On June 15-17 UNIKE held the University Futures conference with the aim of creating collective thinking about the future university. With representatives from more than 20 countries, the conference explored future directions for universities in Europe and the Asia-Pacific Rim. One of the key goals was to discuss alternative ways of organising the university in the future.
Times Higher Education's reporter, Ellie Bothwell, has written an article based on her participation in the conference. Read the article here.
Group photo from the University Futures conference. Photo by Ib Jensen, Aarhus University.
New university to emerge from UNIKE
The conference featured many discussions about contemporary trends of the relationship between the university and society. One of the things discussed was the emerging and establishing of a new university system. A group of 13 professors and researchers representing Mondragon University (Spain), Sabanci University (Turkey), Akershus University (Norway), Berea College and Cornell University (USA), University of Lincoln, University of Sheffield, University of Bristol, and Roehampton University (UK) have grouped together to initiate and formulate alternative ways of organising the internal life of a university and its relations with society.
The group is currently in the initial stages of formulating the frames of this new university. Updates of the progress will be shared on UNIKE’s website.
Copenhagen Declaration as joint UNIKE outcome
Following the conference, the UNIKE team held two workshop days. During the workshop, a joint publication as a result of UNIKE was planned. The workshop concluded by drafting a 'Copenhagen Declaration'. UNIKE is very much welcoming comments on the Copenhagen Declaration, which will be up for comments shortly via this page.
Rachel Douglas-Jones (below right) drew ideas of scientific themes for the coming joint UNIKE publication and links between them.
Keynote speeches at the conference
Three keynote speakers gave presentations at the conference. Professor Keri Facer (left picture), Bristol University, spoke about the university’s relationship with society and gave the example of The Connected Communities Programme in which university and community are working together on creating new knowledge and a participatory orientation to the future. See Keri Facer’s keynote speech here.
Professor Ove Kaj Pedersen (left picture), Copenhagen Business School, showed historically how four types of university systems had emerged and in the current period formed different kinds of knowledge regimes. He argued that European universities are losing their monopoly over research, but gaining responsibility for training PhDs who are prepared for employment in the private sector. See the keynote speech here.
What is UNIKE?
Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE) is a four year collaborative research project investigating the dynamic relationships between universities and knowledge economies in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific Rim. The project is funded by the European Commission and the actual research is conducted by 11 doctoral fellows and three post-doctoral fellows at six different universities: Aarhus University, ENS Lyon, Ljubljana University, Roehampton University, the University of Bristol, and Porto University.