University of Maribor hosts the partner of the European University Initiative ATHENA
The peak of the meeting was the signing of the ATHENA Rectors' Declaration on European Universities taking place in the framework of the programme of the meeting of directors for higher education and science of the EU member states.
Between Sept. 27 and Oct. 12021, University of Maribor (Slovenia) hosted the partners of the European University Initiative ATHENA. Participants to the meeting were the rectors or representatives of the leaderships, respectively, and also the local coordinators and they discussed the first results of the ATHENA project and the following steps. Subject to discussion of the meeting was mainly the management structure of the partnership, methodology for entering individual cooperation at certain project activities in the future and focal areas of present performance of academic activities and research programmes. Rectors presented a joint declaration that they also signed on 29 September 2021 in the framework of the meeting of European directors for higher education and science. Namely, many questions on the future of the European Higher Education and Research Area remain open and the European University Initiatives shall develop responses and solutions.
At the solemn signing of the ATHENA Rectors' Declaration on European Universities, the Rector of University of Maribor Prof. Dr. Zdravko Kačič stressed: »ATHENA endeavours to develop new ways of cooperation in performing academic, research and knowledge and technology transfer activities and by this to contribute to approach the new challenges also in connection to life-long learning and the micro-credentials related to this. For the success at the entrance to the decade of institutionalisation of the common European Higher Education and Research Area, ATHENA, as well as all other initiatives, needs support by the stakeholders. Of special importance is the balancing of policies on European, European regional, national and local level, as only by harmonisation of the interests of all stakeholders, the bold expectations by European Union towards the European University Initiatives may be met and a successful functioning of ATHENA European University will be enabled also on the global level«.
In the field of academic activities, the greatest challenge is setting life-long learning, where ATHENA is preparing solutions mainly by competence clusters to enable interested individuals to enter and obtain accreditation via so-called micro-credentials. In the field of research, University of Maribor is coordinating activities within the network and it prepared a draft methodology for research cooperation, together with a tool for coordination and support. In the field of knowledge and technology transfer, colleagues from University of Siegen prepared a concept of linking economic partners based on the web platform Praxis, the implementation of which is also subject to talks among the partners. The meeting is meant also to prepare a huge project meeting in October in Vilnius, Lithuania. Representatives of the ATHENA initiative also visited the Faculty of Electrotechnics, Computer and Information Science of University of Maribor.
European University Initiative ATHENA
The European University Initiative
is a project of European union in the field of Higher Education and Research aiming for an increase of internationalisation, effectiveness and inclusion of European universities.
Ambitions of the ATHENA university network, besides concentrating on digital transformation of society, are to offer to the international university space a series of subjects and courses and by this contributing to the reaching of international mobility of a larger number of students, including students with special needs, fostering cooperation in research and development projects as well as new European perspectives not only for the over 120,000 students and 10,000 staff members, but also to local communities and partners.
Prof. Petra Maria Vogel
Prorector for International Affairs and Lifelong Learning
Tel.: +49 271 740-2128