The 3rd General Assembly of the EULiST Alliance was held from May 22nd to 24th in Brno, hosted by the Brno University of Technology (BUT), a member of the EULiST Alliance. This annual gathering follows the First General Assembly at Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC, Madrid) and the Second at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA, Greece).

Key Agenda and Discussions

The agenda of the III General Assembly included defining the roles of various boards within the project and the Alliance. Additionally, the Concept Paper of the PR Unit and its responsibilities were discussed. Final preparations for the EULiST Student Conference, scheduled for June 30 to July 4 in Vienna, which will host over 200 students from different Alliance universities, were also outlined.

Main Conclusions

The five main conclusions presented at the Assembly were:

  1. Enhancing Local Community Services: After three years of collaboration, the Alliance confirms its belief that EULiST will improve the services each university provides to their local communities. The efforts of faculty, staff, and students in supporting EULiST are highly appreciated.
  2. Acknowledgement of Efforts and Achievements: Special thanks were given to Leibniz Universität Hannover for successfully leading the Alliance to a significant milestone—becoming a registered European University. Although the Alliance has achieved some principal activities with project and seed funding, there is much broader potential to be utilized.
  3. Reaffirming Mission and Vision: The Alliance needs to refocus on its mission and vision, reflecting on its purpose and expectations. There is a need to define and sharpen the mission, vision, and identity of EULiST and pragmatically implement these in the universities.
  4. Focusing Priorities: The EULiST program should be condensed and focused to prioritize key performance indicators (KPIs), goals, and activities. This should align with the universities' priorities and strategic goals, focusing on the real needs of students and faculty staff.
  5. Strengthening Cooperation: A stronger Alliance requires enhanced cooperation among partners. Each partner's expertise and strengths should be mapped and pooled to empower the Alliance and its members. The Alliance should become a reference point and assist in decision-making.

Key Votes and Elections

The Assembly included three important votes:

  • Constitution of Advisory Boards: Advisory Boards were formally constituted.
  • Election of New Chair: The new chair of the Governing Board is Professor Ladislav Janíček, Rector of BUT, succeeding President Volker Epping. Professor Janíček will be assisted as co-chair by Professor Juha-Matti Saksa, Rector of LUT.
  • Rotation of Management Board Chair: Pablo Tomás Salvadores Alonso from URJC replaced Jari Hämäläinen (LUT) as the new chair of the Management Board. Pablo Salvadores will be assisted as co-chair by Thanasis Zisis (NTUA).

Success and Networking

The III General Assembly was deemed a success due to the agreements reached, meetings held, and the dynamic networking activities facilitated by social events.

Overall, the 3rd General Assembly of the EULiST Alliance marked significant progress in the collaboration and strategic direction of the member universities, aiming to enhance their collective impact and achieve shared goals.

Open letter from the Rector of Brno and Chair of the Governing Board

I hope you have arrived home safely. I decided to write a couple of ideas motivated by impressions after the General Assembly or our Alliance held in Brno. First of all I would like you keep in your minds memories for a pleasant and friendly meeting. It was indeed a very intense program and, in my opinion, very important for the future direction of our Alliance and its activities. We have recently reached a key milestone, which is the acquisition of the status of a European University. Over the last three years we have invested a lot of effort in defining and developing activities in agreed workpackages. For all of this, our sincere and profound thanks go to all of you.

I have been honoured being elected the Chairman of the Governing Board of our Alliance for the next term. Thank you very much for your trust. I am humbly aware of the responsibility that this position entails. I appreciate all the more the coordinating work done for the Alliance by the to date chairman, Volker Epping, and his team at Leibniz Universität Hannover, together with Kristina Eibl and others, to whom we are very grateful. It was of course the active work, enthusiasm and efforts of all partners and individuals who gave their time to profile the activities of our Alliance.

The positive energy of all participants was evident during the days spent in Brno, with a readiness to move forward together to the next milestones on the path of forming a strong partnership between our universities that will allow to connect and share the best of their expertise and technological strengths. It is clear that each of our universities is embedded in its own national environment, with its own roles and tasks, its own needs, its own strategic priorities and also its own concerns. But no one doubts the importance of internationalisation as one of the pillars of the strategic development of modern universities, for which our Alliance provides an ideal platform. It is essential that the partnership of our universities in the Alliance will be built on pragmatic cooperation that will bring the added value useful for the development of all our universities in the national and international environment, will motivate by their benefits broadening and deepening our cooperation, and enable synergies to be achieved by combining the best of the expertise and infrastructure of each of our universities.

During the Brno meeting, the working groups for the individual areas of cooperation (workpackages) discussed the results achieved and their further development. The meeting of the Governing Board was held in the spirit of shaping a strategy for further development of the alliance in line with the aims of the Project and especially in the context of the need to choose the main priorities in the number of identified objectives and ideas, to set their indicators of performance and quality and to direct efforts towards their implementation so that their achievements become a motivator for further cooperation. We agreed that for the further direction of the Alliance, we also need to go back a little bit to the mission and vision of the Alliance, reflect on them and realize much more specifically why the Alliance exists, why we want to be in it and what we expect from it, and accept and implement the Alliance in our universities.

It is necessary to derive these priorities from the needs of the individual target groups for which the results and outputs of the individual workpackages are intended. These are primarily our students, young and talented researchers, postdoctoral fellows and academics seeking to gain international experience and develop their academic careers. It is important to think about the added value that the Alliance should have for the international community, society and the general academic community and to shape the activities of the Alliance so that they have at the same time a concrete, clear and comprehensible contribution to meet the institutional needs, priorities and objectives of our individual universities. The meeting in Brno was held in the spirit of the need to profile the identity of the Alliance and the way to achieve its desired image. It showed that, like other university alliances, we are at a natural point that requires us to update our strategy as a way to achieve our vision and strategic goals, to reflect on the role, the agenda and perhaps to adjust the implementation of the project accordingly.

During the meeting we had many discussions, both formal and informal, in the Governing Board, in the Advisory Board and in the individual working groups. In particular the informal discussions have added value in their openness, frankness and spontaneity, free from formal restraint. A constructive atmosphere was created and barriers were relaxed. It showed that we have a belief in the added value, purpose and meaning of our cooperation, that there is a general and unequivocal conviction among us that the Alliance has the potential to positively profile the role and functions of our universities, and that we have the will and motivation to move forward together towards further milestones. We agreed that we want a strong Alliance that will enable the creation of joint products of new quality that will lead to excellence for our Alliance as a whole and promote excellence and differentiation for our universities.

Each of our universities has its own top professional competencies and strengths. We have agreed to map this excellence and the potential of our partner universities, their strengths, areas of excellence and competitive knowledge, capacities and infrastructures to create a pool of activities, educational products, research opportunities that can be accessed and offered for use or further development. The Alliance should be, among other things, a source of examples of good practice and references on which decision-making within our universities can be based. Agreeing on common practices, approaches or policies can then significantly support appropriate system settings or measures taken at our individual universities.

We have a great advantage and experience, because we went through a period when without financial support the only glue between us was our motivation, enthusiasm and conviction about the sense of cooperation in the Alliance. We have persevered, succeeded and, most importantly, demonstrated cohesion. The challenge for the coming days, weeks and months will thus be to map the distributed excellence in our Alliance and to update its development strategy for the next period.

I would like to thank you once again for your participation at the EULiST General Assembly in Brno at our University, for the wonderful atmosphere imbued with enthusiasm and the will to cooperate, and to assure you that during my mandate I will strive for our closer networking and mutual cooperation at all levels of Alliance’s governance. I very much value the partnership, and perhaps I can write about the friendships that have been forged and strengthened between us and I am looking forward to our future meetings.

Thank you and best regards

Ladislav Janíček

Rector of Brno and Chair of the Governing Board