Two more universities join the One Europe Alliance
May 17, 2022

The One Europe alliance, of which the Complutense has been a member since its creation, has just welcomed University College Dublin (UCD) and Universität Zürich (UZH). With the incorporation of both institutions, we are now eleven leading European universities in research and teaching working together to make a true European campus without borders a reality.

The representativeness of the eleven partner institutions in this close alliance is impressive. Our universities have been educating generation after generation on the European continent for more than a thousand years. Today, more than half a million students are educated on our campuses located in eleven countries and we have almost 100,000 employees (teachers, researchers and administrative and service staff), not to mention the millions of students who follow the programs and courses offered online by these eleven higher education institutions. One Europe is working to turn this enormous collective experience and strength into a tangible and real European inter-university campus, a real university of the future that is getting closer and closer.

University College Dublin (UCD) is a research-focused university ranked by various rankings in the top one percent of higher education institutions worldwide. Founded in 1854, UCD has played an important role in shaping modern Ireland: it has educated important political, business and cultural leaders, including the writer James Joyce. The University of Zurich (UZH) is the largest university in Switzerland and one of the most important in the German-speaking world. Founded in 1833, it was the first university in Europe to be established under a democratic political system, as the words “by the will of the people” engraved on the façade of its Rectorate remind us today.

James Smith, current chairman of the One Europe Board of Trustees and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, was very pleased to announce the official incorporation of these two universities on May 9, coinciding with the celebration of Europe Day 2022. “UCD and UZH are two truly outstanding and internationally impactful institutions: both develop world-leading research and provide their students with a transformative learning experience. They will undoubtedly bring new perspectives and impetus to One Europe.”

In the same vein, Peter Lievens, Vice Rector of the Belgian university KU Leuven, said: “In a world in constant transformation and at the expense of numerous changes, One Europe stands united in the defense of essential values such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and, of course, human rights. We are proud to welcome UCD and UZH – and to grow our alliance, reinforcing One Europe’s commitment to these fundamental values.”

A university of the future

Created in 2018, One Europe was one of the first university alliances selected to receive funding from the European Commission under the prestigious European Universities initiative and, in just a few short years, has positioned itself as one of the leading ones. Its drive for the transformation of higher education is evident in international forums and institutions where it regularly shares its expertise. One Europe is leading the way and launching absolutely pioneering initiatives, such as its first Joint Degree, which will begin to be taught in the next academic year. Its firm commitment is to transcend traditional geographical and disciplinary boundaries and create a virtual multicampus, making the university of the future a reality.

The alliance is working on more than 20 innovative educational formats, always with mobility as the common thread. Opportunities for students, academics and university staff include joint degree offerings (at the moment, a degree in European Studies and a joint PhD in Cultural Heritage, but options will be expanded), challenge-based learning or international internships, exchanges and experiences. One Europe is also developing its own research and innovation ecosystem, with joint strategies to share infrastructures and strengthen its human capital.

The alliance members have created a solid foundation for collaboration, which each new partner has enhanced in its own way. Together with the University of Edinburgh, UZH’s membership reaffirms One Europe as a leading influence in building an open and inclusive European Research Area. “Geographically, Switzerland will always be part of Europe,” says Michael Schaepman, rector of UZH, “and to maintain excellence and continue to innovate we must actively participate in the European Higher Education Area. The UCD, for its part, brings a clear international perspective and a determined drive for innovation. All this supports the objectives of the partnership: to strengthen, broaden and deepen our collaborative structures and practices with the vision of building a truly integrated European university of the future.