16 January 2019

Launch of Charm-EU: a new university alliance focusing on interdisciplinary, challenge-based education

From left to right Henk Kummeling (Utrecht University), Patrick Prendergast (Trinity College Dublin), Joan Elias (University of Barcelona), László Borhy (Eötvös Loránd University) and Patrick Caron (University of Montpellier)
From left to right Henk Kummeling (Utrecht University), Patrick Prendergast (Trinity College Dublin), Joan Elias (University of Barcelona), László Borhy (Eötvös Loránd University) and Patrick Caron (University of Montpellier)

The University of Barcelona, Utrecht University, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Montpellier and Eötvös Loránd University together launched Charm European University (Charm-EU), an alliance focusing on interdisciplinary, challenge-based education.

The alliance presented itself during a press conference, held at the University of Barcelona. The rector of the institution, Joan Elias, noted that one of the objectives of this network will be the construction of a unique and innovative academic offering revolving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), principles the members of the United Nations took on in 2015 in order to end with poverty, to protect the planet and guarantee prosperity.

Broad collaboration

On behalf of Utrecht university, rector Henk Kummeling signed the agreement. “One of our key ambitions is to further innovate our teaching model”, Kummeling said. “We want to offer students a broad, internationally oriented education, and prepare them for the labour market. I regard this new European Alliance as a way to strengthen these efforts. We want to be part of a European University network that allows us intensify and broaden collaboration that we already have, for instance through the League of European Research Universities (LERU), in order to achieve an even greater reach.”

Innovating education

Utrecht university wants to expand its knowledge in the field of online education and has a special interest in making education and training accessible to students who do not traditionally participate in higher education. Kummeling: “By joining forces in this alliance, we can provide all students and teachers with the skills necessary to play a part in solving the challenges facing society. I look forward to jointly innovating our education further, to make it more flexible, better accessible and more inclusive. Because that is what society needs us to do.”

European Universities initiative

In December 2017, the European Council decided to stimulate new networks of European universities aiming to improve the international competitiveness of higher education institutions and to strengthen the feeling of European membership, an idea that was previously mentioned by the President of France Emmanuel Macron. This initiative was launched and the first series of grant aid, within the EU Erasmus+ programme, has a funding of thirty million euros and will be published in July 2019.