ENLIGHT aims to address the societal challenges we face across our participating regions, promoting equitable quality of life, sustainability and external engagement within the communities of the partner universities. In order to achieve this the ENLIGHT Global Outreach team are working to strengthen links and collaborations with our regional stakeholders across the network. The cities and regions play a central role in ENLIGHT as they are key to the development of learning formats and research activities around the challenges our cities and regions are facing.
In the ENLIGHT alliance, each partner university will serve as a gateway out to and into its region. The Global Outreach team wish to create of a ‘network of communities’ within ENLIGHT to share insights on how our regions and universities are partnering to tackle the sustainability challenges we all face, and to establish best practices within our network. This ‘network of communities’ will be central to the outreach work package that NUI Galway are co-leading with Uppsala University to bring together universities and communities to ‘share the journey to shape the future’.
On June 18th representatives from the nine ENLIGHT Communities joined together for part two of the ENLIGHT Communities and Universities session. This event was a continuation of the introduction of communities that started during the ENLIGHT Kick-off earlier this year. During the session, which is available on YouTube, representatives from Ghent, the Basque Country, Göttingen and Bratislava introduced themselves to the ENLIGHT network giving an insight into current collaborations with their local university as well as an overview of ongoing projects centered on the ENLIGHT Flagship Challenges. After the presentations, participants from the communities, students and university representatives discussed the benefits for the ENLIGHT communities to collaborate on a European level in a closed session. In the spirit of assuring a continuation of the conversation participants agreed on the following statement:
The relationship between communities and universities is an integral component in formulating long term, sustainable solutions to today’s societal challenges. In ENLIGHT nine European communities will not only come closer to their local universities but also to each other. Therefore, present members of the nine communities in the Basque Country, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Galway, Gent, Groningen, Göttingen, Tartu and Uppsala/Visby have agreed to start discussions on creating the “ENLIGHT Communities Network”. The network should become a platform for collaboration and sharing of ideas and experiences between the nine communities of ENLIGHT. The official launch of the network is planned for the first European Dialogue conference.
As the presidency for ENLIGHT now passes over from the University of the Basque Country to the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), ENLIGHT Chair and NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, asserted that “NUI Galway’s goal for these coming six months is to work towards establishing an ‘ENLIGHT Communities Network’ to open up collaboration and strengthen ties within our ENLIGHT regions. Linking each university with their own regional partners but also creating links and opportunities for collaboration, sharing of knowledge and discussion among regional partners across the network”. This process of initiating an ENLIGHT Communities Network, and follow on European and Global dialogues are currently being organised by the Global Outreach Team and will kick off in early 2022.
See the video on Communities and Universities: Sharing the journey to shape the future - Part 2