Jörgen Sjöberg, Tekn. Dr., Director International Affairs, Chalmers University of Technology

Gothenburg, Sweden

Today, 4th November, was the launching event of European university networks, collecting new and old consortia, representatives from the European Commission and member states. There was also a special student meeting which gave important input to the common session. It is clear, that the European Commission’s ambitions are high, and several of the networks have set ambitious goals, aiming at fundamental changes of higher education in Europe. ‘A game changer for universities’ as several speakers expressed it. Micro credentials, automatic recognition, common quality assurance arrangements and European degrees were frequently mentioned, along with the associated obstacles already encountered. Several universities gave witness on the challenge to get broad involvement from their own institution.

Many interesting initiatives have been taken by the alliances in the first batch and they are already finding ways to get by legal, financial and administrative barriers. ENHANCE has the chance to learn from this experience. It is exciting to see how we in ENHANCE will refine our concepts and translate them into concrete examples, figuring out what can be done under existing conditions, explore the willingness of our national authorities to permit deviation from current rules and where we can set a good standard for a tighter cooperation. I picked up some words I believe can be useful to us: anchor actions in overarching strategic ambitions and principles; avoid complex structures – make it simple; adopt a step-by-step approach. Now our project has stared. It’s all in our own hands.