New dawn for community of European universities

The University of Aberdeen is part of a new community of European universities united by a shared commitment to advancing social good and helping solve global challenges.

Aurora, which launches in Amsterdam today (October 21) is a new network of nine European universities with similar philosophies and a shared mission to make a real difference to society. The nine founding institutions are: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands), Université Grenoble-Alpes (France), University of Aberdeen, University of Antwerp (Belgium), University of Bergen (Norway), University of Duisberg-Essen (Germany), University of East Anglia (England), University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the University of Iceland. 

Aurora universities are world leaders in academic research – within the world top 250 in field weighted citation impact. An Elsevier commissioned report found that as a network, Aurora outperforms other more established networks like LERU, Coïmbra, UNICA and Universitas21 in field weighted citation impact (a measure of research quality and impact).

Today’s launch has been preceded by workshops in Amsterdam and Grenoble involving all member universities identifying areas where Aurora can add real value to society by working together on important societal challenges such as sustainability, climate and energy, digital technology and society, student experience and innovation in teaching and learning, human life and health, and transformations in a globalising society.

A workshop has also been held in Amsterdam bringing together student representatives from Aurora universities. The students’ workshop focused on exchange of experience, good and bad practice, and the identification of possibilities for co-operation and mutual learning across Aurora.

The president of the Vrije Universiteit  Amsterdam and founding president of Aurora, Professor Jaap Winter, said: “What unites us as founding members of the Aurora network is the conviction that there is no trade-off between research excellence by global standards, broad access for students and an inclusive academic environment and societal impact in research, teaching and outreach. We strive to make to combine these elements in the fibres of the university organisation and culture. Aurora universities share their determination to build a different kind of inclusive university community that fits a more networked generation, that strives to help solve global challenges and provides collaborative space for members to learn from each other and with each other to become better in what we aim to do.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Aberdeen, said: “The University of Aberdeen is delighted to be part of Aurora.  This is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a network of European universities with a shared set of philosophies and a mission to make a difference to society.

“We live in a globalised world and as such it is important we strengthen our connections with like-minded universities and I look forward to working with the other founding partners.”  

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