff to learn from each other, whether through joint modules, by offering students international experiences, for example, through learning or training mobility abroad, or through staff exchanges. “

When asked what his hopes the long-term impact of the Aurora partnership and the Aurora Competency Framework will be, Kees says the answer is simple but very ambitious. “I hope that it will result in our students being equipped with not only subject-specific knowledge, but also possessing the more general skills and mindsets needed to be responsible members of society and who take the initiative in making our societies better places to live in”.


Open Aurora course at Universität Innsbruck

For the upcoming Wintersemester 2021/2022 Universität Innsbruck is offering two new courses to all Aurora partner Universities students. The application period is between 30 August and 12 September 2021.

Sustainability & Climate Change

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Be able to think critically about their own lives and situations with respect to climate change and sustainability
  • Improve their knowledge of sustainability and climate change with respect to other cultures and be able to enter into discussion on the topic with people of other cultures
  • Understand the background and structure of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Improve their knowledge of sustainable earth systems, lifestyles and mobility with respect to SDGs and be able to reflect critically with respect to their own lifestyles
  • Be able to engage with a real business and undertake a sustainability assessment for a business
  • Understand communication strategies with respect to communicating research to the public and implementing policy changes


Structure of the course (limited number of participants!)

Interactive format

The course will comprise five key components.

  1. Introduction
  2. Frontal lectures and small discussion groups on sustainability and climate change
  3. Workshop on undertaking a sustainability assessment for a business
  4. Seminars and discussions with external stakeholders on communication and policy implementation
  5. Synthesis and critical thinking of topics covered


Cultural Encounters and Conflicts: Doing Diversity in Higher Education in the Aurora European Universities Alliance (Aurora Brown Bag Lecture Series)

Learning Outcomes

Students will learn about: diversity and its use as a societal resource, different approaches to diversity studies and their application in the context of higher education, current networking initiatives of the universities within the European Universities Alliance and much more.

Structure of the course (no limitation of participants!)

Lecture series

Further information on the program and participation can be found by clicking the button below

The Martí i Franquès Call 2021

Applications from master’s graduates (or equivalent) who would like to pursue a doctoral degree at Universitat Rovira i Virgili are welcome. In this call, we will be offering PhD positions under two different editions: STANDARD and MSCA-COFUND.

In 2021, the PhD selected candidates (one position reserved for a researcher with disabilities, under the MSCA-COFUND Edition) will be the beneficiaries of a 3-year employment contract and all the advantages of the Martí i Franquès Programme:

  • Highly competitive and attractive salaries
  • The chance to participate in co-tutorship; that is, in a cotutelle agreement between other universities and the URV
  • An international environment, supported by the endorsement to the European Charter & Code
  • Enrolment in excellent doctoral programmes
  • Access to a comprehensive research training package, together with an attractive transversal skills programme
  • The opportunity to undertake research in one of the top 600 universities in the world (101-150th THE Young Universities Ranking)
  • Access to high-quality facilities and infrastructure for research & innovation
  • Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment
  • Equal opportunities for all

The positions are based on individual projects encompassing all areas of research: Sciences, Health Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Architecture, Social and Legal Sciences.

The Martí i Franquès research grants programme, a public-private cooperation designed to attract highly talented doctoral researchers to work on exciting research projects. This programme honours the scientist Antoni Martí i Franquès (Altafulla, 1750 – Tarragona, 1832), who made remarkable contributions not only to the fields of biology, physics and chemistry but also to the economic development of Southern Catalonia. He was the first scientist to accurately establish the composition of air.

The Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Spain, is a modern public higher education institution, internationally recognised for providing high-quality teaching and top-of-the-line research, as shown in the international rankings.

Applications are open from July 1st, to September 6th. More information on the programme and how to apply here.

Aurora Summer School 2022: Borders and Places. The Spatial Dimension of Culture

Call for Papers

The interdisciplinary Aurora summer school is a joint project of the following three doctoral programs (DP) located at the University of Innsbruck: “DP Austrian Studies”, “DP Borders, Border Shifts and Border Crossings in Language, Literature, Media”, and “DP Dynamics of Inequality and Difference in the Age of Globalization”. It will focus on the spatial dimension of culture in a wide range of disciplines, such as literature and cultural studies, history, anthropology, or linguistics. The students will discuss theoretical perspectives as well as different methodological approaches to the concept of space and place, including new sub-disciplines, as, for instance, Border Studies.

Furthermore, a part of the Aurora summer school will be dedicated to the research projects of the participants, which will be presented and discussed in small working groups and poster sessions. By creating such a collaborative environment, this summer school’s main objective is to establish networks between early career researchers and give them the opportunity to be part of the development of institutional collaborations between the Aurora partner universities.

Location: The university conference centre Obergurgl in Oetztal (Tyrol) is an ideal location for such an event. Situated in the historical landscape of the Oetztal valley, the venue represents the cultural construction of space in situ on many levels. Different excursions in this unique region (e.g. Oetztaler museums) will be part of the agenda. The centre also allows for a productive atmosphere in which students can network and exchange ideas.

Finances: There is no fee for this Aurora summer school. Organizers will try to find financial support for accommodation and travel costs.

The organizers invite PhD students in the humanities from the Aurora European universities alliance to join the Aurora summer school and to present their research projects in an international and interdisciplinary setting.

Application: Please apply with a cv and a short abstract (max. 2.000 characters) of your doctoral project, outlining its potential for interdisciplinary discussions on the cultural dimension of space. The number of students participating in the summer school is limited. In the case of more students applying than spots available, priority will be given to excellent projects whose research focus is clearly situated within the school’s thematic field. Applications are to be sent to the consultant of the summer school’s organizing team, Sarah Agath:

The deadline will be on 31 October 2021

Aurora Student Champions and Ambassador End of the Year Event

As you know, the Aurora Student Champions and Ambassadors Scheme has finished for 2020/2021, and we are already looking forward to welcoming returning and new Champions and Ambassadors for the next academic year.

A celebratory event was held on the evening of 16 June and was well attended by Aurora Students, Aurora Staff and the Aurora and University of Iceland President, Jon Atli Benediktsson.

A number of Champions and Ambassadors shared personal reflections of their Aurora journey representing their own Universities on areas of importance to the Network and Alliance.

For those of you that were unable to attend, please view the recording of the evenings’ event here: