Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) has been announced as the new coordinator for RUN-EU (Regional University Network-European University), making it the first Irish university appointed as lead of a European University.
President of TUS, Professor Vincent Cunnane, will now become the first ever Irish president of a European University, as RUN-EU begins it next phase with funding of €14.4 million approved for four more years and two new partners joining the alliance.
Established in 2020 under the European Universities Alliance and funded by ERASMUS, RUN-EU is a transnational alliance of higher education institutions working together to create a regional development-oriented European University that embodies the values of sustainability, multiculturalism, and inclusiveness in all its work. It also promotes European values and identity, as well as revolutionising the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.
In this new cycle, RUN-EU will expand further, welcoming two new members – the University of Burgos (Spain) and the Howest University of Applied Sciences (Belgium), operating in the future as an alliance of nine like-minded higher institutions drawn from across Europe with strong focus on regional development. Overall, RUN-EU will comprise of a student population of more than 100,000 students, 11,000 staff and more than 100 research institutes, centres and groups.
As TUS takes over as Lead Co-ordinator of RUN-EU, President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane, paid tribute to the outgoing European University Lead – Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal. He said “This is a hugely significant achievement for the regions of Europe and a vote of confidence in the potential of our regions to lead and prosper. The expansion of RUN-EU is ultimately a reflection of this potential and a demonstration of regional strengths. I look forward to working with all the RUN-EU partners to realise the new possibilities that this next phase presents to us. Of course for TUS, a regionally-focussed university located at Europe’s Western Edge, this is a singular moment.”
TUS VP for Research Development and Innovation and RUN-EU project leader, Dr Liam Brown
added, “RUN-EU Cycle 2 will build on the success of the first phase and represents a new direction for Ireland’s leadership in European higher education as well as recognising the importance of balanced regional development in the EU’s future. Internationalisation continues to be at the heart of our educational approach, as it provides opportunities for growth and learning and gives our student body a well-rounded, holistic educational experience. The addition of two strong European partner Universities – Howest from Belgium and the University of Burgos from Spain will bring further expertise to our European University, particularly in collaborative Research, Development and Innovation (RDI).”
TUS Head of Research and Technology Transfer and RUN-EU project coordinator, Dr Patrick Murray said, “The education landscape across Europe is changing. As a flagship initiative, the European Universities Programme is central to the EU ’s ambitions to build a European Education and Research Area. RUN- EU will continue to be transformative for our students and our regions. We will promote and develop joint student-centred, challenge and work-based flexible learning activities, including Short Advanced Programmes, European Degrees up to PhD level and advance the European Research Area through collaborative and innovative inter-university and interregional approaches to higher education, research, development, innovation and engagement.”
In addition to the funding received from the European Commission, RUN-EU has also received significant and ongoing support from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) since its inception in 2020.