Millions in funding for the FORTHEM Alliance of European universities

European Commission to provide some EUR 14.4 million to support Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and partners establish a transnational European University / Start of the second funding period with two new partners

28 October 2022

Initiated in summer 2019 as a network of seven partner universities, the FORTHEM Alliance with its now nine members in the north, south, west, and east of Europe is to be financed by the European Commission to the tune of about EUR 14.4 million from 1 November 2022 over the next four years. "Continuing our funding, the EU acknowledges our extensive commitment to the FORTHEM idea and concept. I would like to thank the EU for providing assistance to our plans for establishing a European university," said Professor Stephan Jolie, Vice President for Learning and Teaching at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). "So far, we have set up cooperation structures through which we promote dialog and exchange between students and teaching staff, researchers and administrative personnel of our various universities. We will further enhance our institutional transnational collaboration and make it accessible also for interest groups active in the field of commerce, politics, the arts, and culture."

The FORTHEM Alliance brings together more than 227,000 students, some 2,300 doctoral candidates, nearly 16,000 academics, and more than 14,000 administrative staff at JGU, the University of Burgundy in France, the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, the University of Opole in Poland, the University of Palermo in Italy, the University of Latvia and Universitat de València in Spain, together with those at the two new partners, the University of Agder in Norway and the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu in Romania.

In 2019, the FORTHEM Alliance was one of the first 17 university networks funded through the European Universities Initiative to come up with innovative proposals and ideas for the European Higher Education Area that would help stimulate and invigorate the concept. In accordance with the strategic framework of the European Commission for the European Education Area, FORTHEM focuses on five missions on its path to transformation into a European University:

  • The European Campus mission combines physical and hybrid mobility and the Digital Academy to include a much greater number of students in international opportunities.
  • The Labs and Co-creation mission strengthens co-creation as a focus and methodology for finding transregional solutions in collaboration with external partners.
  • The Research, Innovation, and Transfer mission addresses researchers' needs fostering cross-sectoral cooperation and training for future top performers in R&I. This mission builds on results of the FIT FORTHEM project.
  • The Skills and Competences mission focuses on the need for the development of future skills and for enhancing innovative elements in learning and teaching.
  • The Service-to-Society mission takes targeted steps toward lifelong learning and collaboration with private enterprises in addition to schools and the public sector.

"In the very spirit of our collaboration, we recently welcomed the University Management and Management Support team of the University of Agder, one of our latest FORTHEM partners, here at JGU," said Jolie. "Together with Rector Sunniva Whittaker and her team, we discussed the establishment of an International Classroom. Under the motto of 'Bringing Europe Home' we want to give all students the chance to study in a European and international environment – online and digital, while still based at their home universities. We also talked about co-creation, a topic in which the FORTHEM Labs can clearly profit from the expertise from Agder. We want to establish creative spaces for collaboration and encourage new cooperations."

About the FORTHEM Alliance

FORTHEM is one of now 44 European University alliances through which the EU Commission intends to create a European Higher Education Area with learning, studying and research transcending national borders. The idea behind the European Universities concept goes back to the ‘Initiative for Europe’ keynote address given by French President Emmanuel Macron on 26 September 2017 at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In that speech he proposed establishing a European University network.

The FORTHEM Alliance aims to bring its members and people from all over Europe together – traversing language-barriers, international borders, and academic disciplines to bring the European idea to life, to promote exchange at a more personal level, and to manifest the commitment to common democratic values. The partner universities promote the mobility of students and employees at their universities and educate their students to become cosmopolitan and responsible European and Global Citizens, who respect and appreciate internationality and interculturality and, based on this, work together on solutions for current challenges facing society.

The FORTHEM network maintains extensive local links in all of the home countries of the nine partner universities, some of which have been cooperating for many years and at the same time are open to new forms of collaboration and exchange, with the enduring goal of reinforcing the multilateral European network in its ability to innovate and the close interplay of learning and teaching, research and practical application.