Ambition

Our vision and mission are underpinned by the pivotal role that technology plays in forging an inclusive and sustainable future: humanity today faces challenges of unprecedented breadth such as climate change, overused resources, growing inequality, and the social consequences of the digital era.

Answers to these challenges necessarily involve technology but they need to be multi-faceted. They must take into account the needs and aspirations of people and of our environment, they must be respectful of individual freedom and diversity.

This can only be achieved by empowering technologically responsible citizens, and researchers who fully comprehend the potential of technology as well as the risks of neglecting its purpose. This requires a fundamentally new approach to technology and the training of people to foster it. It requires a new model of university.

Together, we are preparing the future of Europe by building a pioneering institutional model for developing a radically human-centered model of technology.

Our values

EUt+ brings Europe, Universities and Technology together. Here is our shared vision on each of these principles, as articulated around our central pillar “Think Human First”.
Technology is first and foremost human
Technology is more than a set of techniques or applied sciences. It is our essential human ability to express, think and understand the world through artefacts. In this sense it is an engine of human progress where arts and science meet. It is our conscience before a fragile life. Technology conditions human prosperity both economic and experiential. It is a means to improve the human condition.

Placing technology under a human perspective reminds us of an important distinction between a tool and its use. Technical developments tend to follow their own ad hoc logic that is not necessarily aligned with human well-being and growth. Technology, on the contrary, always has human roots and purposes. Throughout the world, business and government both play major roles in the technological symphony, but in Europe human and environmental needs, freedom and well-being have a greater role in the orchestra. This is why we underline the importance of a user-centered design approach to technology, which combines awareness of user needs, designing prototypes and testing/evaluation before deployment.

We have evolved through stone tools to artificial intelligence, for better and for worse. Today the benefits and risks of these technical developments are greater than ever, with extraordinary breakthroughs in medicine and information technologies on the one hand, and potentially existential threats such as climate change on the other. Over the last couple of decades, Chinese and US models of technology have increasingly dominated the world. In the coming years, we believe that a human- centered model for technology will be key, and that Europe is its natural home. Our mission is to bring this model into existence.

Technology is often considered to encompass a set of tools and solutions that address the ever growing complexity of the systems we put in place, and respond to a rapidly expanding set of technical, financial, economical, commercial, and ethical constraints. Today’s frameworks of development tend to consider the human element as a factor amongst many. We must place the human at the heart of technology, so limiting the extent to which technology can continue developing independently from humans. Technology is a human-governed domain of knowledge creation and exchange, with scientific, technical, social and societal ramifications. This theoretical and practical exploration is developed within our dedicated laboratory, the European Culture and Technology Lab (ECT Lab+), that pervades all work-packages of our proposal.

Technology is not simply about applying scientific results but about comprehending the world and what it means to be human. This requires the design, development and mastering of conceptual tools and digital literacies that allow people, students, researchers to have a better ethical grasp of the issues at hand and to understand their implications at a large scale. Science and techniques make excellent engineers and technicians, but combined with arts, humanities, ethics, and social sciences, they make outstanding professionals and technologically responsible citizens. The (re)integration of ethics, arts, humanities and social sciences within classical technological curricula will be enabled by our WP3, hand-in-hand with a more general empowerment of our students, acknowledged as the actors of their own formation and education.

Our human-centered conception of technology also has implications for research, which we address in WP4. True scientific achievements do not necessarily arise from the “fundamental” theoretical work of great thinkers, whose discoveries and results can then be “applied” by engineers and technicians to the messy material and economic world. We do not think in a vacuum. We do not build technology in a vacuum. Thinking is always thinking “about” - about people, about values, about actions, about objects in the immediate or distant environment. There is no fundamental difference between thinking about and acting upon, or between the fundamental and the applied. Technology too can be curiosity-driven. Whenever there is thinking there is an objective, and therefore there is technology.

By rethinking technology we will foster a successful European model of technology with the common good and fulfillment of people at the core.
Diversity is opportunity
Europe is falling behind its main competitors in terms of technological innovation and leadership. This is true both in cutting-edge research and in terms of global company headquarters. One of the causes is often said to be the fragmentation of legal and regulatory frameworks. Clearly the different legal and regulatory frameworks are a challenge. To take one example, despite remarkable progress over the last twenty years, the fact that we depend on national higher education accreditation processes does not make it easy to launch common university courses, which are recognised at a European level, such as the ones we aim at within WP3. Tackling questions such as this will be one of the key challenges of our project.

However, we are convinced that the diversity of languages and cultures, as well as socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities, is actually one of Europe’s greatest competitive advantages and could lead to great added-value both socially and economically. Diversity is one of the key ingredients of innovation and collective intelligence, it makes economically and culturally vibrant societies. We share a robust technological culture but also a great diversity in culture, language and experience. This diversity is an incredible added-value to address global challenges. With the support of national and European regulations, we can leverage our linguistic and cultural diversity for more social and sustainable innovation.

In order to comprehend the systemic and ethical implications of technological development, our students need a broader cultural background. Indeed, multilingualism as one of the cornerstones of the European project, is a powerful symbol of the European Union’s aspiration to be united in diversity. Foreign languages have a prominent role among the skills that will help equip people better for the labour market and make the most of available opportunities. The European Union has set the goal that every citizen should have the opportunity to acquire at least two foreign languages from an early age. While the idealised competence in multiple languages implied by multilingualism is the ultimate aim, EUt+ will adopt a plurilingual approach, emphasising the development of effective communicators who draw on their varied repertoire of linguistic and cultural knowledge in a flexible, creative and individual way, as proposed by the Council of Europe.

Mobility and languages are key to expanding horizons. Based on our students’ inputs, we will develop in WP5 an original and ambitious plan for mobility, which takes into account territorial and environmental impact.

Another crucial benefit of diversity is the result of our territorial outreach. By being firmly dedicated to the common good, EUt+ and its partners strive to align with global priorities (e.g. SDGs), European priorities (e.g. Horizon missions), and regional priorities (S3). This is why we share and exchange knowledge and skills with numerous private and public partners.

On the one hand, our eight regions share economic, scientific, and political priorities, but each also has specificities. On the other hand, our eight institutions share a common identity in being technological and human-centered, and each also has distinct areas of specializations. This creates an incredibly fertile ground for synergies, for instance where an institution from one region has a domain-expertise relevant for another one. Integrating diverse institutions from diverse regions opens countless opportunities, and strengthens the system as a whole. While being locally situated, we are thus globally connected through a network of partnerships operationalized in WP7.
An inclusive university
Promoting diverse and inclusive universities is more important than ever in the current European socio- political climate. Classical comprehensive universities are typically large research-intensive lighthouses, whose activities span all disciplines and all educational levels. These universities have an academic understanding of what makes a good student. Catering mostly for the best, they run the risk of neglecting talented students who need a more supportive, personalised environment. This results all too often in unemployment or underemployment. This contributes to the feeling of increasing social division and inequality that is one of Europe’s greatest challenges.

More generally, OECD countries simultaneously face a lack of engineering skills and high unemployment rates. Some companies are led to relocate for lack of local technical or management skills, and many students struggle to secure employment after university. Both diagnoses have one and the same remedy: a truly inclusive education.

EUt+ leverages technology to bridge the gap of inclusion, and leverages inclusion to render technology more human. We aim to educate and support all students.
Inclusion is a priority, which is why we have included it in WP2. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we provide a pertinent educational experience to all and that each student finds a role in society. We are committed to provide true equity of access that provides the opportunity to succeed to all our students, inside and outside our institution.

We will proactively assure and promote inclusiveness, in particular gender and racial equality for all in our extended community. This is why we are truly comprehensive. We recognize that we are all formed and informed within specific socio-historical conditions and that inequalities are dynamically reproduced at all levels of social, organizational and political life. There is no “outside” to our socio- historical conditions. We commit to Technology that clearly foregrounds its assumptions, objectives and outcomes, enabling non-experts to understand and if necessary challenge its inner workings.

To this end, we believe that EUt+ can become a key player within European institutions at the political level (WP8). We know that without informed advice from experts in science and technology, the weight of the European Union at the global scale will remain lesser than it could be. There is an urgent need for bold action in tackling global challenges, where technology will play a pivotal role: the European University of Technology will be a reference for policymakers and help drive european strategy towards common and evidence-based solutions to global problems.
Our long term aim

From eight…

Creating the European University of Technology is the main priority of each of our institutions. Although today we are eight, tomorrow we will be one:

- Technical University of Sofia - Bulgaria (TUS)
- Cyprus University of Technology - Cyprus (CUT)
- University of Technology of Troyes - France (UTT)
- Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences - Germany (H_DA)
- Technological University Dublin - Ireland (TU Dublin)
- Riga Technical University - Latvia (RTU)
- Technical University of Cluj-Napoca - Romania (UTCN)
- Technical University of Cartagena - Spain (UPCT)

Our eight institutions are all universities of technologies with strong territorial and educational missions, and all share an appetite for transdisciplinarity, and a human-centered approach to technology. A wide network of cooperation is already in place among our eight universities, be it administrative (e.g. student card, erasmus+ agreements) or scientific (e.g. joint research projects).

We are proud to be the workshops of our cities rather than their cathedrals, proud that our impact is more important to us than our international visibility. At the global level we lie within the 500+ quartile of world universities. Each of us is a well-established institution at the regional level, and we are perceived as the “applied science” university in our respective cities when the city is large enough, or the university of a secondary city in the other cases.

We are deeply rooted in our territories and serve important social and economic functions. We contribute remarkably to our student’s employment perspectives, and take a strong stance for Europe’s industrial renewal. As such we are “civic” universities that are also deeply pragmatic. We envision a Europe of territorial networks, and implement this vision through WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP4.

We have everything to gain by coming together and this enables us to be ambitious and outline a trajectory towards a full integration.
 

… to One

In the long term, we aim to fully integrate our eight existing institutions.

The path towards full integration is outlined on the following timeline. It will require an evolution of the national and european regulatory frameworks.