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UG connects Groningen to Europe through ENLIGHT

12 June 2023
Cisca Wijmenga addresses the ENLIGHT representatives

Since 2020, the University of Groningen (UG) is participating in the European University Network ENLIGHT. Together with nine partners from Europe, the UG develops innovative forms of teaching and stimulates research cooperation, which focuses on the societal challenges in our region. From 7 to 9 June, the UG hosted the ENLIGHT partners in Groningen for a work meeting to discuss the network's ambitions and shape future activities.

The theme of the three-day event was ‘transformation’ , referring to the responses that European university networks like ENLIGHT have to formulate when dealing with changes in society, for example in the fields of energy, digitization, and health care. Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga emphasized this during the opening in a packed auditorium in the Academy Building: “Transformation is a very appropriate theme for this meeting Within ENLIGHT, we are making a transformation from project organization to a sustainable European University Network, anchored in our institutions, in our activities, and especially in our people. In doing so, we will be even better able to contribute to much-needed changes in European higher education in the coming years which should facilitate our students and staff members to work together across national borders. Through our teaching and research activities and by sharing knowledge, we will also contribute to creating solutions to our local and regional challenges. We will be sharing knowledge and learning from each other's experiences.”

Global engagement module

A good example of such an activity is the Global Engagement module developed by the UG, in which students from different academic disciplines and from all ENLIGHT partners get to work on a local challenge One of those challenges is about the general well-being of citizens in the North of the Netherlands. By combining insights from different disciplines and regions, creative and innovative solutions are presented.

The universities’ role

After the opening by the Rector, there was an inspiring lecture by Prof. Willem Jonker (UG alumnus and director of AINed) on transformations. He concluded with a few thought-provoking propositions about the role European universities should play in these transformations. This led to a lively discussion amongst a diverse panel from education, academia, and society.

To further emphasize the connection with society, much of the ENLIGHT meeting took place in the House of Connections on the Grote Markt, which will be officially opened on 27 June.

Last modified:28 August 2023 5.09 p.m.
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