The CLUSTER General Assembly goes virtual for the first time
Handling the coronavirus was the main theme
2020/04/03 by Johanna Müller/Jana Freihöfer
Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the annual General Assembly for the CLUSTER network (Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology in Education and Research) was held in virtual form for the first time on 3 April 2020. The meeting of 36 representatives from 13 different countries was organised by TU Darmstadt.
The dominant issue was of course the current public health crisis due to the coronavirus. The partner institutions exchanged information and ideas on the package of measures they had each introduced. The huge efforts made by the CLUSTER universities to handle this exceptional situation and safeguard the health and well-being of their students, employees and faculties – as well as to live up to their social responsibility – were abundantly clear.
The immediate measures included adapting the activities with respect to study, teaching and research, developing and implementing e-learning courses and hackathons, virtual team building formats and a hotline for psychological assistance and support. In addition, the CLUSTER universities are utilising their technological expertise to contribute to the successful fight against Covid-19 with, for example, provisional hospitals or the production and provision of ventilators.
Professor Tanja Brühl, TU President and the serving CLUSTER President, also reported on the network's other activities. Three students also participated in the General Assembly for the first time. This was to mark the official foundation of the CLUSTER Student Organisation (CSO), which was unanimously approved. In addition, Pierre Benech, President of Grenoble INP, was elected the next CLUSTER President. Grenoble INP will take over Presidency of the CLUSTER from TU Darmstadt as of 1 July 2020.
The European CLUSTER network celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The CLUSTER General Assembly was originally due to take place at the end of a symposium to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the network in Darmstadt, However, it was necessary to cancel the symposium due to the current situation.
The unites 12 elite technical universities in Europe – including TU Darmstadt. These European universities cooperate in the areas of study, teaching and research within the CLUSTER network and, amongst other things, offer joint dual degree programmes and submit joint applications for EU research grants. CLUSTER network