Aurora Tarragona

The Aurora Universities had a successful meeting in Tarragona

Between November 16th and 17th, the University of Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona was the venue for numerous meetings of the Aurora Alliance: For the first time since the launch of the Aurora European Universities Alliance, the traditional Biannual Meeting took place in presence form again.

tarragona-biannual

Highlights included the signing of a multilateral mobility agreement and the kick-off of the new H2020 project "Research & Innovation for Societal Impact", but also a Design Thinking Jam and numerous working group meetings enriched the program. The next Biannual Meeting will take place between May 11th and 12th, 2022 at Universität Innsbruck.

The biannual Aurora Biannual Meetings provide an opportunity for face-to-face networking and collaboration milestones at regular intervals. This was the case right at the beginning of the conference: Representatives of all Aurora universities - for Universität Innsbruck Vice Rector Bernhard Fügenschuh - signed the new Multilateral Aurora Mobility Agreement (MAMA), which in the future will regulate the exchange of students and staff between the eleven Aurora universities and in particular guarantee tuition fee waivers. The places agreed upon in the course of MAMA are open to all departments and study cycles. In addition to the classic semester mobilities, the agreement also states the clear commitment of the Aurora universities to push for an expansion of short term, blended as well as virtual mobility formats - an important aspect in the efforts of the Aurora European Universities Alliance to provide as many students as possible with a meaningful international experience during their studies.

Design Thinking Jam of the Aurora students

The issue of internationalization in studies was also the subject of a so-called Design Thinking Jam: this is a collaborative workshop format lasting several days, in which concrete proposals on focused issues are developed. With mobility funds from the Aurora European Universities Alliance, a total of around 25 students from Aurora universities were able to come together in Tarragona on the weekend before the Biannual Meeting to outline expectations and proposals for mobility opportunities within Aurora from their perspective. The results - ranging from new advisory services for outgoing and incoming students to special mobility formats for those with caring responsibilities - were then presented by students during the Biannual and were a visible sign of Aurora's effort to closely involve students in the development of all activities. Universität Innsbruck was represented by four students at the Aurora Biannual, including two members of the ÖH chairmanship team.

Kick-Off for Research & Innovation Activities

Besides the presentation of the Design Thinking Jam results, various other panel discussions - for example on the internationalization of the curriculum or the Aurora Competence Framework - enriched the program. However, the official kick-off of the H2020 project "Research & Innovation for Societal Impact" of the Aurora European Universities Alliance, which will be launched in October 2021, was a special focus. Over a total period of three years and under the overall coordination of the University of Iceland, joint activities are being developed in the areas of Open Science, Citizen Sciences, Human Resources and Transfer. Together with Palacky University Olomouc, Universität Innsbruck is responsible for the work package "Sharing infrastructure and resources", which focuses on the collection, visualization and sharing of research infrastructures and knowledge networks.

Outlook: Next Aurora Biannual Meeting in Innsbruck in May

The Aurora Biannual Meeting in Tarragona was the last meeting in this form: Starting in 2022, the fall meeting will move to virtual space in order to reduce the carbon footprint as part of the institutionalized exchange between Aurora universities. This is also in line with the objectives of the Aurora Sustainable Campus Action Plan, which was adopted in Tarragona by the rectors of the partner universities and outlines the ambitions in the field of sustainability. Universität Innsbruck acts as the coordinating lead university in these efforts. Speaking of Innsbruck: As host of the Aurora Biannual Meeting in spring 2022, Universität Innsbruck will welcome the representatives of the Aurora network in the premises of the Campus Universitätsstraße between 11th and 12th May, 2022.

Image: © Universitat Rovira i Virgili

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