European University alliance UNIC receives substantial follow-up funding

UNIC, the European University of Post-Industrial Cities, has received EUR 14.4 million funding from the European Commission. The follow-up funding granted for a four-year period will enable the ten partner universities in the alliance to continue their cooperation. The purpose of UNIC is to promote educational cooperation and solve the challenges of its post-industrial member cities.

The new financing period begins in October 2023. At that point, the partner universities will enter a new phase, in which they intensify the cooperation between their cities and continue to develop educational and research cooperation.

“UNIC is committed to building a European university of the future, and we are happy to receive support from the European Commission for the next phase,” says Henna Määttä, Development Manager and UNIC Project Manager at the University of Oulu. The University of Oulu has been part of the alliance since 2020.

During its three years of operation, UNIC has created a wide range of new opportunities for students, researchers, academic staff and citizens across Europe. UNIC has made it possible to increase the mobility of higher education institutions through a hybrid campus and course offerings, launched a joint master’s programme in urban planning and offered seed money for new research cooperation projects.

UNIC employs nearly 20 million citizens, students, workers and researchers in post-industrial cities across Europe. In the next phase of the alliance, the partner universities will strive to promote the development of European know-how through cooperation, innovation and stakeholder involvement. In particular, the aim is to achieve a societal impact and improvements.

“We are educating our students to become agents of change for the future, and we want to continue to show European cities a positive example of how learning, participatory research, innovation and local cooperation can be combined to have a societal impact,” says Tapio Koivu, Vice Rector for Education at the University of Oulu.

The long-term goal of the alliance is to offer its members new opportunities not only at their home universities but also at all of the alliance’s ten partner universities. This is reflected, for example, in increased mobility opportunities for students, researchers and staff.

New urban collaboration centre to deploy research in cities

The first international master’s programme of the UNIC alliance will start in autumn 2023. The new joint degree programme “Redesigning the Post-Industrial City” will train urban experts of the future, who are needed to respond to the diverse challenges and opportunities of cities and societies, which are undergoing great changes.

“UNIC offers students amazing opportunities to be international, learn and improve themselves! It is particularly nice that students have been involved in both the design and implementation of UNIC from the beginning,” says Viljami Viinikka, UNIC Student Representative at the University of Oulu.

UNIC’s new urban cooperation centre, the UNIC Centre for City Futures, provides the alliance partners with a one-stop-shop infrastructure for urban cooperation. The centre continuously interacts with cities to identify their challenges and to implement participatory research and learning in cities and communities.

“This is impact-oriented real-life collaboration between research and education,” says Sari Hirvonen-Kantola, Engaged Research Officer at the University of Oulu, one of the developers of the UNIC Centre for City Futures.

All in all, UNIC now operates even more comprehensively than before. UNIC is launching thematic lines or “faculties” specialising in specific issues of post-industrial cities. Their themes include health and wellbeing, sustainable development, resilience to change, digitalisation, security, inclusion, entrepreneurship and the arts.

Universities in the UNIC alliance

  • University of Deusto, Spain
  • Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
  • University College Cork, Ireland
  • Koç University, Türkiye
  • University of Liège, Belgium
  • University of Oulu, Finland
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • University of Lodz, Poland
  • Malmö University, Sweden

European Commission´s press release

Read more about UNIC

Last updated: 1.8.2023