The public presentation of the European University ATHENA, a transnational project led by the Polytechnic of Porto, took place on January 20th, through a live on Facebook.
The project, in three years, has a total budget of more than six million euros and, by 2025, the expectation is that ATHENA – Advanced Technology Higher Education Network will take place as a federation of universities that, without losing its identity, will benefit from common goals.
The President of Polytechnic of Porto (P.PORTO), João Rocha, explained that the intention is to “offer high quality international higher education in line with the needs of the market, guaranteeing the highest standards of employability, an effective transition from education to work and extensive links with industry and society in general through education, research and development ”.
P.PORTO partners with Hellenic Mediterranean University (Greece), University of Siegen (Germany), University of Maribor (Slovenia), University Niccolò Cusano (Italy), University of Orléans (France) and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania). The European university ATHENA will become an inter-university campus around which students (from undergraduate to doctorate), employees, teachers and researchers will be able to move around without any problems.
The project formalization ceremony took place online and was attended by the Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education, João Sobrinho Teixeira, as well as representatives of the seven countries who are part of the consortium, which together host more than 120 thousand students. The Secretary of State pointed out “the work that can and should be done at the level of the regions where these universities are going to intervene”.
“It would be important for the growth that will exist in higher education institutions to be reflected in a greater opportunity for the political and social agents of the regions that are involved with these universities”, defended the Secretary of State. Thus, he stressed, the project must act as “an incentive so that there is not only collaboration between the higher education institutions involved, but that they manage to promote cooperation between the various social, economic and cultural actors in these regions”.
The President of P.PORTO, João Rocha, underlined that ATHENA aims to “accompany and shape the digital transformation of societies and, thus, support the development of an inclusive, sustainable and secure digital economy”. “Our mission will be accomplished by directing ATHENA’s main activities in education, research and development to improve and contribute to the digital transformation of society”, he stated.
Also the Pro-President of P.PORTO and project coordinator, José Carlos Quadrado, explained that the pilot project of this university is focused on “responding to the current and future challenges of a transnational, inclusive, innovative education, permanently aligned with the global market needs, addressing social and environmental challenges, as well as European research priorities ”.
The consortium led by the Polytechnic of Porto was among those selected to be part of the 41 European Universities inter-university campuses which students, collaborators and researchers can circulate without barriers – an initiative launched by the European Commission to foster cooperation between Higher Education Institutions in the European Union (EU). The European Commission proposed the European Universities initiative to EU leaders during the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017, as part of an overview for the creation of a European Education Area by 2025. The project involves about 280 higher education institutions from all member states located, not only in the capitals, but in more remote European regions. Each alliance consists of an average of seven higher education institutions.