New funding secured to implement and develop CHARM-EU's innovative vision

The CHARM-EU European University Alliance, of which the University of Montpellier is a member, has been awarded a 12.8 million euro grant for the "CHARM-EIGHT" project under the Erasmus+ 2022 call for European Universities. With three new partners joining the alliance, CHARM-EU will continue to deepen, intensify and extend the effectiveness of existing cooperation to drive forward the process of higher education transformation and increase the impact of "European Universities".

In 2019, the CHARM-EU alliance was one of the first 17 selected by the European Commission as part of the "European Universities" initiative, designed to boost the quality, inclusion and competitiveness of European higher education. Since then, CHARM-EU has established a deep and fruitful collaboration between its partners, which has resulted in the design of several innovative tools, models, programs and practices. One of these is the first Master's program to be accredited (Master's "Global Challenges for Sustainable Development") according to the criteria of the European Universities Initiative. The alliance has brought together academics from different disciplines and universities in knowledge-creation teams, engaged external stakeholders and developed a governance model with innovative administrative structures underpinned by CHARM-EU's core values: inclusive, student-centered, socially responsible, sustainable, innovative, transparent, intercultural and transdisciplinary. CHARM-EU has also begun to shape its research and innovation dimension through the TORCH project(Transforming Open Responsible Research and Innovation through CHARM), an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project aimed at developing a joint research and innovation (R&I) agenda for alliance partners, based on transdisciplinarity and interculturality to solve complex societal challenges.

The new Erasmus + grant will enable the CHARM-EU alliance to grow, increase its innovative activities, implement its long-term vision and have a systemic, structural and sustainable impact on society. It will help make the alliance a global example and game-changer for the best of Europe's research, innovation and education tradition, offering an open, plural, inclusive, flexible and entrepreneurial learning experience to citizens from all over the world.

Focus on expanding and improving CHARM-EU objectives

Having created and tested innovative practices, tools, methods and approaches in the first years of collaboration, the CHARM-EU alliance will focus on expanding and strengthening its impact while continuing the living lab activities within CHARM-EIGHT. Aiming to be an influential "ice-breaker" that inspires academic and external stakeholders, the alliance will consolidate and strengthen governance and cooperation, develop its challenge-based learning lab and educational offering with a visible link between research, business and society, while creating an inter-institutional, intercultural, transdisciplinary and inclusive campus that will contribute to the European mindset. CHARM-EU will integrate successful innovations and best practices for the direct benefit of its partner institutions, while continuing to develop innovative tools and models and establish new partnerships at all levels.

Initially, the alliance comprising the University of Barcelona (coordinator), Trinity College Dublin, the University of Utrecht, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest and the University of Montpellier will be expanded to include Åbo Akademi University in Finland, Julius-Maximilians University Würzburg and Hochschule Ruhr West in Germany. The integration of the three new partners will help to achieve the alliance's ambitious objectives, while bringing in experience from different education systems, particularly in terms of program design, teaching curricula, learning and digital transformation.

"All the universities that are members of CHARM-EIGHT are very enthusiastic about this new phase. What's more, the new members make us stronger as an alliance," says Joan Guàrdia, Rector of the University of Barcelona (CHARM-EIGHT coordinator).

CHARM-EIGHT's ambitions to benefit all stakeholders

With the support of the new Erasmus+ grant, the CHARM-EU alliance will provide an innovative environment for the benefit of students, academic staff and extra-academic stakeholders. By bringing the partners together, over 245,000 students will benefit from an innovative teaching and learning environment, to be best prepared for the future through a wide range of activities. Over 34,000 members of staff will have access to a trans-disciplinary, cross-cultural working environment offering a wide range of professional development activities and internal transformation initiatives to enhance their day-to-day work.

Local and regional players as well as society will benefit from transdisciplinary cooperation aimed at identifying, proposing and creating solutions to complex challenges. According to Joan Guàrdia, Rector of the University of Barcelona, "CHARM- EIGHT is a shared commitment to the future, involving universities and social players in the structure of a new European university".

As our future depends on society's ability to provide just, resilient and inclusive solutions to global challenges, CHARM-EIGHT will continue to be committed to creating a transformative and sustainable European experience in education and research. It will also contribute positively to shaping Europe's role in the world, as it undergoes a profound transformation, to reconcile humanity with the planet.