The programme will be divided into two parts. During the morning workshop sessions, participants will have the chance to share best practices on the common challenges identified during the pilot period (see policy brief European Universities Association). These sessions are open to professionals with working experience on the topics that will be discussed and students interested in higher education policy.

During the afternoon, the participants of the morning workshops, as well as the wider public, are warmly invited to join sessions on the regional engagement of European universities and the role of member states and the European Commission in supporting European alliances.

10 May 2023

08:30 - 09:15


09:15 - 09:30

Opening words: Rianne Letschert, President of Maastricht University

09:30 - 09:45

Introduction programme and workshops

09:45 - 11:15

Workshop session round 1: ideation 


Building European University alliances has many different purposes. Actors in and outside the participating universities may attach different degrees of importance to these objectives. How can European Universities align different goals, motivations and expectations, while keeping an alliance’s academic vision in focus – be it within a participating institution, among alliance members or with regard to external political expectations?

Facilitator: Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik, Deputy Director for Policy Coordination & Foresight at European University Association


Alliance member universities have different institutional systems; therefore, alliance activities and priorities are integrated differently into the normal activity flow of these institutions. How can European alliances take into account these differences in governance, processes and university community involvement and while keeping decision-making efficient and effective?

Facilitator: Meritxell Chaves, University of Barcelona, Secretary General of Charm-EU Alliance and coordinator of the FOR-EU1 subgroup on governance


Funding is key for the sustainability of European alliances in the long-run. However, alliance members must juggle different funding frameworks, while the full and real costs of implementing diverse goals may be underestimated or not even known. What do European Universities need to strengthen their financial capacity? 

Facilitator: Peter van der Hijden, Independent advisor on higher education strategy

Implementation of joint programmes

A number of challenges arise when alliance members work on implementing joint programmes. Issues can range from variations in accreditation and quality assurance systems to differences in degree structures, ECTS, language of instruction and academic calendars. Wat is needed for European Universities to overcome these challenges more efficiently?

Facilitators: Veronique Eurlings, Head of YUFE Student Journey (and former YUFE Institutional Coordinator at Maastricht University) and Lea Bilić, YUFE/Maastricht University student


11:15 - 11:30

Coffee break

11:30 - 12:45

Workshop session round 2: choosing best ideas


12:45 - 13:15

Plenary discussion

13:15 - 14:15


14:15 - 14:25

Words by Ambassador of France to The Netherlands, François Alabrune

14:25 - 15:45

European Universities and the sustainable development of their regions

Community engagement and societal impact are central to the idea of European Universities. Specifically, they are expected to ‘also contribute to the sustainable economic development of the regions where they are located, as their students will work closely with companies, municipal authorities, academics and researchers to find solutions to the challenges their regions are facing’ (European Commission, 2019).

How do European Universities define community engagement and societal impact? How can European Universities foster cooperation with stakeholders in their surrounding ecosystems in order to address societal challenges? How can universities foster talent retainment in their regions? What are different ways to measure the impact of these activities?

Together with experts, the audience will discuss these questions and reflect on how European alliances can contribute to universities’ existing societal impact strategies.

Confirmed speakers:

Dr. Astrid Boeijen, CEO at Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen 

Dr. Yuzhuo Cai, adjunct professor at the Higher Education Group (HEG), Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University in Finland

Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik, Deputy Director for Policy Coordination & Foresight at European University Association

Moderated by: Job Zomerplaag, PhD researcher and programme maker at Studio Europa Maastricht


15:45 - 16:00

Keynote lecture by Prof. Jacques Comby, former President of Université Lyon III and adviser to Sylvie Retailleau, French Minister of Higher Education and Science

16:00 - 17:00

Roundtable discussing the importance of the European Universities initiative and reflecting on the outcomes of the morning programme.

Confirmed speakers:

Tine Delva, Deputy Head of Unit Higher Education at the European Commission (online)

Tanguy Guibert, Executive Committee European Students' Union

Siegfried Martin-Diaz, Head of the department on European strategies for higher education and research, French Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation

Annemarie de Ruiter, Head of Department EU at Directorate International Policy, Dutch Ministry of Education and Research 

Peter van der Hijden, Independent advisor on higher education strategy

Moderated by: Daniela Trani, Policy Director at Maastricht University and former Director of the YUFE Alliance

17:00 - 19:00

Networking event