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On 22-23 April, EUA held its Annual Conference “Universities 2030: From vision to reality”. Nearly 700 speakers and guests participated in an honest and in-depth debate about the paths universities must take to remain resilient and relevant. Informed by the EUA vision “Universities without walls”, the event gathered university leaders, policy makers and experts in the field to discuss this timely and relevant topic.

In EUA’s vision, Europe’s universities are open learning communities engaged in the creation of a sustainable global society, as well as autonomous and accountable entities striving for continuous improvement. Universities’ core missions – learning and teaching, research, innovation and culture – will play an instrumental role in universities’ efforts to realise this vision.

The 2021 EUA Annual Conference provided a forum for discussion on how to make this vision a reality. In the opening session, EUA President Michael Murphy, EUA Secretary General Amanda Crowfoot and IAU President Pam Fredman hosted Charles Michel, European Council President, setting the scene for the conference by discussing the path ahead based on the European Union’s ambitions for research and higher education.

Universities have “stepped up to the challenge during the pandemic from developing vaccines to engaging with our communities,” stated Michel via video. “I am confident that our European universities of tomorrow will continue to prosper and add value to the life of our citizens and to our societies.”

“We have a responsibility to make sure our universities are fit for purpose in the coming years. The resilience of our society will depend upon us,” said EUA President Michael Murphy. “We are here to discuss the various steps that we have to take in order to reach our goals, reach our vision in the coming years.”

Many of the sessions addressed the changes that universities are facing, from hybrid, digital and physical campuses to reforming academic careers. It was clear that Europe’s universities are ready to drive these changes, despite the sometimes overly rigid legal frameworks and underfunding.

The 2021 EUA Annual Conference was held online on a special platform that allowed for interactive audience participation, opportunities for networking and for learning more about diverse EUA projects and activities.

The platform remains open to registrants until the end of the day on 6 May. Registrants can continue to connect with colleagues across Europe and take advantage of the many resources there, including the session recordings. The session recordings will be available to the public only later this year.

For the highlights of the event, please see #EUA2021AnnualConf on Twitter.

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