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Ulysseus expanding its R&I agenda beyond the European shores with partners in Vietnam and Canada

News Tank Academic - Paris - News #325432 - Published on 22/05/24 at 17:30
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©  Ulysseus alliance
©  Ulysseus alliance

Ulysseus, one of the 50 existing European University alliances, is working towards becoming an R&I Research & Innovation hub reaching beyond the European shores, it says on 21/05/2024 during an online workshop presenting its partnership with the University of Laval (Canada) and the University of Da Nang (Vietnam).

"This partnership with these extra-European universities is a prime example of Ulysseus’ commitment toward international collaboration", says John Gardiner, from the MCI Entrepreunarial School (Austria) and Project Manager for the Compass project.

The Compass project is the alliance's flagship for its research and innovation agenda and strategy and was launched in 2021. It has for objectives to:
• foster greater collaboration between researchers across borders,
• help widen networks,
• and ensure different strategic collaborations between stakeholders.

As a first step towards success, the University of Münster (Germany) and the University of Montenegro joined the alliance in July 2023, growing the R&I area from six to eight hubs, and the partnership with the Canadian and Vietnamese universities was established during a conference in October 2023.

Since this conference, the alliance and the two universities have been working on collaborative activities like capacity building in higher education projects, joint teaching endeavours, research collaborations, and support for international publications.

A strategy for a leading R&I hub within and beyond Europe

"The alliance has been a leader in international R&I through four key points", tells John Gardiner:

  • "Bridging the gap between ERA European Research Area and EEA European Education Area to align research and education sectors to boost innovation,
  • roadmap for success by guiding the transformation in R&I Research & Innovation ,
  • expanding our reach by growing from six to eight hubs for enhanced dialogue and knowledge transfer,
  • and solidifying leadership by being a frontrunner in the R&I field and hosting events to foster collaboration and solidify leadership in driving change."

John Gardiner explains the strategic path taken by the alliance since its creation in 2020 as part of the Erasmus+ project from the EU European Union as a "network expansion and growth in its R&I action plan to reach Ulysseus 2.0".

Ulysseus is an alliance set on specific goals:

  • develop a common research and innovation agenda,
  • boost and improve open science practices,
  • transform its innovation hubs into ERA European Research Area hubs,
  • involve stakeholders in R&I activities,
  • make itself more attractive to researchers,
  • boost strategic collaboration with other institutions.

The building of R&I partnerships within and beyond Europe

"The addition of the University of Montenegro was a significant step forward in global expansion (outside the EU), it is the largest university in Montenegro, committed to internationalisation, and renowned for excellence (especially in cybersecurity research).

This inclusion opens new avenues for cooperation and innovation and allows us to join the hub for research in cybersecurity and cyber innovation, and to tackle the challenges we face in these fields together."

To build on the partnerships with the University of Laval and the University of Da Nang, the alliance valued communication and understanding, and identified shared interests and the potential for collaboration.

"We solidified this partnership with a conference in Da Nang in October 2023 to identify project opportunities, formalise agreements and facilitate collaboration", declares John Gardiner.

"There were over 100 delegates (80+ from Ulysseus) and seven research workshops addressing key global challenges and hot topics in education."

The outcome of the conference was the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), to establish strong foundations of exchange, innovation and research, share expertise and tackle challenges together to reach excellence.

The future of global collaboration within and beyond Europe

"The goal was to pave a more interconnected way on how partners from different alliances can contribute to different topics on the global scale", says John Gardiner.

Ulysseus wants to encourage R&I collaboration through the Compass project beyond Europe, with online conferences insisting on the importance of global cooperation, success factors in long-term collaborations, challenges and opportunities, sustainability and success factors, science diplomacy, and the best practices for international partnerships.

The alliance also participated in a survey on European University alliances' geopolitical strategy for non-EU collaboration (a project from the FOREU2 Forum of European Universitiy Alliances ). It aimed to understand university alliances and how they collaborate with non-EU partners.

"The survey highlighted the work of Ulysseus with the Compass project’s commitment to knowledge sharing and collective action within the European universities initiative ecosystem. The ultimate aim is to strengthen the European global R&I landscape and its approach towards it."

Ulysseus is an alliance of eight European universities, including the University of Montenegro, the only one not from a member state.

Its R&I flagship, the Compass project, has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to support Ulysseus’ key R&I goals.

"It aims at establishing Ulysseus as a model of excellence for R&I in line with the shared, integrated, long-term joint strategy of the alliance, boosting synergies between the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Education Area (EEA)."

It supports the development of strategies and concrete action plans to position Ulysseus as a model of institutional transformation at R&I level and enables the alliance to reinforce the joint long-term vision for R&I.

"The Compass project's seven modules to transform universities through R&I are:

• Develop a common R&I agenda and action plan,

• strengthen human capital, enabling balanced brain circulation and gender balance,

• share research infrastructure and other resources,

• reinforce cooperation with non-academic actors, especially academia-business cooperation,

• mainstream comprehensive open science practices, promote the involvement of citizens, civil society and public/city authorities in R&I,

• explore joint structures across the European universities on technical activities common to all, facilitating collaboration in activities,

• obstacles and solutions that could be common to all alliances, as well as clustering activities to share best practices on R&I."

©  Ulysseus alliance
©  Ulysseus alliance