Essex is one of eight young universities helping create one of the first true European Universities through the Young University for the Future of Europe (YUFE) Alliance.
We’re working with eight young universities and six associate partners from the higher education, non-governmental and private sector to shape the future of European higher education by establishing a European University that's open to all.
University of Antwerp, Belgium
Universitat Bremen, Germany
University of Eastern Finland
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
Tor Vergata Universita di Roma, Italy
Maastricht University, Netherlands
University of Cyprus
University of Essex, UK
European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland
International University of Rijeka, Croatia
"Establishing one of the first truly European universities will offer students and staff so much more than conventional exchange placements. They will be fully integrated into our institution, can make use of all the services and take advantage of the strong connections between YUFE institutions."
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the lives of people all over the world. It is changing the way we work, the way we learn, and the way we live. Naturally, the pandemic also has had an impact on the YUFE alliance.
Our aims remain the same we’re working towards building a young, student-centred, non-elitist, open and inclusive European University. One of its key components will be the physical, blended and virtual mobility of students and staff.
With restrictions on movement and gatherings enforced all over Europe, it becomes increasingly important to emphasise the importance of online education opportunities.
In response, the YUFE alliance has decided to put increased emphasis on its virtual campus rather than mainly focusing on the time after COVID-19 – when physical mobility will be possible again. This online platform will virtually connect citizens, students and staff all over Europe.
Our hope is to reap the benefits of our virtual platform and further strengthen the online resources that all academic institutions in YUFE have already put in pace since they have had to move their classes online swiftly. Through these combined efforts, YUFE is determined to reach its goal of having the first YUFE students starting in the academic year 2020-2021.
We’re always guided by the needs and interests of students and staff. We’re consulting with our YUFE partners, students, governments and other European University alliances, to try to develop accessible solutions and answers to the many questions people are asking about our project. There are no 'manuals' or 'guidelines' that we can fall back on in this exceptional situation.
It is challenging working together across borders without being able to meet face-to-face for such an extended period of time.
However, the commitment of everyone working on YUFE is shining through, with an abundance of virtual meetings, which allows us to move forward in a coordinated way. This, with the unique sense of community students and staff generate is allowing us to build activities and solutions over the upcoming months.
The YUFE European University will enable prospective students to choose from programmes offered at each of the eight YUFE universities. To allow access to all systems and facilities of these universities, the alliance will introduce a YUFE student card, valid at all participating universities. The official language of YUFE study programmes is English, but students who spend a period at a university in another country are encouraged and supported to learn the language of their host country. When they have successfully completed their studies, students receive a European diploma that will be valid anywhere in Europe. The diploma will not only acknowledge students’ academic performance, but also acknowledge their effort in mobility, language learning, professional training, job shadowing and community volunteering.
To guarantee accessibility for as many students as possible, YUFE is preparing to set up a virtual European campus. Part-time students or interested citizens who want to follow a single virtual or physical course can also make use of the YUFE offer. For full-time students studying at one of the partner universities elsewhere in Europe, YUFE will develop housing solutions that facilitate cultural exchange, mutual support and integration with the local community. For example, an option YUFE is considering is furnishing special homes where students can live for free during their stay and in close proximity with local residents. They will be given the opportunity to contribute to the community in their neighbourhood, and to foster a culture of mutual support in all YUFE cities and communities. YUFE students will be immediately immersed in the local and regional society and will thus be the catalyst for further European integration.
The YUFE programme itself pays a lot of attention to the specific regions in which the eight YUFE universities are located. When it comes to internships, for example, every university will work together with local authorities, the business community and other organisations. These collaborations are based on challenges that are of great importance to the YUFE regions. In Limburg, for example, the region of the coordinating institution Maastricht University, the Brightlands ecosystem will be an excellent setting to implement the joint YUFE approach. In Cyprus, students will contribute to the development of more efficient public transport in the capital Nicosia. In Essex (UK), YUFE projects will contribute to solving socio-economic disadvantage the eastern region.