What's up at young universities?
January 2021
Welcome to the first YERUN newsletter of 2021! Back in December, the European Commission published the much-awaited Final Report on "A European approach to micro-credentials". The content of the report contributes to establishing a common definition for micro-credentials, the common characteristics of a European micro-credentials framework, and a roadmap of actions to ensure the take-up, validation and recognition of such courses. Working on and with micro-credentials is among YERUN's priorities under the new strategy of our network, therefore we had a look to some good practices that YERUN members have been implementing in this field. These and other news complete this month's newsletter. No better way to celebrate the International Day of Education! Enjoy your read! 
Innovating Education with Micro-credentials
ProcToGo: Exploring innovative ideas in education 
ProcToGo is a KA2 Strategic Partnership project co-funded by Erasmus+. Led by Tor Vergata University of Rome, the project involves a transnational partnership with University of Antwerp, University of Bremen, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Associate partners are: Dublin City University (DCU), the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) and YERUN network. 

ProcToGo is a project that aims to explore innovative ideas in education as key elements for connecting higher education institutions and the labour market and, as a result, enhancing graduates employability in the area of Sustainable Procurement, where the demand of professionals with digital skills is more and more increasing. Exploring the potentials of micro-credentials to promote competency development and recognition of skills and qualifications by creating a framework on micro-credentials to be directly applied to the area of digital skills in procurement but easy to be adapted to additional professional fields, will be the project’s main challenge... 
Read further!

DCU Making Moves with Micro-Credentials

DCU’s mission of transforming lives and societies, is underpinning the university’s deep engagement in the micro-credential space across multiple initiatives, domains and activities. At the national level, DCU will develop and deliver a series of micro-credentials in the coming years focused on addressing future-focused skills in key sectors as part of the MC2 project. This project is a national sectoral initiative, led by the Irish Universities Association, which received over €12 million in 2020 to develop and deliver micro-credentials under the Irish Government’s Human Capital Initiative (HCI). Further to this DCU’s own major transformation initiative funded under HCI, DCU Futures provides the opportunity to engage with a micro-credential approach in developing transversal skills for undergraduate learners. These major strategic commitments follow on from the launch last year of Ireland’s first for credit micro-credential, FinTech: Financial Innovation by DCU Business School... Read further!

From "Master nuggets" to a full university degree

The School of Advanced Professional Studies (SAPS) at Ulm University offers extra-occupational certificate courses and master’s programmes in German and partly in English. First degree-holders can take course modules of all master’s programme individually. Some contents are even offered as short-time "master-nuggets". The awarded certificate may be credited towards a full master’s degree programme later. This year, Ulm University’s SAPS offers a new part-time master’s programme in the field of education (initially in German). The programme "Instructional Design" addresses learning processes and teaching content – with a focus on online- and continuing education. The modules are especially geared towards developers of online- and blended learning-formats. "Instructional Design" combines skills from psychology, education, computer science and statistics...Read further!
Universities working with society
UAntwerp & Port of Antwerp cooperate to enable unmanned sailing thanks to 3D sonar sensors

Automated navigation is the future of inland shipping. It may sound futuristic, but innovative research carried out by UAntwerp and the Port of Antwerp is bringing us one step closer to this dream. The key: 3D sonar sensors, inspired by the way bats see the world. In 2019, over 42% of all goods entered or left the port of Antwerp via inland waterways. "Unfortunately, inland shipping is not exactly a sexy sector", says Svetlana Samsonova. As liaison officer, she coordinates many different joint research projects carried out by the University of Antwerp and the Port of Antwerp. "Attracting young talent to this sector is not an easy feat. Unmanned vessels can lead to substantial cost savings, as well as provide an answer to our increasing traffic congestion problems and the rising costs of road transport". Read further!

NOVA and Almada City Council partner up to create Institute of Art and Technology (IAT)

The deed that will allow the creation of the Institute of Art and Technology (IAT) at Fort of Trafaria was signed on 20 January, establishing the partnership between the NOVA University Lisbon and the Almada City Council. The former Presidio of Trafaria will be transformed into a research, teaching and artistic creation center that combines art and technology. This interdisciplinary space will look at the interface between art and technology as a privileged means to intervene creatively in society, contributing with cutting-edge innovation for its sustainable development. 

"The Institute of Art and Technology is one of the priorities of NOVA's strategy for 2020-2030 and fulfills our mission: serving the country and society, locally and globally, through knowledge and innovation. Therefore, it will be an open and inclusive space, developed with national and international partnerships, but which will give special attention to the various local communities (...)”, says NOVA's Rector João Sàágua
Read further!

Essex awarded ‘University of Sanctuary' status
The University of Essex has been recognised as a University of Sanctuary, reflecting its commitment to promoting a culture of welcome, safety, and inclusion to refugees and asylum seekers across its campuses and wider communities. “We have a long and proud tradition of providing sanctuary for academics and students", said Professor Lorna Fox O’Mahony, Deputy Vice-Chancellor as the University of Essex was awarded ‘University of Sanctuary’ status in December 2020...Read further!
Research News
What are the consequences of the loss of physical distance?
An article published in the Eu-topias journal by Prof. Pilar Carrera, from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), analyses the consequences of the increasing loss of symbolic and physical distance with the media and information technologies. This phenomenon, accelerated by COVID-19 and the intensive use of the Internet, is associated with a privacy that is progressively subjugated to the logic of the mass media. In parallel, there is a loss of distance from a media discourse that is presented as transparent, as a “window open to the world”, concealing the mediation process and its political, economic, and cultural implications... Read further!
What Use Is the Best Robot If No One Wants It?

An interdisciplinary project group from the Social Science Methods Centre at the University of Bremen has investigated how artificial intelligence will change our lives in the future using a representative survey. One result: Many people are skeptical of the use of robots and AI in their personal surroundings. How should research and development react to that? “Artificial intelligence is seen as a technology of the future,” says Professor Uwe Engel, head of the Social Science Methods Centre at the University of Bremen since its foundation in 2007 until 2020. “It will enter into our society. ”Together with his team, he is investigating how artificial intelligence will change our lives. In order to do this, he carried out a representative survey of 216 Bremen citizens. One central question was to clarify which social and ethical acceptance of AI and robots there is in varying areas of life...Read further!

Associate Professor Tanja Tarvainen secures UEF’s first ERC Consolidator Grant
Associate Professor Tanja Tarvainen from the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Eastern Finland has been granted the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant for five years, with the funding amounting to 2 million euros. The grant was awarded for Associate Professor Tarvainen’s research aiming at developing novel quantitative imaging modalities based on coupled physics. Coupled physics imaging combines the benefits of two physical phenomena, such as light and ultrasound through the photoacoustic effect. The research aims at the development of quantitative tomographic techniques utilising methods of Bayesian inverse problems. The aim is to provide new imaging modalities for biomedical imaging and research. Finnish inverse problems research is internationally highly distinguished, and Associate Professor Tarvainen’s research group is a member of the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Inverse Modelling and Imaging....Read further!
NOVA's Prof. Martins appointed member of the ERC Scientific Council & Prof. Ferreira awarded with 3rd ERC Grant
 
Since 1 January 2021, Rodrigo Martins, full Professor at the NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA), is one of the five prominent scientists appointed by the European Commission as members of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC)...Read further!

Moreover, Isabel Ferreira, Professor in the Materials Science Department at FCT NOVA and researcher at Cenimat, has won a third ERC grant with the “INSOLENSYS” project.
 The project consists of testing the combination of photovoltaic cells and batteries and has the support of an Italian company, D1-Venture, in the validation, market research and contacts with industrial partners for the verification of test results...Read further!

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Silvia Gomez Recio, YERUN Secretary General: secretarygeneral@yerun.eu

Chiara Colella, Strategic Communications & Policy Officer: chiara.colella@yerun.eu

2021 YERUN

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