E³UDRES²: St. Pölten UAS Heads Alliance of 9 European Higher Education Institutions
The St. Pölten UAS and its partners have convinced the European Commission with their ambitious application: The European University E³UDRES² is to be extended until 2027 and will receive funds in the amount of approximately 14.4 million EUR. The main emphasis of the next phase will be on the intensification of the existing collaboration between the nine paner institutions.
Since 2020, the St. Pölten UAS has been one of only two higher education institutions in Austria to lead a European University alliance. “With our focus on the concepts of Engaged & Entrepreneurial Universities, on practice-oriented (continuing) education, applied research, intensive exchange with numerous stakeholders, and especially on the promotion of Smart & Sustainable European Regions, we have succeeded in positioning our European University E³UDRES² as a Europe-wide best practice example in the past few years. The extension of the funding is an important recognition of our joint efforts so far. It gives us the opportunity to develop E³UDRES² into a full-fledged European University, as intended by the EU Commission, thereby contributing to the strengthening of the European Higher Education, Research, and Innovation Area”, emphasises Hannes Raffaseder, head of the European University alliance and Executive Director of the St. Pölten UAS.
Congratulations from City, State, and Federal Governments
“I am very happy that the European University Alliance E³UDRES² coordinated by the St. Pölten UAS has been selected for continued funding by the European Commission. Thanks to its excellent anchoring in the region, the UAS is virtually predestined to develop and test innovative concepts for future-oriented higher education together with its partner institutions. The diverse activities in the fields of teaching, research, and development as well as knowledge transfer make the St. Pölten UAS a regional knowledge and innovation hub and an important partner for the business world and public bodies when it comes to overcoming today’s challenges. I congratulate the St. Pölten UAS on this great success”, says Martin Polaschek, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research.
"The extension of the European University until 2027 is another important step in the development of Lower Austria as an innovative location. With this success, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is once again drawing international attention to itself and to Lower Austria as a center of higher education. I congratulate all project participants on this outstanding confirmation of their work. This is a great international echo for the province," says Deputy State Governor Dr. Stephan Pernkopf.
"The Commission's approval regarding the extension of the European University St. Pölten is not only a confirmation of the work done, but also proves the growing importance of the UAS St. Pölten in the European Higher Education Area. With the European University St. Pölten, we can further advance the ambitious plans for the UAS and the region," emphasises Matthias Stadler, Mayor of the City of St. Pölten.
Expansion of the Network
In addition to the nine E³UDRES² partner institutions, the network will also encompass 36 associated partners, among them three Ukrainian higher education institutions and three from the Western Balkans.
“The great commitment of the E³UDRES² team and more than 30 letters of support from various ministries, companies, and institutions have paid off and we are very happy about the recognition of our work so far and the continuation of the alliance”, explains Hannes Raffaseder.
Smart and Innovative Regions
European Universities are among the EU’s most important flagship initiatives for the further development of the European Higher Education, Research, and Innovation Area. In this context, E³UDRES² (Engaged and Entrepreneurial European University as Driver for European Smart and Sustainable Regions) relies on the strengthening of regional innovation systems in order to support small and medium-sized towns and their rural surroundings in particular in their digital, ecological, and economic transformation: “Our central concern is the development and advancement of European regions beyond the big metropolises. The higher education institutions located there are well-anchored in their respective environments and play an important role for the future-proof development of the environment, economy, and society”, explains Gabriele Permoser, E³UDRES² Coordinator at the St. Pölten UAS.
In addition to the extension of the alliance, the focus areas and research networks surrounding the topics of “Health, Wellbeing and Social Inclusion”, “Digital Solutions & (Applied) Deep Tech”, “Resilient Economy & Innovation”, and “Creative Industries for Regions' Identity” will be expanded as well. Moreover, planning is under way for new joint degree programmes, PhD programmes, centres of excellence in research, innovation hubs for collaboration with start-ups and leading businesses, and the increase of activities for and with society. “We are going to found a joint supporting organisation in close cooperation with the involved higher education institutions in terms of strategic development. The idea is to take big steps towards our goal of establishing a full-fledged European University in the next years”, says Raffaseder.
The European University Initiative is the central measure of the new European Strategy for Universities and contributes strongly to the further development of the European Higher Education, Research, and Innovation Area. Currently, the establishment and expansion of 44 European University alliances is being promoted especially within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme, the EU programme for education, training, youth, and sport. The goal is to establish fully valid European Universities to strengthen the international competitiveness of European higher education institutions on the basis of future-oriented concepts. In 2020, the St. Pölten UAS was awarded the contract for E³UDRES². The confirmation of continued funding from the EU Commission is not only proof of the successful development work of the years since – it also ensures planning reliability until 2027 for further close collaboration with the partner institutions: Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, UC Leuven-Limburg University of Applied Sciences, Politehnica University Timișoara, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Hochschule Fulda, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Jamk University of Applied Sciences.