News and Views
UCC joins European-wide alliance of post-industrial city universities
University College Cork has joined a European alliance of eight universities based in post-industrial cities, with the aim of boosting mobility and inclusion for social impact.
UCC, along with universities in Bilbao, Bochum, Istanbul, Liège, Oulu, Rotterdam and Zagreb, signed the mission statement of UNIC: The European University of Post-Industrial Cities at a ceremony in the Netherlands earlier this week.
Issues such as youth unemployment, the impact of new technologies, a transition to renewable energy sources, and evolving health-related challenges all demand responses from post-industrial cities throughout Europe, following their transition from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy.
An important characteristic of a post-industrial European city is superdiversity in socio-economic and socio-cultural terms.
Superdiversity demands the development of more innovative, accessible and inclusive modes of research, teaching and learning which articulate and respond to the needs of diverse populations. Diverse knowledge and expertise, applied in similar post-industrial environment and audiences, will yield new approaches and best practices to help European higher education keep pace with a changing European population.
The UNIC proposal, led by Erasmus University Rotterdam and developed in close cooperation with students from the different universities, is a long-term alliance with three main facets.
- Inter-University Campus: enable students, staff and researchers/teachers, to move seamlessly to study, train, teach, do research, work or share services within UNIC, regardless of socio economic and cultural background.
- Superdiversity Academy: challenge universities to welcome students and staff of all backgrounds.
- CityLabs: meeting places for knowledge exchange in and with the cities.
Dr Jean van Sinderen-Law, Associate Vice President, Director of European Relations and Public Affairs at UCC, said
“UCC and Cork City Council are delighted to build on their existing relationships - particularly around the UNESCO City of Learning and the UCC Civic and Community Engagement agenda - and in so doing to interact seamlessly under the auspices of a proposed European University of Post Industrial Cities with seven equivalent University City partnerships across Europe. Relationships and partnerships are critical for our future”.
The UNIC proposal will be submitted later this month to the European Commission’s European University Initiative, in support of the ambition towards a European Education Area.