NHL Stenden is building a European university with a focus on the region

First General Assembly Regional University Network - European  University  (RUN-EU) in Ireland to discuss progress and first results.

From 1 to 5 November 2021, the first General Assembly (GA) of the Regional University Network – European University (RUN-EU) will take place in Ireland at the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS). It is the first time that the parties involved will meet physically again since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. Once a year, the GA takes place and the 7  higher education partners (from 6 European countries), together with the professional field, local government and the student advisory councils, discuss the progress of the network that has a specific focus (region). The ultimate goal of RUN-EU  is  to create a common university to renew and shape future higher education, promote physical and virtual exchange and contribute to the sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental development of the regions.

To this end, the presidents of the executive boards of the higher education institutions will be present this time, as well as 100 student representatives, 30 representatives from the professional field (represented in the Associate Partner Advisory Council) and 17 international experts from higher education, research and innovation and regional government. Of the 6 partners from the professional field and local government involved on behalf of NHL Stenden, the Province of  Friesland, Dutch Tech Zone and the Municipality of Emmen, and the Centre of Expertise Water Technology (CEW) will be present.  The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Secondary and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Niall  Collins, will attend the closing presentation on 5 November.  

Why a European University?

Erica Schaper, President of the Executive Board of NHL Stenden:"RUN-EU jointly promotes and develops student-oriented, challenging and practice-oriented flexible educational activities that benefit the region. Through the interuniversity and interregional approach to higher education and research activities and innovation, we work together on themes that play a role in our regions, such as quality of life."

According to Dymphi van der Hoeven, project leader RUN-EU within NHL Stenden, RUN-EU will provide many new opportunities for students,  teachers,  researchers and the professional field in the region:  "For all students of our various  study programmes, eventually, there will be the opportunity to participate on a large scale in short-term internationally oriented projects, the so-called Short Advanced Programs (SAPs). The first SAPs have already taken place and were very successful. In time, we can offer joint and double degrees. We are working on innovative virtual and physical international mobility for students, staff and researchers, bringing knowledge to the region."

Launch RUN-EU+

Run-EU+ will also be launched during the GA. This complementary and innovative Horizon project focuses on the development and deployment of collaborative practice-based research degrees.  Main themes are 'Future Industry, Sustainable Regional Development, Bioeconomy and Social Innovation.


Within RUN-EU, 15 students from each partner university of applied sciences are involved through a RUN-EU student advisory council. During the GA, students will participate in 4 different Short Advanced Programmes  (Sustainable  Development – Social Enterprise Challenge; Bioplastics Challenge; Eco Innovate Challenge; and Food Challenge). Students from all partner institutions work as a group on societal challenges related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are relevant to the region hosting the event. This RUN-EU Challenge Program is organized jointly with partners from the region and governments, and strives for sustainable solutions for real social issues. The results will then be presented to the RUN-EU community at the General Assembly on Friday 5 November.