The European Universities Initiative is one of the flagships of the European Union with the aim of building up a European Education Area via transnational alliances between higher education institutions (HEIs).
These alliances will become the universities of the future, promoting European values and identity, and revolutionising the quality and competitiveness. Under the first two calls in 2019 and 2020 there have been a total of 41 different alliances and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, a member of the CIDD, is also taking part in an alliance called “Ulysseus”, which was launched in 2020. We asked our former CIDD assistant Johanna Koskinen, who now works as a Development Officer for Ulysseus, to introduce us to this initiative.
What is Ulysseus?
We have a vision: to develop an excellency-recognized entrepreneurial European University built upon the European values of social cohesion and respect for human rights. We strongly believe that European Universities should be open-to-the-world, solidary institutions beyond European borders.
The Ulysseus alliance is composed of six diverse HEIs: University of Seville (USE, coordinator), Haaga-Helia UAS (HH), Université Côte d’Azur (UCA), University of Genoa (Unige), Technical University of Kosice (TUKE) and Management Center Innsbruck (MCI). In addition, we have 99 associated partners: key stakeholders comprising regional and local governments, business corporations, companies, citizen associations, students’ associations and NGOs. Haaga-Helia leads the work package called “Building up Competences for the Future”. It´s aim is to prepare highly-skilled digital, multilingual, and entrepreneurial European citizens through a combination of innovative learning and teaching activities.
What are the concrete actions you are taking to achieve your vision?
In order to achieve our vision, we aim to achieve five key goals: modernizing our universities by developing a long-lasting Ulysseus territorial and digital Innovation Ecosystem; contributing to the development of our regions and cities by implementing student-centered, flexible, work-based European Joint and Double Degree Programmes; reducing the competence gap through a combination innovative learning and teaching activities; enhancing the knowledge and practice of the European values by shaping a European citizen of the future, respectful to human rights, equality and inclusiveness; and promoting an open-to-the-world model of university by a combination of in-person and virtual mobility.
We also have six Innovation Hubs, which are the innovative joint structures for collaboration within the Ulysseus community. Each hub has a specific theme: Artificial Intelligence (Haaga-Helia); Food, Biotechnology and Circular Economy (MCI); Digitalization (TUKE); Turism, Arts, Heritage (Unige), Ageing and Wellbeing (UCA) and Energy, Transport and Smart Cities (USE).
Could you tell us about the double and joint degrees that Ulysseus is planning?
Ulysseus will develop joint Master´s and PhD degrees, as well as, Bachelor, Master and PhD level double degrees. Up until now we have identified different options for double degrees and work is on the way to finalize them. We at Haaga-Helia actually already have one for the IB Bachelor programme with MCI, but the rest will be developed soon. The first Ulysseus European joint Master´s degree on Energy, Transport, Mobility and Smart Cities is currently being developed. This joint degree is a diploma awarded by two or more universities, which will be recognised in various countries. With this initiative, Ulysseus involves the student from the very beginning in a bottom-up process
Ulysseus’ double and joint degrees:
Development Officer Johanna Koskinen