On February 5th 2020 at Erasmus University Rotterdam the rectors of eight European Universities signed the mission statement of UNIC: The European University of Post-Industrial Cities. Together, the universities of BilbaoOpens external, BochumOpens external, CorkOpens external, IstanbulOpens external, LiègeOpens external, OuluOpens external, Rotterdam and ZagrebOpens external have a clear mission to boost mobility and inclusion for impact in a superdiverse society.
Post-industrial cities throughout Europe face many of the same societal challenges due to transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy. Among which are (youth) (un)employment, the impact of new technologies, a transition to renewable energy sources and evolving health-related challenges.
An important characteristic of a post-industrial European city is superdiversityOpens external in socio-economic and socio-cultural terms. Superdiversity demands the development of more innovative, accessible and inclusive modes of research, teaching and learning which articulate and respond to the needs of diverse populations. Diverse knowledge and expertise, applied in similar (post-industrial) environment and audiences, will yield new approaches and best practices to help European higher education keep pace with a changing European population.
Campus, academy and labs
The UNIC proposal, led by Erasmus University Rotterdam and developed in close cooperation with students from the different universities, is a long-term alliance with three main facets.
1. Inter-University Campus: enable students, staff and researchers/teachers, to move seamlessly to study, train, teach, do research, work or share services within UNIC, regardless off socio economic and cultural background.
2. Superdiversity Academy: challenge universities to welcome students and staff of all backgrounds.
3. CityLabs: meeting places for knowledge exchange in and with the cities.
Rutger Engels, Rector Magnificus Erasmus University Rotterdam about the mission statement:
„Erasmus University Rotterdam is unique in The Netherlands for its superdiverse student population with a relatively high percentage of non-traditional students. This student population reflects the rapid transformation of Rotterdam as a post-industrial city. The other universities in UNIC share these characteristics and the commitment to making mobility and our educational programmes more inclusive. We aim to unlock a truly European learning experience for all our students and train the change leaders who will shape the future of some of Europe’s most superdiverse cities. UNIC addresses these challenges by developing new approaches and models for education, tools, offers and communications. This will accelerate our efforts toward inclusivity in post-industrial cities and serve as a blueprint to help European education keep pace in preparing for the future of Europe.“
Speaking on the establishment of the UNIC alliance between eight European universities at the signing of the mission statement in Rotterdam, Professor Damir Boras, Ph. D., Rector of the University of Zagreb, stated:
„It's an extremely good project proposal devised by representatives of eight renowned and important European universities. Our own team was headed by Professor Ivan Koprić, Ph. D., of the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Law. Implementing the project will be not only our Faculty of Law as the leading institution, but in equal part all other faculties and academies, institutions of the University of Zagreb such as the University Computing Centre, The Centre for Advanced Academic Studies - Dubrovnik, and others.
We wish to further enhance the modes of study, student mobility, and aid the populace not only of the City of Zagreb, but the greater Zagreb metropolitan area and all of Croatia by implementing a CityLab through which students of all faculties and academies, along with their mentors, will ensure the fullest inclusion of at-risk and excluded groups in the community, as well as study, research, and educational and other work within our University. The University of Zagreb is in fact - with regard to the number of students, academic staff and several other criteria - the largest university included in this new alliance we joined, headed by the Erasmus University Rotterdam, one of the world's greatest universities.“
Bochum Ruhr University Bochum Germany
Cork University College Cork Ireland
Istanbul Koç University Turkey
Liège University of Liège Belgium
Oulu University of Oulu Finland
Rotterdam Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
Zagreb University of Zagreb Croatia
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