Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the Basque Country, a territory of international excellence

On Friday July 16, Euskampus Fundazioa celebrated its 10th birthday in San Sebastián and revealed its strategic plan for the next decade. Its objective is to become a benchmark in Europe for promoting cross-disciplinary cooperation in higher education, research and innovation, while strengthening its international reputation.

  • 13/09/2021

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Euskampus Fundazioa (Euskampus Foundation) is made up of the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), TECNALIA Technological Research Center and University of Bordeaux. July 16th 2021 marked its 10th anniversary, and it was also the occasion for the foundation to reveal its strategic plan for 2030 in the aim of consolidating its assets and increasing its international scope.

The main focus of the Foundation is to contribute to the common good, via cooperation between University of Bordeaux, UPV/EHU, DIPC and TECNALIA, as well as other local and international entities, going beyond each structure's specific interests.

Fundamentally, the strategic plan aims to consolidate the transnational Campus of International Excellence as a joint space of cooperation, to enhance the territory and promote tools and structural shifts allowing the Basque Country and Nouvelle-Aquitaine to evolve into a territory of international excellence.

Some of the most important outcomes set by the strategic plan for 2025 are:

  • Create 4 new joint research laboratories (JRL)
  • Create 5 new trans-border cooperation laboratories (LTC)
  • Multiply the number of European projects participated in by TECNALIA and UPV/EHU by five, to a total of ten
  • Double the number of UPV/EHU groups participating in the various dynamics promoted by Euskampus, to reach 40% of all groups, in all areas of knowledge
  • Double the current number of theses co-supervised by UPV/EHU and University of Bordeaux to reach 100
  • Double the number of joint degrees between the two universities, from 7 to 14
  • Create and manage 6 knowledge communities, bringing together over 1,000 researchers from UPV/EHU, University of Bordeaux, TECNALIA and DIPC
  • Set up 5 missions that will contribute decisively to rolling out the 2030 EUSKADI Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation. These missions will invoke the participation of over 500 researchers from UPV/EHU, University of Bordeaux, TECNALIA and DIPC, and over 200 people from other entities
  • Promote the participation of over 1,000 students from UPV/EHU and University of Bordeaux in Euskampus communities and missions
  • Organize over 100 transnational cooperation meetings, involving over 2,000 researchers and 1,000 students from the two universities

10 years of cooperation excellence 

In the beginning, Euskampus Fundazioa was created to promote the Euskampus Campus of International Excellence (CIE) reconversion project, undertaken by UPV/EHU as part of a strategic alliance with TECNALIA and DIPC.

In 2015, the Euskampus CIE project was evaluated by an international panel and received the highest grade. Following this, Euskampus Fundazioa continued to develop the main cooperation initiatives implemented as part of the project: the Poles of Knowledge Community (research groups that promote collaboration on specific subjects) and the transnational Euskampus-Bordeaux Campus.

Over these ten years, nearly 20% of the UPV/EHU research groups from various disciplines and nearly 20 local and international entities (aside from UPV/EHU, TECNALIA and DIPC) participated in dynamic cooperation between the poles of knowledge. This represents an investment of nearly €4 million from Euskampus Fundazioa since 2012, in the aim of promoting over 100 cooperation initiatives (local and international research projects, new post-university courses, transferring and communicating knowledge to society). 4 summer schools and 5 joint research laboratories (JRL) were also created under the initiative of TECNALIA, in areas such as artificial intelligence, renewable energy in the marine environment, antibiotic resistance, sustainable concrete and advanced pharmaceutical developments.

Similarly, in 2020, a new mode of cooperation began as a trial, based around the Euskampus challenges and missions. The Euskampus Covid-19 Resilience mission was established. It responds to 4 challenges and covers 9 cooperative, interdisciplinary projects. Over 60 researchers from UPV/EHU, DIPC, TECNALIA and University of Bordeaux are involved, with €234,000 of investment from Euskampus Fundazioa.

Transnational Campus and other projects

The transnational Euskampus-Bordeaux Campus brings together a significant academic and research community of over 100,000 students and nearly 9,000 teachers and researchers. At present, 7 joint postgraduate degrees are offered. 4 laboratories of trans-border cooperation (LTC) have been established in the areas of nanosciences, advanced manufacturing, applied mathematics and sustainable concrete. A completely unprecedented pedagogical innovation project (Ocean i3) has been developed. Over 50 co-supervised theses have been defended and over 300 scientific works published. 9 European and 6 Euro-regional projects have been developed, and 3 symposiums, 3 transnational meetings and 2 transnational summer schools have been organized. Euskampus Fundazioa has invested €2 million into developing the transnational Campus. This intense cooperation effort was recognized by the Diálogo prize, awarded to UPV/EHU and University of Bordeaux in November 2018. Furthermore, Euskampus Fundazioa significantly contributed to creating European University ENLIGHT, with both universities involved and accessing it with the shared approach developed by the transnational Campus.

It is worth noting that during these years, Euskampus has given rise to a new collaboration framework between UPV/EHU and TECNALIA, making it possible to have high scientific and technological impact, thanks to the complementarity of the two organizations in the R&D chain. The agreement has allowed collaborative scientific production to double in recent years, by promoting 4 JRL that unite 120 researchers, creating new technological categories, collaborating on over 50 projects and promoting 102 co-directed theses.

To conclude, Euskampus has become a catalyst for interdisciplinary, multi-agent collaboration. It promotes co-leadership between its strategic partners in territorial development and international outreach, and produces local responses with high socio-economic value to international challenges.