A new higher education network has been launched aimed at increasing cooperation between universities and institutes across Europe.
The network, named ‘RUN-EU’, will promote the future and advanced skills necessary for social transformation across the European Union.
It will also allow students to obtain double/multiple degrees within the framework of a joint training programme.
The diverse range of teaching and learning actions in the pipeline is intended to provide students with different international programs (short-term and e-learning). International cooperation projects in the area of research and development will also be implemented.
RUN-EU will also promote the economic, social, cultural, and sustainable development of the regions covered by the network, providing the necessary skills so that students, researchers, and regional agents will be able to successfully face the challenges of the future.
Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) are two of the eight higher education institutes which have been selected to participate in the programme. Recently, Limerick Institute of Technology announced its intention to form Ireland’s next technological university.
Dr Sean Lyons, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and Informatics at Athlone Institute of Technology, said the consortium marks “an important step forward” in AIT’s internationalisation strategy, forming deep thematic relationships with other higher education institutions across Europe.
“The RUN-EU Initiative will enable AIT and LIT, our technological university consortium partners, to leverage international best practice and will enable student and staff mobility while facilitating joint research and undergraduate programmes,” Dr Lyons said.
Michelle McKeon Bennett, Dean of Faculty of Business and Hospitality, Athlone Institute of Technology, explained:
“Our goal, as Ireland’s next technological university, is to reflect the educational demands and economic needs of the communities we serve and to cultivate a talent pipeline furnished with the skills and competencies necessary to succeed in today’s expeditious innovation economy.
“Partnerships such as Run-EU will aid us in achieving our technological education mission and provide new, exciting opportunities for all learners, including studying abroad, the benefits of which have been shown to greatly improve employment prospects, and – for staff – teaching abroad boosts professional development.”
An agreement was signed at the launch of the RUN-EU network which will govern the creation of the network and establish the lines of action of its alliance.
“RUN-EU is an exceptional opportunity for like-minded regionally-based institutions across Europe to collaborate for the benefit of the regions they serve. In many ways, the transformation of Irish and European society can be most deeply felt in its regions and regional cities,” explained Dr Liam Brown, vice president of Research, Development & Innovation at Limerick Institute of Technology.
“These are the locations where the effect of increased mobility and sustained regional development can most readily impact on everyday life.
“Through this project, the collaboration between LIT and AIT can produce a dividend for the development of both regions and provide us with some advantages in national and international contexts.”
The RUN-EU launch event was attended by the Portuguese Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education, João Sobrinho Teixeira; the Ambassador Pedro Lourtie, Deputy Permanent Representative of Portugal to the European Union; the diplomatic representatives from Ireland, Hungary, Finland, the Netherlands, and Austria. Some accredited assistants of the European Parliament also participated.
The eight colleges participating in EU-RUN are:
Polytechnic of Leiria (Portugal)
Polytechnic of Cávado and Ave (Portugal)
Limerick Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Athlone Institute of Technology (Ireland)
Széchenyi István University (SZE) (Hungary)
Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK (Finland)
NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands)
FH Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (Austria).