15 July 2020

The Donders Institute participates in the newly established European University for Neuroscience and Technology. This week, the European Commission recognised the alliance of Radboud University and seven other universities to join ‘European Universities Initiative’. The programme will receive 5 million euros for the next three years.

Partner universities are Oxford University, University of Bonn, Karolinska Institutet, Miguel Hernández University, Boğaziçi University, UMF Cluj-Napoca and the University of Debrecen. In addition to the eight universities involved, more than 250 European research institutes, (non-) governmental organizations and companies stepped in. Brain scientists from the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (Radboud University) took the initiative for the far-reaching international cooperation. That’s why the new European university will focus on neurosciences and technology development as its first goal.

This improves Europe's position in brain research and engineering, and provides well-educated people to tackle future problems in society.

European Universities Initiative facilitates the exchange of education, research and employment. This means that students can take lessons at all the institutions involved, not constrained by institutional capabilities and borders. They can thus gain international experience and benefit from the specific expertise of the various universities. For scientists, it will lead to the improvement of education they provide and to smoother cooperation in research.

In this way, the initiative trains new researchers and engineers at the highest possible level, with a background and network in several institutes.

Fighting brain diseases

Brain disorders are a leading cause of disability and a significant burden on society. In Europe alone, brain-related diseases - such as dementia, loss of sight and depression - account for almost a quarter of all health problems. With the senior population growing ten times faster than the rest of the world’s population, this is expected to increase further in the coming years.

Therefore, the alliance will focus on neurosciences and technology development as its first goal and will expand its focus across disciplines to maximize European potential in education, research, innovation and creativity. The prestigious group of universities will spend 5 million euros to build a trans-European network of excellence in brain research and technologies.

According to the initiator and lead of the project, Tansu Celikel, chair of the Donders Institute and Professor of Neurophysiology at Radboud University, the collaboration will have far-reaching impact beyond education and research. “The new European University will actively work to cherish diversity and promote a common European identity among students and researchers with multicultural, multilingual, international and intersectoral experiences across the European continent.”

The network of universities from North to South, and from East to Western Europe that arises, can also be used for other research fields in the future. Daniël Wigboldus, president of the Executive Board of Radboud University: 'We are enthusiastic about the alliance together with seven excellent partners from all regions of Europe and are committed to long-term cooperation in the field of education and research, starting with brain and technology.'

41 European universities

The creation of a series of European Universities originated in the European Commission. The idea is to make education in Europe competitive and future-proof. International cooperation between universities, research institutes and companies within a specific field of science guarantees high-quality education and research.

The concept of European Universities was developed under the guidance of the European Commission, in close cooperation with the Member States, higher education institutions and student organisations. The European Commission approved the first batch of 17 alliances of European Universities in 2019. This year, twenty-four new alliances have been approved.

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