The University of East Anglia (UEA) will be a central part of a prestigious new alliance of European universities announced by the European Union (EU), which will aim to transform the university curriculum around areas such as sustainability and diversity.
The EU has pledged €10m to the Aurora Alliance, which consists of nine different universities from cities across Europe, with UEA the sole representative from the UK.
The alliance will share ideas and resources to create a collective societal impact, engage communities and maintain strong ties in academia between European nations.
The programme is committed to championing four key areas: sustainability & climate change; digital society & global citizenship; health & wellbeing and diversity & identity, to foster graduates who are social, entrepreneurial and innovative.
The aim of the Aurora Alliance is to build on the existing work done by the Aurora Universities Network, which is a consortium of research-intensive universities set up in 2016 that prioritises the student voice, innovation of teaching and societal relevance.
UEA Vice-Chancellor Professor David Richardson is also President of the Aurora Network.
Prof Richardson said: “I am absolutely delighted that the excellence of the Aurora Alliance has been recognised in this way. I truly believe that the Aurora Alliance will take on evermore significance for UEA in the new Global world that will emerge from Covid-19 with its focus on international partnership, social inclusion and the UN Sustainability Goals.”
Professor Richard Harvey, Aurora Co-ordinator and Academic Director of Admissions at UEA, said: “It’s commonplace for employers to complain that universities do not prepare graduates for life in modern society. This consortium will address that criticism by building skillsets and mindsets for our students that will make them flexible, creative and adaptive.”
The network also amplifies the student voice through the Aurora Student Council (ASC), which consists of two elected student representatives from each university, who collectively decide on student priorities for their own Aurora activities and student priorities for the network.
Callum Perry, uea(su) Undergraduate Officer, is one of UEA’s student representatives on the ASC.
Callum said: “Aurora is remarkable in that it doesn’t ask what societies can do for universities, but what universities can do for societies. I’m honored to be representing over 340,000 students across the network and their voices are integral to making sure change happens."
The full list of the universities in the Aurora Alliance is: University of Iceland; University of East Anglia, UK; VU Amsterdam, Netherlands; University Rovira, Virgili, Spain; University Duisburg-Essen, Germany; University of Innsbruck, Austria; Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; University of Naples, Italy; Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.