european networks

YUFE: a new European university 

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We’re part of the Young University for the Future of Europe alliance.

Essex is one of ten young universities helping to create one of the first true European Universities through the Young University for the Future of Europe (YUFE) alliance. We’re working with these partners from higher education, and the non-governmental and private sector to shape the future of European higher education by establishing a European University that's open to all. 

How it works 

If you're a bachelor student in your second year or above, you'll have the opportunity to study for a European diploma, by compiling your own curriculum from all courses offered across the eight YUFE universities. In addition, the YUFE Virtual Campus will host all members’ online course offers.

A YUFE student card will offer you access to facilities everywhere, and you will have opportunities to volunteer or follow internships. Your diploma will also list your achievements relating to language learning, professional training, job shadowing, community volunteering and all the other opportunities YUFE offers.


Why YUFE is important to Essex 

At Essex we have one of the most international academic communities in the world. We believe it is more important than ever to forge international partnerships with universities which share our mission and values. YUFE will play an important role in transforming the higher education sector in Europe by driving forward innovation, staff and student mobility, and enriching the economic, social and cultural life of our region.

For our part in helping to establish one of the first truly European universities, we will offer incoming and outgoing students and staff so much more than conventional exchange placements; they will be fully integrated into our institution, and can make use of all the services and take advantage of the strong connections between YUFE institutions.

Within YUFE's operational work areas we are pleased to be leading on Diversity and Inclusivity activity and co-leading on Staff Journey activity. We are also actively involved in other operational areas, including Quality Assurance, the Student Journey, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cities, Communications and Sustainability. 

Who belongs to the YUFE alliance 

YUFE alliance universities  

  1. Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  2. Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland
  3. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
  4. University of Antwerp, Belgium
  5. University of Bremen, Germany
  6. University of Cyprus, Cyprus
  7. University of Eastern Finland, Finland
  8. University of Essex, United Kingdom
  9. University of Rijeka, Croatia
  10. Tor Vergata University of Rome, Italy

YUFE associate partners 

  • Adecco Group
  • European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME
  • ETS Global
  • Kiron
  • Uniri

YUFE staff programme 26 November 2020 to 28 January 2021 

From December 2020 through to January 2021 the YUFE alliance is offering mobility and training opportunities for staff members of all member universities.

These include teaching activities for academic staff, and other activities such as job shadowing, professional development and specific competence-building training, to complement  individual staff development needs at all career levels, to help:

  • build and foster a professional and personal network within the YUFE alliance and beyond
  • improve transferable and practicable skills relevant for current activities and professional career development
  • promote the exchange of experience and good practice among YUFE partners
  • familiarise participants with working in a different national context in terms of culture, rules and regulations

Types of training activities that will be available include: 

•      virtual teaching assignment, including a lecture series, and mini-courses
•      virtual blended training offers and workshops
•      virtual language courses
•      staff training days and weeks
•      virtual job shadowing and observation periods
•      research projects, combined with a training or teaching offer

Explore YUFE's mobility and training for staff programme.


YUFE Academy 2020 lecture series launched 

Students, staff and members of our local community are invited to find out more about the Young Universities for the Future of Europe alliance, YUFE, by taking part in the first edition of the YUFE Academy. For five weeks throughout November and December, the YUFE Academy is offering four online lectures a week across the alliance’s YUFE universities – which includes Essex – letting participants 'travel' through ten European countries and get a unique experience of attending 20 very different academic lectures. Find out more and register.

Two YUFE students
"Lectures will cover the values, culture, and roots of contemporary Europe, but also look ahead to the future of Europe, as well as at economic changes, and education and tourism, in the world of and after the COVID-19 pandemic."

The YUFE journey starts for Essex students

We had a keen interest from Essex students in joining the YUFE Introduction Offer, which starts in October 2020, and we're really looking forward to welcoming students from our YUFE partners who will be studying with us as the new term gets underway. 

YUFE diploma supplement planned for spring 2021 

This is just the start of the YUFE journey for our university, and a new diploma track is planned for launch in spring term 2021.  The YUFE Diploma Supplement Track will offer our students the opportunity to take academic courses at the nine other YUFE universities, plus you’ll be able to participate in the YUFE Academy and induction courses, and take up at least one YUFE activity such as language training or community engagement. When you’ve completed the track, the Diploma Supplement will not only acknowledge your academic performance, but it will also acknowledge your effort in mobility, language learning, professional training, job shadowing and community volunteering.  

 We’ll keep our student community updated through our Essex Spirit newsletter and departmental communications, but for now you can follow YUFE on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for updates and bookmark the YUFE website. 


YUFE is dedicated to being open and inclusive – that means access regardless of prospective students’ socioeconomic or cultural background. We are currently developing the admissions criteria for the YUFE Diploma Supplement Track. 

Essex and YUFE

If you are a member of University of Essex staff and want to find out how you can support YUFE please contact Dr Nadine Rossol, Deputy Dean of Partnerships (Europe). 

Developing the YUFE staff journey 

As well as providing opportunities for students across the YUFE network, there is also a workstream focusing on the opportunities for staff to develop and share expertise.  The objective of the Staff Journey strand of work, which is co-led by the University of Essex and the University of Bremen as alliance members, is to:

  • develop a series of tools, using the European University concept to promote upward career paths and professional development exchanges
  • help foster a culture of excellence and enhance our capacity to attract, develop and share talented staff
To support the delivery of the YUFE Staff Journey, four subgroups have been created focusing on
  • career tracks
  • mobility
  • talent and experts' portal
  • staff development and recruitment strategy 

By Autumn 2020  a joint Staff Development Policy has been co-produced setting out the principles and commitment of each YUFE partner to provide accessible, quality training and development for staff at all levels. This is to be followed by a Recruitment strategy paper defining the joint YUFE commitment to inclusive, open and fair recruitment. If you'd like to find out more about the YUFE Staff Journey, please contact Duncan Crowe, Resourcing Manager

Due to current limitations on international travel the focus of the mobility strand has, by necessity, changed to focus on opportunities for virtual mobility. 

YUFE white logo
YUFE will play an important role in transforming the higher education sector in Europe by driving forward innovation, staff and student mobility, and enriching the economic, social and cultural life of our region.

How YUFE is responding to COVID-19

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.

Developing our virtual platform

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.

How we’re moving forward on YUFE

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 vision

Studying throughout Europe

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.

Feeling at home in the YUFE cities

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. Students 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.

Regional focus and impact

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.