Léalo en Español.
By Alicia R. Mederos and V. Rodríguez Gago
In 2022, the seven universities of the Campus RUP alliance –Las Antillas, Guayana, La Réunion, Azores, Madeira, La Laguna and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria– will have a common academic curriculum aligned with the specialization strategy of the outermost economies of the European Union. The project is chosen to be chosen in the European Universities Initiative of the Erasmus + program. The first call of 2019 will select twelve transnational university consortiums. The EU will invest in them 60 million euros to develop academic degrees and science in common beneficial to the entire European Union, their quality of life and the competitiveness of the economy of the bloc.
The EU outermost regions universities offer the EU to create a platform for the training of innovators with a European vision in the scientific and technical knowledge of the new blue economy, clean energy, tourism, cure for tropical diseases, protection of the biodiversity or agri-food production. They will start teaching a Master in Blue Economy and another in European Studies in the physical and virtual campus with which they will function as a single university, by March 2021. In three years, European students will have a new overseas university with seven campuses spread over three oceans. In it they will study scientific and technological specialties for which the outermost regions are unique natural laboratories in the world.
The seven universities of the Campus RUP alliance currently have about one hundred thousand students enrolled. The project submitted to the call for the Erasmus + program of the European Commission offers a Higher Education platform through which some 50,000 university students will be moving in 2022, according to the estimate indicated in the document by the heads of the seven academic institutions. Cooperation has four dimensions: the mobility of the university community among the outermost regions -not only of students, but also of professors, researchers and administration and services personnel-, European citizenship, training and research in a specialties catalog aligned with the smart specialization strategy of each outermost region.
A virtual campus to study and investigate
The eight partners of the project –the seven universities, plus the local Government of the Canary Islands– commit themselves to implement, in three years, «a credit recognition system, removing the current administrative barriers».
A Master in Blue Economy and another in European Studies will begin to be taught in 2021 in the Campus rup
The training in a common academic curriculum will be developed in a face-to-face campus (that of each one of the seven universities) and virtual one. It will include courses and degrees taught in an online platform, «an innovative mobility and virtual learning hub» in which university students, professors and researchers will learn and cooperate in English, the co-official language in the Campus RUP, although it will be compulsory, in addition, to speak French, Portuguese or Spanish, apart from the mother tongue. In 2022, the virtual campus shared by the outermost regions universities «will be used at all levels» of university life, for institutional, administrative and academic tasks.
The educational offer of the first European overseas university will start –in this first phase of three years– with the implementation of two Master’s degrees, one in Blue Economy and the other, in European Studies. «They will serve as a pilot experience to test cooperation and learn how to structure and organize joint curricula», as indicated in the project. Between 5 and 10 students from each university of the alliance will be admitted to each Master’s degree.
The institutions commit themselves to design a common academic curriculum, identified with the fields of knowledge that are indicated as priorities in the Smart Specialization Strategy of each outermost region. The recognition of the academic credits will be automatic in all the university space of the alliance, for the subjects of the joint curriculum.
The seven universities of Campus RUP give «the greatest importance to the link between education and research and innovation», as they declare in the project presented on February 28, 2019 to the European Commission. The provision of education «will respond to the skills and competencies demanded in the areas of intelligent specialization» indicated in the innovation strategy of each region.
The tuning of the market has already started: Campus RUP has started to «create synergies» with the Forward project, the institutional framework in which the outermost regions are jointly defining an R&D strategy of long-term excellence. The conclusions of Forward –a project adopted by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union– will guide the design of the higher education and research offer of the Campus RUP, according to the commitment of the partners of the university alliance of the outermost regions.