UNIVERSEH, the European Space University for Earth and Humanity, has marked its ongoing development by a high-level conference on the theme of “Space and the Universities of the Future in Europe”, held in Toulouse, France, on 4 October 2021.
UNIVERSEH is an alliance of five higher education institutions aiming to develop new ways of collaboration in the field of space, within the “European Universities” initiative by the European Commission. UNIVERSEH associates Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi Pyrénées (France), Université du Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (Germany), Luleå tekniska universitet (Sweden) and AGH University of Science and Technology (Poland).
The inaugural conference focused on the contributions that the universities of the future can provide to enhance skills in Europe in the Space and New Space sector; on how UNIVERSEH can provide mutual benefits to all its stakeholders; and how equal access of all students to a high-quality education can be ensured.
The conference heard contributions from representatives of the five universities engaged in the alliance; of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation; of major players in the space industry such as CNES, Airbus, and Thales; of European institutions such as the European Space Agency, the European Investment Fund and the European Parliament; and of several start-up companies.
The conference also saw the launch of “Beyond UNIVERSEH”. Beyond UNIVERSEH is the Research pillar of UNIVERSEH. It is set to expand the teaching and learning know-how of the alliance into a UNIVERSEH European Research University focusing on “Space” in all its dimensions: Science and Engineering; Economy, Business and Finance; Medicine and Health; Social and Human Sciences; Art and Culture; Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It will connect researchers and stakeholders from multiple backgrounds, promoting a highly multi-disciplinary and cross sectorial network to address the societal challenges of Space and New Space.
Beyond UNIVERSEH’s main ambition is to develop and propose a research policy roadmap for 2035 and a vision for 2050 within the space sector. This roadmap will implement a sustainable, integrated research and innovation network within the UNIVERSEH alliance and beyond. Also, Beyond UNIVERSEH will create a shared and collaborative virtual single lab and a research community, spearheading new collaborative and interdisciplinary methodologies, to further enhance Space research and innovation outputs.
Philippe Raimbault, chairman of the Governing Board of UNIVERSEH, stated: “We are excited at the perspectives that UNIVERSEH offers to all stakeholders, students, researchers, and the institutional and commercial operators in the wide-ranging domain of space activities. UNIVERSEH is in the process of developing an ambitious European programme to support the thriving eco-system of space activities with the dynamic support of governmental and public bodies as well as of commercial players. Space is the ultimate challenge for mankind, and we are convinced that the UNIVERSEH alliance will provide substantial added value to support the manifold endeavours in this area, thereby contributing to strengthen Europe’s position in the domain of Space and new Space.”
UNIVERSEH – The European Space University for Earth and Humanity is an alliance of the University Fédérale de Toulouse (France), the University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (Germany), Luleå tekniska universitet (Sweden) and Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza im. Stanisława Staszica w Krakowie (Poland). The alliance focuses on the development of educational activities and innovative collaborations in the European space sector. Reflecting European values, UNIVERSEH’s objectives are to facilitate mobility and multilingualism, promote student inclusion and diversity, support interdisciplinary programmes, and strengthen pedagogical innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. UNIVERSEH encourages the thematic mobility of students and teachers, promotes cooperation between higher education institutions and facilitates interaction on issues common to the European education systems. The alliance draws on its expertise, experience and relations with industry and public institutions in the space sector. UNIVERSEH was created in 2020 as part of the Erasmus+ “European Universities” initiative of the European Commission. Together, partners have the potential to reach more than 140,000 students, researchers and staff.