EDUC Alliance Welcomes Ukraine: Launching the EDUC-WIDE Project for Inclusive Research Development

EDUC Alliance Welcomes Ukraine: Launching the EDUC-WIDE Project for Inclusive Research Development picture

EDUC Alliance Welcomed the Ukraine. The EDUC-WIDE Project Will Focus on Open Science, Career Diversity, R&I Collaboration and Research Assessment 

The universities of the EDUC Alliance met in Brno, Czechia, on 11-12 March 2024 to officially launch a new joint project and welcomed a new member from Ukraine. EDUC-WIDE project (EmpoWering EDUC for Inclusive Development of the ERA) will focus on fostering inclusive development of the European Research Area, reducing disparities in research excellence and research culture within and beyond the EU, and strengthening European position in global R&I cooperation.


The European Commission supported the EDUC-WIDE project in its Horizon Europe call for the European Excellence Initiative. The call was highly competitive; only 12 projects from 61 submitted proposals were funded, making this another significant achievement and recognition for the EDUC Alliance. The project will run until February 2027, with a total budget of 3,5 million EUR. 

Alliance members met in Brno in the first half of March to listen to the project objectives, goals and essentials.

"We are glad to welcome the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University from Ukraine on board. Our Alliance now consists of nine universities, and as part of the project, there are also ten associated partners from regional innovation ecosystems,"

noted Lukáš Palko, the Director of Masaryk University Research Office. Establishing firm connections with the European Research Area will help to contribute to the European future of Ukraine.

EDUC-WIDE focuses on four primary areas: open science, career diversity, R&I collaboration, and research assessment. Members of the working groups took the opportunity to meet their peers and discuss the objectives of their tasks. „The main goal of our expert group is a common strategy for implementing the principles of responsible evaluation, represented by the commitments of the Coalition for Research Evaluation Reform (CoARA). These commitments are usually general, and each country has a different cultural and political basis for implementation. So, we will adapt the strategy to our conditions. To do this, we will first map the current practice and then try to formulate a common range of problems. Each country and institution is at a somewhat different stage in the development of the evaluation culture, and a common platform for exchanging information and concrete experiences can strongly encourage reforms locally,“ said Michal Petr, the leader of Research Assessment activities. 

Similar visions of goals and cooperation were shared across all four major areas defined by the project. EDUC-WIDE will facilitate upgrading of the R&I culture of the EDUC University Alliance to match the current priorities of the European Research Area by also imprinting Open Science into the R&I culture of EDUC and the mindset of EDUC researchers, implementing a reform of research assessment to recognize diversity and maximize the quality and impact of research, opening varied career tracks to researchers and reducing inter-sectoral barriers and supporting the exchange of researchers and their ideas, creating new R&I directions contributing to Green and Digital Transition in Europe, the Cancer Mission, and the UN SDGs. 

Besides the priorities in the four previously mentioned focus areas, researchers from EDUC Universities can look forward to calls for mobility fellowships, access to research infrastructures, and R&I seed projects. EDUC-WIDE will also support leaders, managers and administrators involved in R&I with a broad range of training on Open Science, research assessment, career advisory services, research management and gender equality. 

On the second day of the kick-off meeting in Brno, the quests were invited to the premises of CEITEC to attend a conference discussing various perspectives of university alliances and research cooperation.

"University alliances help facilitate further development of cooperation among European universities."

It is great to see that aside from the continuing cooperation in education, student and teacher mobilities, the members of the EDUC alliance are interested in and capable of cooperation in research," commented Petr Suchý, the Vice-rector for internationalization from Masaryk University.   

Guests listened to a few exciting talks during the day. Sébastien le Picard, Vice-President for European and international strategy​ from the University of Rennes (France)​ and the EDUC-SHARE Coordinator, used the EDUC-Share project as an example of implementing the R&I dimension in a European Alliance. Milad Abbasi from JIC introduced the innovation ecosystem of the South Moravian region, and Jiří Nantl, Deputy Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, expressed his support of European Alliances.  

"The EDUC Alliance meeting at Masaryk University and the EDUC-WIDE project kick-off is good evidence that the Alliance perceives cooperation as an essential tool and condition for securing further development and competitiveness of our universities in Europe and beyond. All this is a very significant outcome and effect of the process of European integration. It is of vital importance that education and research outcomes serve further progress of the European society", added Petr Suchý.