ENLIGHT: collaborating towards educational transformation and innovation
Founded in 2019 and selected in July 2020 under the Erasmus+ call for European Universities Initiatives, ENLIGHT stands for "European university Network to promote equitable quality of Life, sustainability and Global engagement through Higher education Transformation".
Educational transformation and innovation
ENLIGHT brings together nine universities* from the four corners of Europe, thus truly embodying the geographical, cultural and linguistic diversity of the European continent. The partner universities will draw upon this broad range of experience, the true strength of the network, as they pursue an ambitious strategy for educational transformation and innovation. This strategy will define and address five main flagship challenges which are key determinants of societal well-being and sustainability: health and well-being, climate action, digital innovation, equity, energy transition and circularity.
As the project is deployed, the ENLIGHT universities will work closely with their academics, researchers, students, citizens, businesses and cities, favoring an open approach, without barriers or borders, for learning, teaching, research, and innovation. The aim is to provide students with the opportunity to refine their knowledge through advanced research and, thanks to flexible international study opportunities, to encourage them to look beyond the boundaries of their own discipline, to think innovatively, to collaborate within multicultural environmentsand to broaden their horizons within and outside Europe.
Even before the official starting date of November 1st 2020, the ENLIGHT network already carried out several activities, promoting shared knowledge. During the lockdown period in spring 2020, the Presidents/Rectors of the nine universities published a joint message on the ENLIGHT website responding to the health crisis and research articles on COVID-19 from each partner university were shared with the network and the general public.
In May 2020, the first joint online seminar “International education: impact of COVID-19 pandemic” was organized. Targeted at the experts and coordinators of international education and mobility from the partner universities, this event was an opportunity to discuss strategies and actions regarding the global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. Following the seminar, an “ENLIGHT Online Education Survey” was sent out to the network’s lecturers to explore possibilities for shared online education, exchange of teaching materials and/or integration of virtual mobility in order to coordinate and improve each university’s educational offer.
Over the summer, the ENLIGHT Lecture Series was launched with two public online lectures dedicated to the topic of COVID-19 and hosted by the University of Gottingen. This Lecture Series is in addition to the many ongoing conferences and seminars that are organized and shared between the network’s partners. For example, an online conference entitled “United in Diversity" will take place on the 19th /20th November, featuring speakers from the ENLIGHT universities, as well as Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
Collaboration for a successful launch and beyond
Most recently, the ENLIGHT network has submitted proposals to both national1 and European2 calls within the framework of European Universities which will support their research and innovation dimension. These projects, if successful, will contribute to the funding and the impetus of several actions already being developed by the network and that work towards a joint, competitive research and innovation agenda, with an initial focus on the five ENLIGHT flagship challenges.
In early November, the partner universities participated in the online kick-off event for the 2nd wave of European Universities held by the European Commission. These essential collaborations all pave the way for the official ENLIGHT kick-off, which is scheduled for early 2021 and promises to be the ideal occasion to find out about the roadmap ahead and engage with the opportunities that ENLIGHT offers. More details will be communicated shortly, so stay tuned!
ENLIGHT's ambition with this roadmap goes far beyond the three-year period of the project and also far beyond European borders, setting out to implement the institutional transformation that will enable our alliance and its partner universities to have a true and wide-ranging impact at a global level.
Through the unprecedented collaborative potential it generates within Europe and the institutional transformation it will induce, towards maximizing our societal impact and innovation potential, ENLIGHT will also offer unique opportunities to expand and reinforce our international partnerships.
Stéphanie Debette — Vice-President for external relations
- Comenius University Bratislava (Slovakia)
- Ghent University (Belgium) – co-coordinator
- National University Ireland Galway (Ireland)
- University of Bordeaux (France) – co-coordinator
- University of Gottingen (Germany)
- University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
- University of Tartu (Estonia)
- University of the Basque Country (Spain)
- Uppsala University (Sweden)
1 - Agence National de la Recherche (French National Research Agency) – Investments for the Future Program 3
2 - European Commission H2020 - Science with and for Society