Aurora universities are continuously pushing boundaries to increase their embeddedness in society and improve research and innovation support that caters to society’s and its citizen’s needs. Aurora and its universities engage in research and innovation activities on three different levels:

  • Aurora Research and Innovation for Societal Impact

  • Aurora representation in Brussels

  • Aurora research and support collaboration 

Aurora Research and Innovation for Societal Impact

The aim of Aurora – Research and Innovation for Societal Impact (Aurora RI) is to develop a research and innovation support agenda framed by the SDGs and based on the four priority domains of the Alliance:

Sustainability & Climate Change

Digital Society & Global Citizenship

Health & Well-being

Diversity & identity

The project wants to achieve an understanding of best practices and policies on grant support, sharing of research infrastructure and resources, cooperation on entrepreneurial activity, empowering human capital, mainstreaming open science and citizen engagement. Throughout the project, we will analyse and map best practices already in place, learn from each other, define barriers to cooperation at national and international levels, and find ways to overcome these barriers. The actions implemented during the project period aim at creating a platform for collaboration that will sustain beyond the lifetime of the project and equip researchers and students at Aurora Universities with a broad toolkit to conduct excellent research and disruptive innovation.

Main milestones:

  • An Aurora support plan for research and innovation

  • Best practices for pooling research infrastructures, expertise, data and resources

  • Strengthened cooperation on entrepreneurial activity and an Aurora innovation ecosystem

  • A plan to improve the capacities and capabilities of Aurora researchers and support staff

  • A toolkit sharing best practices on Open Science

  • Citizens and societal engagement embedded into our research activities

  • Maximised impact through collaboration with other European Universities

The project is the result of the part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project started in the autumn in 2021 with a kick-off at the Aurora Biannual conference in Tarragona, Spain. As the project progresses, we will update this page and add updates, news and deliverables to this page. Watch this space!

Aurora representation in Brussels

The Aurora universities collectively provide input to represent the Aurora positions on the development of EU R&I policy. For example, Aurora closely engages with EU stakeholders on policy development of Horizon Europe work programmes, its strategic plan, and missions (cancer and climate).

Aurora’s engagement with stakeholders in Brussels resulted in higher visibility of Aurora and its partners, and active participation in discussions, e.g. through the Aurora Central Office. Aurora works hard on its visibility and inclusion in (policy) conversations that are crucial for the higher education sector. Read more about our representation activities here

Aurora research and support collaboration

In addition to the Aurora work and joint efforts as a community, our individual member institutions of course also have extensive research ties and are involved in many R&I projects. For example, Aurora partners are collaborating on 41 R&I projects funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, 15 on health and wellbeing, and 19 on sustainability and climate change.

The context for the current programmes within the framework period 2021-2027 is given by the six priorities of the European Commission: European Green Deal, digitalisation, improving the economy, a democratic, free and safe Europe, European values and internationalisation, all of which are connected to the Aurora strategic priorities and linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The EU programmes most relevant for research and innovation:

Digital Europe

Digital implementation,  upscaling, skilling, education. Bridging the gap between digital technology research and market application. 


Health implementation, education, policies.

Horizon Europe

Funding for research and innovation actions

Research Resources

Aurora’s universities host a wealth of relevant resources for research. By sharing these resources, we aim not only to highlight the many different areas of activity within Aurora, but also to foster a sense of community among Aurora researchers. This mapping of relevant resources encourages the creation of hotspots for research that require specific resources that can be shared across the alliance to strengthen our community impact and commitment to the SDGs.