EELISA is an alliance of ten Higher Education institutions from eight different countries, representing roughly 194.000 students, 18.500 faculty, and 12.000 staff members. An amalgam of cities, people, cultures, and languages that goes beyond boundaries to create a space of diversity, collaboration, and exchange. This is represented by EELISA logo as an assemblage of parts that fit together to create the map of Europe. But how are the campuses, the people, and the environment behind each of the pieces that make up the map? What is the impact of such an ambitious Alliance on each member institution?
Through interviews with key people from each institution and video tours recorded by students from each University, the #WeAreEELISA campaign seeks to answer these and other questions, while giving visibility to the EELISA microcosm.
Q. Can you briefly introduce FAU to us?
A. FAU is an innovative university embedded in one of the most innovative regions of Germany and plays an important role with cutting edge research in order to create the basis for answering the most demanding questions of our time. As being strong in research and a full spectrum university, FAU fulfills the needs for disciplinary in depth and broadly based interdisciplinary research to cover the wide range of complex research questions. FAU’s and the region’s reputation in innovation attracts excellent students, passionate researchers and academics from all over the world.
Our vision is to create a platform for freedom for all kinds of curious, cosmopolitan and ambitious people. FAU is committed to interdisciplinary teaching and research. This enables us to tackle the exciting challenges of today and tomorrow together with our European partners while staying true to our values of innovation, diversity and passion.
What is your personal connection to EELISA?
In my position as FAU’s President, I am representing FAU in the EELISA Governing Board. Particularly at the present time, with the global challenges posed by wars or climate change, I am pleased that I can contribute to further institutional networking between our European partners, e.g. by connecting industrial partners of FAU across multiple European university ecosystems.
The relationship with the EELISA president, Dale A. Martin, is also special. We already know each other from our time together at Siemens. Cultivating this bond again in the EELISA Alliance is a special opportunity.
Q. “Together is better than alone” is the #FAUtogether’s campaign motto. In your opinion, why should universities work together in an alliance like EELISA?
A. For me, working together and joining forces is the chance to master the global challenges of the future and create great, innovative ideas in the process – to be among the first innovators not only in Germany but also in Europe and the world. Together, as a European university, we can massively increase our impact and outreach.
Furthermore, as a student of a European university like EELISA, young people experience the European idea of peace, freedom and solidarity and revive it with each exchange and experience they have. This is also an important educational task of a university: to pass on these European values.
Q.What does EELISA mean to your University? And how does EELISA enrich your university’s community?
A.FAU’s leitmotif is “moving knowledge”. It fits well with the aspiration of EELISA as a European University alliance because exchanging knowledge and opinions is a key driver to fostering innovation, change, and also democratic values in and outside of Europe.
One of FAU’s distinctive features is its commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research, based on close collaboration among faculties and departments to create a range of interdisciplinary degree programs. The alliance’s offerings and resources expand our repertoire in an interdisciplinary, international, intercultural and innovative way and we complement the alliance vice versa.
FAU is particularly interested in bringing the European and engineering mindset to all of its faculty to promote its key values: Innovation, Diversity and Passion. Overall, FAU’s goal in supporting EELISA is to free up resources – e.g. through shared research infrastructures and Open Science – and to create additional capacity for new offerings across organizational boundaries.
Q. Finally, what would you wish for the future development of EELISA?
A. I would like to see further and deeper networks within the Alliance. Personally, I have and will work for the further expansion and institutionalization of collaborations with companies that have their headquarters or location in Erlangen or Nuremberg and large subsidiaries in the other EELISA cities, such as the initiated cooperation with Evosoft GmbH and Heitec.