UAntwerp set to increase international cooperation

Date: 22 January 2015

Introduction: The University of Antwerp has joined the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN), along with seventeen other academic institutions. This group of young universities will work closely together in both education and research but also in promoting student and staff mobility among their institutions.

YERUN brings together eighteen universities from twelve different European countries, all with the same core values, such as internationalisation, a focus on educational quality, and research which makes a difference. In addition, they were all founded in the last 50 years and are among the best universities in the world in this ‘age group’. The University of Antwerp – ranked fourteenth in the QS Top 50 Under 50 ranking – is the only Belgian university in the new network.

“Cooperation has been a hot topic in the academic world for several years now”, says Alain Verschoren, rector of the University of Antwerp. “And this isn’t going to change much in the next few years. We have already established good relationships with our ‘young’ colleagues in other European countries, and these collaborations will only intensify as a result of the new network.”

Verschoren is thinking, for example, of joint education and research projects, like jointly run programmes which could be set up across the network. It will also be easier for academic staff, employees and students from the University of Antwerp to go and work or study at one of the partner institutions.

By joining forces in this way, the YERUN partners also aim to increase their impact on European policy. Verschoren explains: “Many decisions about scientific research and funding are made at European level. As a young, medium-sized university, it can be really difficult to make our voice heard. If we work with our European colleagues, however, we will be able to make more noise.”

The project is being led by the Universities of Antwerp and Maastricht and the Autonomous University of Madrid. The eighteen members of YERUN are:

Spain: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University, Autonomous University of Madrid, University Carlos III (Madrid)
Germany: Universität Bremen, Universität Ulm, Universität Konstanz
United Kingdom: University of Essex, Brunel University London
Belgium: University of Antwerp
The Netherlands: University of Maastricht
Denmark: Syddansk Universitet
France: Université Paris Dauphine
Finland: University of Eastern Finland
Ireland: Dublin City University
Sweden: Linköpings Universitet
Portugal: Universidade Nove de Lisboa
Italy: Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata