UO awarded for its excellent participation in Erasmus+ programme

Zdjęcie nagłówkowe otwierające podstronę: UO awarded for its excellent participation in Erasmus+ programme

The University of Opole has won one of the main awards in the European Universities - Alliances of the Future competition in the 'Erasmus+ Excellence' category for its active participation in the Erasmus+ programme.

The awards were presented during the First European Universities Conference, which took place on 15 May 2023 in Warsaw. The competition, under the motto 'European Universities at the core of an innovative Europe', was organised by the Erasmus+ National Agency. Its aim, according to the organisers, was to identify - for the first time in history - 'the most inspiring and active Polish universities operating within university alliances and to promote the initiative and the importance of European Universities for the Polish and European economy'. Awards were given to the universities most involved in international partnerships.

Prizes were awarded in five categories. In the 'Personality' category, the award went to Prof. Marek Pawełczyk from the Silesian University of Technology. In the category 'Support for Ukraine', the winner was the University of Gdansk, in the category 'Innovation' - the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, and in the category 'Cooperation with the socio-economic environment' - the Poznań University of Technology.

In the 'Erasmus+ Excellence' category, in which five universities from across the country were nominated, the main prizes went to the Łódź University of Technology and the University of Opole. As the organisers of the competition explained, 'The nominees include individuals and institutional beneficiaries, i.e. entities ('HEIs') that are implementing or have completed projects as a leader or partner and have received funding for their initiatives within the framework of European Universities from the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

'This award is an appreciation of our already extensive, long-standing activity within the Erasmus+ programme, based on hard data from recent years,' says Professor Marek Masnyk, Rector of the University of Opole. ‘The award was granted both because of our membership in the FORTHEM Alliance, active international cooperation within the Erasmus+ programme as reflected, among other things, in exchanges involving students and academics, and because that already in 2019, we were among a small group of five universities in Poland, alongside the University of Gdańsk, Jagiellonian University, the University of Warsaw and the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, to be granted European University status. The fact that in the latest ranking of the Perspektywy Educational Foundation we were ranked 30th among almost a hundred surveyed academic centres in the country was probably also significant.

It should be recalled that under the Erasmus+ programme, the University of Opole has signed agreements with 209 universities from 27 European Union countries. The University of Opole belongs to the network of European Universities and is part of the FORTHEM Alliance, which comprises Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (Germany) Université de Bourgogne (France), Jyväskylän yliopisto (Finland), Università degli Studi di Palermo (Italy), Latvijas Universitāte (Latvia), and Universitat of Valencia (Spain).

According to the Ministry of Education and Science, European Universities are ‘a kind of transnational alliance of HEIs from across the EU, which will form a core network of HEIs within the Union enabling students to obtain degrees by combining studies in several EU countries and contributing to the international competitiveness of European universities. They share a long-term educational strategy, promoting European values and strengthening European identity. They aim at increasing the mobility of students, academics and the research community, as well as promoting quality, integration and competitiveness of European higher education.”
It is worth mentioning that within this year's edition of this competition, the University of Opole was also nominated - among 15 universities from all over the country - in the 'Support for Ukraine'.

The Erasmus+ National Agency and the European Solidarity Corps report that the European Universities Conference is a new initiative dedicated to alliances between higher education institutions from across the European Union, implemented as part of the Erasmus+ programme. ‘Our guiding objective is to exchange experiences, launch joint initiatives leading to the development of long-term, structural, durable and systemic cooperation in education, research and innovation across Europe,’ they explain.