EU Commission selects HEROES as new European University allianceto boost smart regional resilience

4. 7. 2024

The HEROES Alliance unites nine universities of applied sciences across the EU under one common objective: to strengthen the resilience of the regions they are located in through digital innovations. 120,000 students and 14,000 staff spread over 22 campuses in mainly non-urban areas will benefit from deep transnational collaboration in education and research, made possible by new funding from the Erasmus+ Programme.

Young, agile and regional

The ‘Higher Education for Resilience-Oriented and Empowered Societies’ project – HEROES for short – is one of 14 new alliances to receive generous support from the European Commission to build a European University alliance[1].

The HEROES Alliance stands out as one made up exclusively of young, agile and regionally embedded universities of applied sciences. Each member operates within and actively shapes local innovation ecosystems, maximising close partnerships with industry and other partners.

Smart regional resilience

While the HEROES partners have a rich history of bilateral and multilateral transnational collaboration, this new funding is a catalyst for HEROES’ ambition to empower students, lifelong learners, researchers, lecturers and staff to strengthen the smart resilience of their regions.

‘Smart regional resilience’ refers to a region’s ability to anticipate, adapt to, and recover from disruptions by strategically leveraging digital innovations.

To achieve smart regional resilience, HEROES focuses on quality professional (lifelong) education, impactful practice-oriented scientific research, robust transnational collaboration and seamless mobility among its partners. These are the pillars of the future green and inclusive HEROES inter-university campus.

New generation of heroes

“The effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, technological disruption and eroding social cohesion are strongly felt at grassroots level. HEROES’ universities of applied sciences along with their students and staff play a key role in developing digital solutions that address global challenges in locally relevant and effective ways. We are delighted and thankful to the EU for boosting our capacity to deepen our collaboration and to transform the talents of a new generation of Europeans into superpowers that strengthen our regions, both within the EU and beyond,” stated Sofie Mols, executive director of HEROES from Thomas More University of Applied Sciences.

“Membership in the alliance means that MENDELU is connected to other universities across Europe. European universities are a key initiative for the creation of the European Education Area and the transformation of higher education in Europe. The benefits of this project for our staff and students are important. The practice-oriented joint research centre will provide a space for new transnational projects based on collaboration with the local community, businesses and international partners. New opportunities for education and training will be created, leading to the acquisition of micro-certificates. Joint professional development of employees, e.g. in the use of artificial intelligence, will be possible. The Alliance should contribute to the creation of joint bachelor and master programmes,” stated Jiří Skládanka, vice-rector for internartional and public affairs MENDELU.

The members of HEROES are based in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. HEROES also includes associated partners from Albania, France, Greece, Kosovo and Ukraine. HEROES is further supported by experts and organisations in the International Advisory Network, including the Erasmus Student Network, EURASHE, UAS4EUROPE and Lifelong Learning Platform.

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