Nige Healey speaking at a conference
Monday, 8 July 2024

A University of Limerick-led European University Alliance application has been approved for funding by the European Commission, it has been announced.

UL is coordinator of the EMERGE (Empowering the Margins of Europe through Regional and Global Engagement) Alliance that comprises nine universities on the edge of Europe.

The EMERGE application for funding under the European University Initiative has now been formally approved by the European Commission, which was welcomed by Professor Nigel Healey, Vice President Global and Community Engagement at University of Limerick on behalf of the steering committee.

Professor Healey said: “This development is significant, because the European University Initiative (EUI) is one of the European Commission’s flagship programmes. 

“The Irish Government has made a commitment to financially support Irish members of European University Alliances and the EUI is one of the six pillars in its Global Citizens 2030 strategy for international higher education. All the Irish universities are now members of an Alliance, with UL becoming the second to be the coordinator or leader of a European Alliance.

“The alliance has brought together nine diverse regional institutions of higher education located on the European periphery through a shared desire to tackle the challenges of engaging with Europe and creating the European Educational Area in these marginal spaces.

“The purpose of the Consortium is to purpose is to increase inclusion and engagement from and in the European periphery to create a model of excellence in teaching, learning and research involving our students, staff and the wider community. It aims to produce a transformational and sustainable educational capability that enables a personalised educational journey for students and equips them to tackle global challenges,” Professor Healey added.

The EU Commission said 14 new European Universities alliances would join the 50 previously selected alliances, with each to receive up to €14.4 million over a period of four years.

The European Universities alliances bring together a new generation of Europeans and allow them to study and work in different European countries, in different languages, and across sectors and academic disciplines. Students can obtain a high-level degree by combining studies in several European countries, contributing to the international attractiveness and competitiveness of Europe's higher education. These alliances also bring innovation to Europe's regions by allowing students to work together with academics, researchers, enterprises, cities, authorities, and civil society organisations.

The 64 alliances span 35 countries, including all EU Member States, as well as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Montenegro, the Republic of North-Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Türkiye.

EUI is a transnational alliance of Higher Education Institutions who collaborate to develop deep long term structural and strategic cooperation promoting European values transforming the European Higher Education area becoming universities of the future.

The EMERGE Consortium members are University of Limerick, Universidade da Coruña, Spain, Université Rennes 2 and Université Bretagne Sud in France, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Univerzita Mateja Bela v Banskej Bystrici, Slovakia, Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany, Neapolis University Pafos, Cyprus and Democritus University of Thrace, Greece.

The consortium has been working together since 2019, with a memorandum of understanding signed by the universities in late 2022.

It is expected that the alliances will start their activities in autumn this year.