For 36-months, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu together with the project partners Sofia University „St. Kliment Ohridski” – Bulgaria (leading partner), PSIQUADRO Societa Cooperativa – Italy, Research & Training Point Foundation – Bulgaria and British Council – Bulgaria are the beneficiaries of the project UniverCity, supported by Erasmus+ Programme (Strategic Partnerships of Higher Education for Community (2020-1-BG01-KA203-079271).
The aim of this project is to develop new strategic partnerships, to engage with local communities, build stronger neighborhoods and support future employability, address the challenge of breaking down the barriers between higher education and the ‘outside world’ in local communities as identified within the renewed EU strategy for higher education.
This goal will be achieved by developing 18 partnerships between universities, businesses, charities and local authorities in Bulgaria, Italy and Romania, by piloting and testing two annual cycles of Community Research Awards (CRA) per country as innovative methodology for local cooperation, based on existing experience in the UK. A CRA is a small-grant scheme, pioneered by Plymouth University, which is going to be multiplied by the project consortium with the aim to encourage grass-root cooperation between academia and local communities.
The impact of the project can be defined as follows:
- Improved capacity of academic, students and local / regional communities to work together on shared community agendas;
- Increased level of cooperation between higher education and local / regional communities to address social and economic innovation, civic engagement, and skills development;
- Enhanced understanding and commitment of local, regional, national and European policy makers to support cooperation between Higher Education and local / regional communities.
UniverCity will promote innovation, exchange of experience and know-how in education and training fields through European cooperation at both policy and practice levels and empower key stakeholders to develop and mainstream policy innovation. Recommendations and toolkits will be disseminated amongst EU universities and policy makers at local, regional, national and EU levels.