The Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) warmly welcomes the publication of the European Commission's Communication “Achieving the European Education Area by 2025”. Such an ambitious Communication certainly comes at a unique moment, as the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital and green transitions are accelerating changes in the European education and training landscapes. Consequently, it seems important to develop new initiatives, foster investment in education and training, and achieve a stronger cooperation between the EU Member States so that all European citizens can benefit from high-quality education and training.
The Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) warmly welcomes the publication of the Communication “A New ERA for Research and Innovation” and believes in its potential to push the European Research Area forward. In particular, YERUN strongly supports the European Commission’s will to: strengthen the national investments in R&I; further promote Open Science practices; promote diversity and inclusiveness; engage citizens, local communities and civil society; increase the cooperation between higher education and research; and strengthen synergies between EU programmes, including Horizon Europe, Erasmus, European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and private investments.
After four months since the beginning of lockdowns across Europe due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, on Monday 6 July YERUN published a Reflection Paper on The World of Higher Education after COVID-19.
The paper is structured in three parts: the first, "What has changed so far", is an overview of the challenges that we have taken stock of across our networks and the solutions identified so far by our members; the second part, "What is coming next" explores three possible post-COVID-19 horizons; the third and last part, "What can we gain", identifies those opportunities coming from this challenging situation that we should not miss.
YERUN welcomes the flexibility that the European Commission (EC) is applying when it comes to the management of ongoing Erasmus+ and the Horizon 2020 (H2020) Grants. In particular, YERUN members appreciate the prolongation of ongoing project deadlines and the EC’s decision to allow Erasmus+ National Agencies to invoke the ‘force majeure’ clause. However, exceptional times call for exceptional measures. Stressing once more that this situation, although at varying degrees, is affecting everyone in the European higher education sector, YERUN has called upon the EC to consider the implementation of a series of measures in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.
In these times of "forced slow down", we are presented with the unique opportunity to go through our past with a view on our future, with mindfulness! In this Annual report we have collected all those events that have highlighted YERUN's past year, contributing to make it stronger and better. We hope you had fun along the process as much as we did and we look forward to future challenges and opportunities to grow!
Ahead of the upcoming Communications of the European Commission on the Renewed European Research Area, on the European Education Area and on the updating of the Skills Agenda, it is high time to talk about the employability of our students and researchers.
EU Member states are currently discussing the legislation for the EIT and its Strategic Innovation Agenda. The proposed dedicated action for EIT to boost innovation capacity in universities beyond the KICs is being questioned. Read more why a positive spill-over of the EITs education agenda to a wider community is timely and relevant, and how it can help to transform higher education.
YERUN has participated in the online consultation on the Orientations towards the first Strategic Plan for Horizon Europe, which was closed on 17 November.