Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe
The Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) is a network of 42 universities, gathering major higher education institutions in the European capital cities. It was founded in 1990 on the initiative of the Université Libre de Bruxelles. The mission of the network, which has a combined strength of over 120,000 staff and 1,500,000 students, is to promote academic excellence, integration and co-operation among its member universities throughout Europe. It also seeks to be a driving force in the development of the Bologna process and to facilitate the integration of universities from Central and Eastern Europe into the European Higher Education Area.
UNICA activities are divided into five main categories or clusters:
- Internationalisation and Mobility
- Research and Development
- Policy and Strategy
- Mission and Link with Society
Internalisation and mobility
For the implementation and achievement of the UNICA Internationalisation and Mobility goals, the international relations officers (IROs) from member universities play a main role. IROs meet at least once a year to discuss UNICA approaches, initiatives and policies in the field of higher education. Projects and collaboration in member universities are developed within UNICA working groups.
Organised every two years, UNICA Student Conference gathers students from UNICA Member Universities for a three-day meeting during which they examine and debate on Europe’s most pertinent issues. The meeting’s objective is to encourage the participants to share their views and develop their recommendations while working in multinational and multicultural teams. A final publication, sent later to the European Commission for its consideration, gathers the conclusions and suggestions of the students.
UNICA promotes and facilitates student exchanges within the network.
To improve the exchange of best practices between universities, UNICA has developed a project of exchange of academic staff within member universities.
UNICA Chair is a project implemented by the city and the University of Lausanne and carried out via annual cycles of conferences. The objective of this project is the exchange of academic staff within UNICA universities to develop relations between the university and the city and to enhance collaboration between UNICA members.
- The Bologna Lab is coordinated by the University of Vienna. The aim of this laboratory is to present best practices related to the implementation of the Bologna process.
- UNICA awards grants for the development of the most interesting Joint Programmes (Master and PhD). Till now, eight joint programmes have received the UNICA grant.
- UNICA has established a working group of experts dealing with admission and recognition issues within member universities.
- Starting with a limited number of universities, the European Campus aims to create an area of free movement of students, reducing the administrative procedures to the minimum.
Research and development
In the research and development field, two main seminars are organised: PhD Coordinators' Meetings and the EU Research Seminar.
The EU Research Officers is a group of experts dealing with EU Research policies and initiatives at member universities.
Policy and strategy
In the framework of policy and strategy, UNICA organises every year a Rectors’ Seminar to discuss governance and policy issues and to exchange best practices between member universities.
The Scholarly Communication Seminar is an initiative to provide a think tank on the evolution of the role of libraries in the universities.
UNICA benefits from European Commission grants on higher education sector. It has submitted some projects which have been approved and implemented.
The UNICA Urban-Capital working group aims to analyse and to give solutions to problems and changes in capital cities. UNICA cooperates with the Union of the Capitals of the European Union (UCEU).
The network's internal organisation consists in three bodies: the General Assembly (with one meeting per year), the Steering Committee (with four meetings per year) and the International Relations Officers' Committee (two meetings per year). The General Secretariat in Brussels assures general co-operation and administration of the network.
Each UNICA member university is represented by a contact person. The system enables easy communication and fast information flow between the members.
UNICA Member Universities
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