Embracing Change in ENHANCE+ Governance

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Successful Milestones and New Leadership Mark the ENHANCE Steering Committee Meeting in Valencia

On May 14 and 15, 2024, the vibrant and historic city of Valencia played host to the ENHANCE Steering Committee meeting, warmly welcomed by our member institution, the Universitat Politécnica de Valencia (UPV). UPV extended their renowned Spanish hospitality, enriching the experience with local traditions and a spirit of camaraderie.

The meeting’s primary focus was the second phase of ENHANCE, which centers on sharing education, courses, best practices, and fostering student and staff exchanges. This phase aims to harness the collective strengths and opportunities of all partner universities to provide students with enriched international experiences.

Educational Pathways: The committee had in-depth discussions on developing the ENHANCE European Education Pathways. They explored various formats and strategies to ensure effective contributions from all partners, aiming to create flexible and integrative pathways that enable students to benefit from diverse educational experiences across Europe. The EEPs lie at the core of our ENHANCE mission and will be followed up by further deep discussions.

Research Collaboration: Enhancing research collaboration, particularly for early career researchers, was another significant agenda item. The meeting of the Vice Presidents of Research of all ENHANCE members focused on creating more robust interfaces between education, research, and innovation within the alliance. This integrated approach aims to foster an environment where research and educational initiatives mutually reinforce each other, driving innovation and academic excellence.

Ena Voûte Elected as New Chair

A significant highlight of the meeting was the election of Ena Voûte as the new Chair of the Steering Committee. Voûte’s leadership is expected to usher in a new era of collaboration and progress for the ENHANCE alliance. In her inaugural address, Voûte shared her vision: “It is an honour to chair the ENHANCE Steering Committee in the future. We need this collaboration in Europe more than ever, and what better way to do it than with trusted friends. With our joint creativity, engineering skills, and drive for progress, I am confident that we will make great strides.”

ENHANCE Leadership (from left to right): Stefano Ronchi, parting Steering Committee Chair, newly elected Chair Ena Voûte, and Co-Chair Ute Habel.

ENHANCE Leadership (from left to right): Stefano Ronchi (PoliMi), parting Steering Committee Chair, newly elected Chair Ena Voûte (TU Delft), and Co-Chair Ute Habel (RWTH Aachen).

The Common Quest for Excellent Education, Research & Leadership

UPV’s hospitality was a highlight of the meeting, with the Steering Committee and operational staff being welcomed through Spanish traditions. This included a memorable paella cooking session, which added a unique and enjoyable cultural dimension to the proceedings.

Among the many activities, the paella cooking session stood out. Attendees were divided into four teams and tasked with preparing paella, Valencia’s signature dish. This activity not only provided a delightful break from the formal discussions but also served as a team-building exercise. The chef adjudicated the competition, awarding a prize for the best paella, fostering a spirit of friendly rivalry and camaraderie.

The ENHANCE Core Operational Staff proved their transversal competencies in the Paella cooking competition.

The committee celebrated significant strides in developing the ENHANCE European Education Pathways. This initiative aims to create more cohesive and collaborative educational experiences, allowing students to navigate seamlessly through the various partner institutions, enriching their academic and cultural perspectives.

A key achievement was the joint discussion between SteerCo and the Vice Presidents of Research on interfacing education, research, and innovation. This holistic approach is intended to break down silos and foster a more interconnected framework that supports both academic and practical advancements. Such integration is crucial for nurturing a generation of students and researchers who are well-equipped to tackle global challenges with innovative solutions. The gathering of the Vice Presidents of Research from our ten member universities was another highlight. They engaged in detailed discussions about the future of research infrastructure and joint activities in research and innovation (R&I) within the ENHANCE Alliance. These discussions are expected to lay the groundwork for enhanced collaborative efforts and shared resources, significantly boosting the alliance’s research capabilities.

The ENHANCE Steering Committee meeting in Valencia was a resounding success, characterized by productive discussions, strategic planning, and a spirit of collaboration. With Ena Voûte’s inspiring leadership, the committee is well-positioned to advance its mission of fostering educational and research excellence across Europe. The meeting not only reinforced the alliance’s commitment to shared goals but also highlighted the importance of cultural exchange and personal connections, epitomized by the memorable paella cooking session. As the ENHANCE alliance moves forward, it does so with renewed vigor and a clear vision for the future.

You can find more information about our governance structure on the ENHANCE website.