In 2019, the CHARM-EU Alliance was among the first seventeen European Universities selected by the European Commission in the European Universities Initiative, designed to foster the quality, inclusiveness and competitiveness of European higher education. Since then, CHARM-EU has been building up a successful collaboration between its partners that resulted in designing several innovative tools, models, and programmes, such as the Masterʼs in Global Challenges for Sustainability, under the criteria of the European Universities initiative. The alliance has created the Knowledge Creating Teams, formed by the academic staff of different disciplines and universities, it has also engaged external stakeholders and has developed a governance model with innovative administrative structures supported by the CHARM-EU core values: inclusion, student-focused, socially-responsible, sustainable, innovative, transparent and transdisciplinary. CHARM-EU has also started shaping its Research & Innovation dimension through the “Transforming Open Responsible Research and Innovation through CHARM” (TORCH) project, funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme. Its aim is to develop a common Research & Innovation (R&I) agenda for the allianceʼs partners based on transdisciplinarity and interculturality to solve complex societal challenges.
The European Commission approved 20 alliances under the 2022 Erasmus+ European Universities Call. The new Erasmus+ grant will support the CHARM-EU alliance to expand, to increase its innovative activities and implement its long-term vision to drive systemic, structural and sustainable societal impact at all levels. It will contribute to the alliance becoming a world example and a game changer of the best of the European research, innovation and education tradition, offering both an open, plural, inclusive, flexible, entrepreneurial student-centred learning experience to citizens from the entire world and supporting a truly collaborative transdisciplinary, mission-oriented research environment.
Focus on expansion and boosting impact
After creating and testing innovative practices, tools, methods and approaches during the first years of collaboration, the CHARM-EIGHT∞ will focus on expanding and boosting its impact while continuing living lab activities within CHARM-EIGHT∞. Aiming to be an influential icebreaker that inspires academic and external stakeholders, the alliance will consolidate and strengthen governance and cooperation, develop its challenge-based learning lab and its educational portfolio with a visible link to research, business and society. At the same time, it will create an inter-institutional, intercultural, transdisciplinary and inclusive campus that contributes to the European mindset. CHARM-EU will mainstream successful innovation and best practices for the direct benefit of its partner institutions while continuing to develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate innovative tools and models as well as build new partnerships at all levels.
As a first step of expansion, the Alliance composed of the University of Barcelona (coordinator), Trinity College Dublin, Utrecht University, Eötvös Loránd University, and the University of Montpellier will be expanded with Åbo Akademi University, Julius-Maximilians University Würzburg and Hochschule Ruhr West. The integration of the three new partners will contribute to achieving CHARM-EUʼs ambitious vision and objectives while providing experiences from different educational systems, including curriculum design, teaching and learning and digital transformation.
“All the universities that are members of CHARM-EIGHT∞ are very excited about this new phase. Moreover, the new members make us stronger as an alliance”, noted Joan Guàrdia, rector of the University of Barcelona (CHARM-EU Coordinator) .
CHARM-EIGHT∞ ambitions for the benefit of all stakeholders
With the support of the new Erasmus+ funding, CHARM-EU will provide an innovative, transdisciplinary and intercultural environment for the benefit of students, university staff members and extra-academic stakeholders. Bringing together the partners, more than 245,000 students can benefit from its innovative teaching and learning environment and will be better prepared for the future through a wide range of activities and mobility. More than 34,000 staff members will have at their scope a transdisciplinary and intercultural work environment providing several professional development activities and internal transformation actions that will allow them to transform their day-to-day work. Local and regional stakeholders and society will benefit from the transdisciplinary cooperation aiming to identify, propose and create solutions to solve complex challenges, synthesise approaches and mobilise. According to Joan Guàrdia, rector of the UB, “CHARM- EIGHT∞ is a shared commitment to the future that involves universities and society stakeholders in the structure of a new European university”.
As our future depends on societyʼs capacity to deliver just, resilient and inclusive solutions to global challenges, CHARM-EU will continue to engage in creating a transformative and sustainable European educational and research experience and to contribute positively to shaping the role of Europe in the world as it undergoes a deep transformation to reconcile humanity with the planet.