TU Darmstadt is active as the coordinator of Unite! both throughout the alliance and also internally within the university.
In this role as coordinator, Unite! is officially represented by the Unite! President. TU President Dr. Tanja Brühl was elected as Unite! President for a period of three years by the Unite! Governing Platform at the Kick-off event for Unite! in November 2019. Professor Dr.-Ing Jens Schneider, Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs, is a representative of the Unite! President and represents TU Darmstadt as a partner and coordinator for strategic policy issues.
The Unite! Secretariat based at TU Darmstadt coordinates and leads the alliance of seven partner universities and is headed by the Secretary General Dr. Andreas Winkler. The Secretariat is responsible for managing the Unite! alliance and the pilot project in which concepts for the short and long-term development of Unite! are being developed in Unite!-wide working groups.
The Unite! activities within each of the partner universities are managed by the Unite! Key Liaison Officers. Dr. Jana Freihöfer, Head of the International Relations & Mobility Department, is the Key Liaison Officer at TU Darmstadt.
Unite! will become tangible for the various status groups at TU Darmstadt in projects, initiatives, various programmes and in the development of strategic projects such as collaborative research partnerships or joint programmes. All members of TU Darmstadt should contribute to how TU Darmstadt directly influences Unite! and how Unite! impacts TU Darmstadt. The aim is for Unite! to develop out of the universities – with all of their status groups – and the structure is merely designed to facilitate this process.
The European Universities Initiative
The European Commission proposed the European Universities Initiative in 2019 to push towards establishing a European Education Area by 2025. The European Universities are transnational alliances of higher education institutions from across the EU that share a long-term strategy and promote European values and identity. The initiative is designed to significantly strengthen mobility of students and staff, and foster the quality, inclusiveness and competitiveness of European higher education.
Responding to a call in 2019 under the Erasmus+ Framework Programme, the first 17 alliances were selected for a pilot phase of 3 years to build the foundations of the future European Universities. 24 more alliances followed in the 2nd call in 2020, as well as additional funding by the EU under the Horizon 2020 call “Science with and for Society”, in order to boost the Research and Innovation dimension of the European Universities towards a European Research Area.