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Local ecosystems are key to success for Europe’s Knowledge Areas

September 30, 2020


Local ecosystems are key to success for Europe’s Knowledge Areas

EU Affairs


September 30, 2020

Today is an important day for European knowledge policies. ECIU welcomes the communication on a new ERA for Research and Innovation, Achieving the European Education Area by 2025 and the Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027. Investing in knowledge is crucial to tackling Europe’s challenges concerning climate, health and society in general. Universities have to work together both in Europe, nationally and locally in order to create added value. Both embracing the digital transformation and creating agile, flexible opportunities for skills and competence development for life are important for developing strong European knowledge communities.

ECIU welcomes the initiatives for European Universities that were announced today, as laid out in the European Research Area, European Education Area and Digital Education Action Plan. Synergies between Europe’s knowledge areas are important, because future-proof education requires excellent research and strong sense of innovation, and vice versa. ECIU looks forward to working together with other EU parties to strengthen Europe’s education, innovation and research capacity.

Solving challenges and involving the local ecosystem

Working across sectors is key to unlock Europe’s innovation powerhouse. Local ecosystems and communities must be involved in Europe’s knowledge initiatives to ensure societal impact. At the ECIU University, major societal challenges related to SDGs are addressed in connection with societal and industrial partners. Agendas on research, innovation and education are co-created and integrated in order to advance Smart Regional Development. The ECIU University is developing an all-European approach to Digital Transformation and the European Green Deal ambitions.

Digital education

Our new reality is virtual. The digital transformation has disrupted higher education, accelerated by the current COVID-19 pandemic. An ambitious European Digital Education Action Plan is more needed than ever. Universities are moving beyond online courses and are building fully online campuses using Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, big data and blockchain. ECIU University is working towards an XR campus. To make optimal use of the opportunities that digitalisation grants our students and society, we need the EU. You can find ECIU’s position on digital transformation here.


ECIU welcomes the ambitions of the EU to work towards a European framework for micro-credentials. Creating agile, flexible opportunities for skills and competence development for life and engaging with wider society are even more relevant in current times of physical distancing and a fast-changing labour market. Conventional education models focussing only on degrees are challenged. The micro-credentials movement supports the increased flexibility of education, facilitating accessibility for life-long learners and enhancing possibilities to work with society. Micro-credentials are of crucial importance to exciting future-focused initiatives. However, a common understanding of micro-credentials is lacking and this is hampering the movement reaching its full potential. You can find ECIU’s position on micro-credentials here.


ECIU is the leading international consortium of research intensive universities, with collective emphasis on innovation, creativity and societal impact, driving the development of a knowledge-based economy.