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Shaping the university of the future. Leiden University joins Una Europa alliance

Leiden University is a member of the Una Europa European alliance. This partnership of 11 research-intensive universities is working to shape the university of the future. ‘Our students, researchers and staff can benefit from Una Europa.’

Working towards one European university

The Una Europa alliance, which was established in 2019, is working on a ‘multi-campus’ university running right through Europe. This international, interdisciplinary ‘University of the Future’ will focus on solving society’s problems, both within and outside Europe. Una Europa’s focus areas are Cultural Heritage; Data Science and Artificial Intelligence; Europe and the World; One Health; Sustainability; and Future Materials.

For Leiden students, researchers and staff

Leiden is one of the three newest Una Europa partners. One of the reasons it has joined is the alliance’s interdisciplinary nature. ‘It really is for everyone’, says Joanne van der Leun, Dean of Leiden Law School and a member of the Una Europa Board of Directors. ‘Our students, researchers and staff can benefit from Una Europa because it gives them access to education and career opportunities at ten other universities.’

Colleagues who are actively involved in Una Europa recently met for the internal launch.

Intensify international partnerships

Another reason for joining is to intensify Leiden University’s existing partnerships. ‘Leiden already works with many of the Una Europa universities on strategy and in the area of research and teaching’, says Melissa Koops, Head of the International Affairs Unit at Strategy and Academic Affairs. ‘Una Europa will allow us to intensify these partnerships and even more innovative projects as a network.’

The ten universities that have come together with Leiden University as Una Europa are Università di Bologna, Freie Universität Berlin, KU Leuven, University of Edinburgh, University College Dublin,  Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Helsingfors Universiteit, Uniwersytet Jagielloński and Universität Zürich.

Interdisciplinary training modules for PhDs

Leiden University is in the start-up phase and is seeking to align research and teaching agendas, including, for example, the Una Europa Bachelor’s in European Studies. It is already working on a number of concrete projects, including interdisciplinary training modules for PhDs.

‘PhD programmes generally have a very disciplinary structure with little room for thinking outside the box’, says Van der Leun. ‘The aim is to create modules covering a range of disciplines, from the natural sciences to the humanities or from maths to law. We hope to encourage PhDs to scale their own disciplinary walls.’

‘These modules will also promote mobility among young researchers and programmes within Una Europa and are a good fit for the two themes Leiden University coordinates: “Una for Researchers” and “International Dimension”’, says Koops. ‘And there is a lot of room for bottom-up initiatives in the different groups that are active.’

Join in

To find out more about Una Europa or how to contribute, see the dossier page for more information. Sign up for the newsletter for the Leiden Una Europa community, explore upcoming events and activities, and find the contact details of the Leiden Una Europa team. Students can request information about the Una Europa Student Board and the Leiden workgroup that organises activities for the Una Europa student community.

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