The 2018 EUA Annual Conference will discuss universities' pivotal role in generating knowledge, developing intercultural understanding and fostering civic engagement through their core missions.
Universities, through their core missions of education, research, and innovation, are key drivers of knowledge societies. Europe is currently facing challenges including social and educational inequality, demographic changes and new migration patterns. The rise of populism means increasing distrust in scientific arguments while political conflicts risk threatening democracy and other shared European values. In this context, universities have a pivotal role to play in generating knowledge, developing intercultural understanding and fostering civic engagement through their core missions.
There is a growing awareness of the social and ethical impact of universities’ activities on society. Universities are educating an ever more diverse student population in the hope that they become informed citizens, able to respond to the changing needs of society and the labour market. In addition to producing new knowledge through research, universities focus on the dissemination of this knowledge and its utilisation in scientific and technological innovation. Nevertheless, in order to demonstrate accountability and justify continued public investment in higher education and research, universities need to redouble their efforts to express the importance of their contribution to society and the need for evidence-based discussions enshrined by scientific integrity and ethics.
The EUA Annual Conference will build upon EUA’s work with its members on various topics linked to the societal mission of universities. It will provide participants an opportunity to explore how universities across Europe demonstrate their social responsibility by ensuring that their activities contribute to shaping society at large. The conference will include examples of institutional practices, national and European policies and initiatives that bear evidence of today’s engaged and responsible universities.
Plenary I: Universities in knowledge societies
Plenary II: The role of public policies driving universities' social responsibility and engagement
Plenary III: Sustainable Europe: What role for universities?