This week marked the new phase of an international university cooperation, that the University of Iceland will lead for the next four years. The cooperation is sponsored by the European Union and will enable its member universities to strengthen education, teaching, and research to combat the complex societal challenges facing us. The cooperation is called Aurora and boasts nine european member universities, that all share a focus on social innovation and responsibility.
The Aurora cooperation has been active for the past seven years but was recently awarded a roughly 14 million Euro grant from the European Commission, or what equates to just over two billion ISK, to continue their cooperation. This grant is a part of the European University Initiative. As the leading university, the University of Iceland will receive the largest share of the funding, or around seventeen percent. Jón Atli Benediktsson, the rector of UI, is the current president of Aurora.
“The main goal of the Aurora cooperation is to provide students with education that helps cultivate the mindset and proficiencies of social entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as equipping them to take on some of the biggest global challenges we, as a society, are currently facing,” said Jón Atli, as he formally kicked off the new phase of the cooperation in the University‘s Ceremonial Hall, with Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, the Minister of Higher Education in Iceland and Lucie Samcová, Ambassador of the European Union to Iceland, among the event‘s attendees.
“During this new phase, Aurora 2030, we will be increasing our focus on research. Additionally, we will continue to priorotise innovation in teaching and learning, as well as courses and studies inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals”, said the rector.
“The main goal of the Aurora cooperation is to provide students with education that helps cultivate the mindset and proficiencies of social entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as equipping them to take on some of the biggest global challenges we, as a society, are currently facing,” said Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland and President of Aurora, as he formally kicked off the new phase of the cooperation in the University‘s Ceremonial Hall
Delegates from all member universities were present at today’s meetings, as well as guests from within the University of Iceland, as well as from abroad. The member universities, along with the University of Iceland, are as follows: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), Universität Innsbruck (UIBK), Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE), Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Palacký University Olomouc (UP), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Université Paris Est Creteil (UPEC), og Università Federico II di Napoli (UNINA).
Increasing proficiency to tackle challenges
Among what the University’s rector covered in his address were four main Aurora emphases, intended to aid in social progress, with student, teacher, and external stakeholder participation.
Firstly, Aurora emphasises interdisciplinarity in teaching, research, and social innovation, to meet the societal challenges we are faced with. The aim is to develop teaching methods that empower students to tackle international challenges in an increasingly globalised world.
Aurora’s second emphasis is to provide increased research supports, to create a basis of international cooperation and resource sharing. This is especially relevant when it comes to early-career researchers.
The third emphasis is to strengthen the connection with other higher education institutions and others, both within and outside of Europe, and create a stronger foundation for varied research, through those means. Aurora will emphasise collaborative efforts in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as establish global partners.
Fourthly, Aurora will emphasise sustainability, as before. Aurora will set new and ambitious goals in sustainability in education, research and all collaboration, in line with the goals of European Union for 2030 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Aurora will also work towards increased sustainability on an institutional level, prioritising a sustainable campus.
Photos from the kick-off of Aurora 2030 are here below: