Circle U. was among the consortia selected for funding in the second ‘European Universities’ call for proposals. Due to the health crisis, remote webinars for rectors and students on November 4th marked the kick-off of the three year pilot project period.  





Above : Svein Stølen, rector University of Oslo – Vincent Blondel, rector UCLouvain – Ivanka Popovic, rector University of Belgrade
Middle : Christine Clerici, president Université Paris Cité – Brian Bech Nielsen, rector University of Aarhus – Funmi Olonisakin, pro vice chancellor King’s College
Below: Sabine Kunst, rector Humboldt – Einar Meier, Senior Advisor for European Cooperation, University of Oslo

Circle U. consists of seven equally committed universities with a shared goal to strengthen cooperation across the institutions. In the project period, Circle U. will develop and launch a variety of activities and develop collaborative structures that will make Circle U. an inclusive, research-intensive and interdisciplinary European University. In the future, students will be a part of a European campus with access to more studies and new degrees, and cooperate in new and more flexible ways.

« With its Circle U. partners, Université Paris Cité is proud to contribute to the construction of a European Higher Education Area where our students will be able to expand their studies through a renewed international collaboration, respectful of the environment and based on the sharing of knowledge and cultures in order to meet the multiple challenges of science for the benefit of tomorrow’s society. »  Christine Clerici, President of Université Paris Cité

Three years to develop and test new concepts for cooperation

In the project period, Circle U. will develop a pool of Student Led Sustainable Innovation initiatives to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship; create interdisciplinary thematic Knowledge Hubs that connect academics, students and external stakeholders around major societal challenges; an Open School of Public Governance tying new knowledge and solutions to governance issues and a Think and Do Tank to engage with policy makers to shape the European Education Area.

Three “knowledge hubs” have been identified in which Circle U. institutions will have a substantial impact together: climate, global health and democracy. 35 university chairs will play an important role in animating the network of activities among the seven universities.

The open school of public governance will enable students training in fields related to the knowledge clusters to acquire skills in decision support for public policies. A network of experts will be a driving force for making proposals and taking action with political decision-makers in order to help shape the future of the European Higher Education Area.

Students are at the heart of Circle U.

A key topic at the kick-off webinar for students is how to foster engagement and how to raise awareness. Collaboration with students is at the heart of the alliance, and Circle U. students have been decisive in the development of Circle U. Students will continue to play an important part. Members are confident that the student led initiatives will result in real world impact.

«The Circle U. Student Union was created so that the voice and interests of students are included in the Circle U project. Through our common work, we are able to build links and learn from each other to develop the European student movement. This project allows us to deconstruct cultural barriers and bring out good practices. We are building the future together »  explains Étienne Matignon, Vice-President Student Université Paris Cité.

A commitment for the long term

In the coming six months, staff and students will work on establishing the main structures of Circle U., and get the project up and running. However, the next three years will not only be about structures, procedures and organisational issues. No less important is to continue learning to know each other better and deepening mutual trust. The aim is to become an open and vivid European University where the members share, co-create and empower students and staff to mobilise knowledge for impact in order to make the world a better place.

For more information :


Circle U. brings together Université Paris Cité,Humboldt University Berlin, King’s College London, UCLouvain, University of Oslo, University of Aarhus and University of Belgrade.

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