On 9-10 June the ECIU University Board, composed of the Rectors, Directors and Vice-rectors of the ECIU member universities, convened at Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania. The Board meeting agenda had several strategic questions, including the next steps towards the ECIU University Vision, the European Legal Statute, and the approval of the ECIU Recognition Accord.
A recognised European legal statute is essential for delivering on the ECIU University's ambitions as outlined in Vision 2030. Recentlly, the European Commission opened the pilot on institutionalised EU cooperation instruments to explore the feasibility of a possible European legal status. During the meeting, the Board agreed on the strategic relevance of applying for this call to co-shape the European legal statute for European University Alliances.
The Board members also discussed the next steps after the publication of ttwo important ECIU position papers. In May 2022, ECIU University launched the Challenge-Based Research (CBR) way of working as an opportunity to increase the impact of academic research. It is a way of directing innovation and research power to achieve broader social, policy and economic goals. The ECIU Board discussed the implementation the CBR in ECIU University ecosystem, which is of specific relevance for the ECIU University Smart European Regions (SMART-ER) initiative.
Another important document, the third ECIU micro-credentials paper, was presented on Friday, 17 June 2022. It strengthens the frontrunner role of the ECIU University related to micro-credentials. This new paper focuses on the lessons learnt within the ECIU University in implementing micro-credentials across the member universities and recommendations to support movement in Europe and beyond.
A significant milestone for the ECIU University and its learners was the approval of the ECIU Recognition Accord by the Board. The ECIU University, with its challenge-based learning, micro-modules, and other learning opportunities represents a break from traditional formats. Therefore, the integration of ECIU University activities into the existing quality assurance context of member universities is key. With approving the ECIU Recognition Accord, the foundation was laid for the joint acceptance and promotion of ECIU learning opportunities.
Among fruitful discussion and strategic decisions, the meeting in Kaunas had another opportunity to celebrate. KTU team invited the Board members to join the opening of the modern ECIU University space in the premises of KTU library. The new space is equipped to suit the needs for hybrid, online/onsite meetings and events. The space to meet and work together is an important tool to foster the international and multi-disciplinary dimensions of the ECIU University.
Màrius Martínez, ECIU President, commented on the meeting as having valuable discussions and important steps taken towards the ambitions and the Vision 2030.
“ECIU University is for all of us much more than a project, it is our way of thinking about the future of Higher Education in Europe. A special moment of the Board meeting was the opening of the ECIU University space at KTU. Colleagues from all across Europe are impressed by this innovative collaborative space that connects societal stakeholders, researchers and learners to find answers to societal challenges. This new space clearly shows the strong commitment of KTU towards our European University that is transforming research, education and innovation for the benefit of society.”, Martínez concluded.