Our vision: why we came together

The European University alliance for sustainability: responsible GRowth, inclusive Education and ENvironment (EU GREEN) brings together nine peripheral regionally-anchored but globally oriented mid-sized universities from across the continent, each focused on a particular set of sustainability-related practices.

Our ambition is born out of the conviction that we can better serve our students, territories and planet by working together to scale up and promote sustainability and address the major societal challenges identified in the 17 SDGs. Our name “GREEN” is an umbrella term for sustainability and reflects our mission to contribute to a more equitable society, a more balanced economy and a more viable environment.

EU GREEN is built around a true perspective of sustainability, encompassing the economic, societal, cultural and environmental dimensions of the term and their impact on one another. Our approach is closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals across all four of our core missions: education, research, innovation and service to society.

Together we have built an inclusive and collaborative partnership that places these SDGs at the heart of our research and innovation approach and integrates them in our teaching and learning model. Such an approach to sustainability is necessarily bottom-up. It entails moving from a hub based model whereby our main links are with research-intensive universities in each country, to a network model, whereby we strengthen relations between locally embedded universities across Europe.

Eight of the nine EU GREEN universities are situated in territories that are either intermediate density or thinly populated areas. These territories regroup over 60% of the European population and have the lowest rates of health, digital skills or tertiary education. Yet today, the vast majority of research, the overwhelming number of university students and the main innovation centres are concentrated in major urban areas for whom these territories are considered peripheral.

Our approach to boost flows between peripheral regions echoes the focus on South-South flows at an intra-European level. Together, thanks to EU GREEN we thus defend a fairer Europe, in which excellence is distributed across the continent, where small cities and rural hinterlands thrive and where success has a positive impact on society as a whole.

Our mission: how we will implement our vision.

EU GREEN’s four-year strategic objective is the creation of a European hub for education, research, and innovation in sustainability that goes beyond the consortium’s borders and acts globally to provide solutions to local or regional challenges, which can be replicated at a global level.

The hub will be designed to tackle the challenges arising from globalization, especially for communities who are most vulnerable to them (for geographical, economic, political reasons), either within or outside the EU borders. Protecting and boosting EU values (inclusion, democracy, peace, etc.), by making them stronger and more widespread will, in turn, strengthen the EU’s capacity to weather outside shocks, making it more resilient at its core.

It will focus on peripheral regions such as those where the nine members of EU GREEN are located. For this, EU GREEN will rely on a shared space, not only virtual but also physical, where education, training, research and/or innovation activities developed by Alliance members (as well as third-party HEIs) will be shared.

In addition, the EU GREEN pedagogical activity will be available virtually through an “EU GREEN European Virtual University” platform, fostering inclusion and access to quality European education for citizens from all over the world. This major objective comprises five underlying axes of activity: education, research, innovation, service to society, and European values.

Our young European students, together with our researchers, teachers, and administrative staff, have played and will continue playing a central role in shaping these axes. Building this common approach around sustainability and identifying clear four-year objectives lays the ground for our long-term ambition of moving beyond an alliance of nine universities to become a true European University sharing a common strategy across our nine campuses and throughout all our core missions.