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Mission Statement Urban Research & Education Knowledge Alliance

Cooperation Agreement November 28, 2016

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and University College Ghent are the founders of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance of European institutions that have been brought together by the common themes of applied research, professional education and focus on our students’ future world of work.

We cooperate to enhance the quality of our education, our research and the contribution we make to regional and urban entrepreneurship and innovation in a European context. We recognise the need and benefits to further internationalise research and education at all partner institutions, to help develop 21st century skills for students and staff and to share solutions on handling inclusion and diversity in a rapidly changing global environment.

We also recognise the need to increase visibility in Europe and will use the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance as a platform to meet the objectives of the European Union in the fields of education, training, research and innovation. We believe that by bringing our institutions together, this platform will open up opportunities and enhance the status of our institutions within Europe and in the European Union in Brussels. In addition, we have the opportunity to use the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance as a platform to benchmark our institutional policies, management facilities and services and collaborate on an equal footing, respecting their own identity as well as the responsibility of each party. Through collaboration in this Urban Research and Education Knowledge  Alliance, we will elevate the quality of oureducational and research activities to a new and international level and improve our ability to educate our students for a changing labor market.

We strongly believe in cooperation across borders and share common characteristics:

  • Professional education and applied research
  • Bringing researchers and teachers together
  • Professional development of staff

We emphasise these shared interests in our Urban Research and Education Knowledge  Alliance agenda:

  • Professional education and applied research that is interdisciplinary in nature;
  • Focus on metropolitan areas and regional impact: conducting research and providing education that is demand-driven, in an urban setting and which contributes to innovation in industry;
  • Bachelor programmes that are aimed at professional practices. Our focus is on applied research. We aim to integrate education and research;
  • Emphasis on the fundamental social, cultural, and economic impact of our universities: promoting citizenship, inclusion and diversity.
  • Recognition of the need for acquiring 21st century skills by our students and staff to adapt to a changing labor market;
  • Valueing the importance of maintaining strong links with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, the public sector and local and regional governments.
  • Maintaining a strong international profile and being committed to the internationalisation of education and research.

Our universities excel at providing added value to the cities and regions we belong to by training our students and delivering applied research and by working closely with businesses, public organisations and other institutions. We offer all our regional partners a chance to innovate.

Globalisation and internationalisation are strong trends that offer new opportunities. We, the members of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge  Alliance, embrace the international perspective as an essential part of all our educational and research programs. Our students are exposed to the global dimension of the rapidly developing world and the professions of their choice. Our strong international commitment enables them to enter the labour market prepared. The members of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance are united and committed to achieving our joint mission on a European level.

Relating to the European Consortium

This agreement is entered into on November 28, 2016 between Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, represented by professor Huib de Jong, Rector, Edinburgh Napier University, represented by professor Alistair Sambell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice Principal, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, represented by Kira Kastell, Vice President, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, represented by Riitta Konkola, President, by Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, represented by Curt Rice, Rector and University College Ghent, represented by Bert Hoogewijs, Rector, all hereinafter referred to as partners.

Whereas:

The parties hereto believe that education and applied research at their respective institutions would be strongly enhanced by cooperating intensively in the fields of research, education and policy by carrying out joint programs of education and research within the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance.

The Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance members named in this agreement pursue the ambition to becoming international centres of knowledge;

1. Members of the Urban Research and  EducationKnowledge Alliance are located in comparable environments: metropolitan regions, economically relevant in Europe, smart global business hubs, focus on smart urban solutions (triple helix, smart logistics science, talent development, cultural heritage, creative hotspots and incubators); Members recognise the global change in professions and the need to adapt to a labour market with international dimensions and therefore the need for acquiring 21st century skills;

2. The fundamental social, cultural, and economic impact of the institution: the emphasis on education, citizenship, internationalisation at home and to handle inclusion and diversity in a changing world;

3. They recognise the need to further internationalise research and education at all institutions;

4. They recognise the need to increase visibility in Europe, especially within the European Union in Brussels and specifically would like to pursue the benefits of acquiring third party funding of the European Union in the fields of education, training, research and innovation;

5. They greatly value existing relationships and links between their institutions;

6. They therefore wish to establish a strategic partnership with a limited number of higher education institutions and governed by a steering committee for the purpose of strengthening their collaborative links.

Therefore, all partners hereby agree as follows:

All partner institutions will collaborate to enhance the quality of their professional education, their applied research, the professional development of their staff and the contribution they make to regional entrepreneurship and innovation in an urban and a European context. In addition, the institutions in this partnership have the opportunity to benchmark their management facilities, services and institutional policies. They believe in cooperation across borders and collaborate on an equal footing, respecting their respective identities as well as the responsibility of each party.

For the purpose of establishing a Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance of strategic partners, this cooperation agreement is drafted whereby partners agree on the content listed here. Partners agree to commit to the Consortium for at least 5 years. The Rector of the AUAS has the mandated authority to sign on behalf of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance, but only on the basis of decisions made in accordance with this agreement and the unanimous approval of the steering committee of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance.

 

3.1 Research

3.1.1 In order to enhance the quality of their professional education, their applied research and the contribution they make to regional entrepreneurship and urban innovation, partners collaborate on European research projects and actively promote and seek joint participation in European or other (inter)national funding programmes.

3.1.2 Partners focus on practice-based research in metropolitan areas with a regional impact, on interdisciplinary research and strive for integration of education and research.

3.1.3 Partners regularly and actively organise and facilitate joint academic activities including conferences, seminars, courses, symposia and lectures. Partners promote the exchange of information, publications and share other materials of common interest in the area of research. These activities lead to an increase of the exchange of information between researchers, teachers, staff and students and an increased visibility of the research of the partners of the Urban Research and Knowledge Education Alliance.

3.1.4 Partners share information on their research quality assurance systems and information on the outcome of research accreditation assessments.

3.2 Education

3.2.1 In order to enhance the quality of their education, their research and the contribution and impact they make to regional entrepreneurship and urban innovation, partners plan to develop joint and/or double degree study programmes, such as bachelor, Master, non-degree, virtual and/or blended learning programmes. Partners update each other on the study programme(s) they have developed and share best practices and expertise to develop new (joint) programmes, curricula and learning outcomes. Partners also seek to explore opportunities for short-term mobility programmes including summer schools, and virtual mobility via MOOCs.

3.2.2 Partners see to it that the quality and assessment of their study programmes meet international standards and actively promote internationalisation at home within their institutions.

3.2.3 Partners actively engage in joint and funded Erasmus+ projects.

3.2.4 Partners share information on their educational quality assurance systems and information on the outcome of accreditation assessments of their programmes.

3.2.5 Partners apply the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). In weighing the results obtained at partner institutions the respective grading systems will be compared and translated using the standard European Grading Conversion System – EGRACONS.

3.3. Staff

3.3.1 For the purpose of collaboration in research and education and the professional development of staff, partners work together to increase the exchange of research and teaching staff. Expertise is shared to develop new organisational strategies and to support each other in addressing organisational, managerial and financial challenges. Best practices and expertise is shared among the academic policy staffs of the partners.

3.4. Students

3.4.1 Partners promote both the exchange of students (Via Erasmus+, short-term or virtual mobility) and the collaboration between student associations at their respective universities.

3.4.2 A tuition fee waiver will apply during the exchange periods of students. In exchanging students to Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, participants will have to pay a semester contribution of approximately € 350 (“Semesterbeitrag“) which is required by German law upon enrolment.

3.4.3 Students of partner institutions organise a yearly thematic event.

3.4.4 Students have the possibility to graduate at one of the partner institutions, within the framework of a joint or double degree programme or on an individual basis.

3.5. Regions

3.5.1 Partners are strongly rooted in their respective regions and play a substantial and visible role in the economic, social and cultural life of their cities and their respective regions.

3.5.2 Partners collaborate to disseminate, implement and commercialise knowledge in these regions, particularly focussing on small and medium size enterprises.

3.5.3 Promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and innovation within their region is a key focus.

3.6. Internationalisation

3.6.1 To improve awareness of – international – developments and trends in higher education programmes, partners work together to keep each other informed on their international partnerships and projects.

3.6.2 Where relevant and appropriate, partners will adopt a joint position on European higher education and research issues.

3.6.3 Partners agree to organise an annual thematic conference to discuss research and education collaboration, alternating between the cities where the partners are located. The first conference of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance is held in Amsterdam.

3.7. Other Areas

In addition to the above areas of collaboration, parties may agree to collaborate in any other areas such as, but not limited to, exchanging policy expertise, sit in on accreditation review panels, best practices on enhancing (international) education and research support staff.

4.1. Institutional coordinator

Each partner nominates an institutional coordinator who shall act as a contact person for all matters concerning this agreement.

4.2. Steering Committee of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance

The Steering Committee is the highest decision-making body of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance as prescribed by this agreement. Each full institutional partner appoints one member to the Steering Committee. This Steering Committee member, the Head of Institution or the designated deputy (this person being a member of the university leadership), has voting rights at meetings. Decisions will be taken by consensus in the steering committee of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance.

4.2.1 The Steering Committee meets twice a year: once at a member institution and once in Brussels. In the meetings each member university can be represented by two persons: the formal Steering Committee member (see above) and a second person nominated by the Head of Institution. Additional attendees can only be present when separately invited for specific reasons.

4.2.2. The parties shall appoint a joint Steering Committee which is responsible for all management aspects of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge  Alliance.

4.2.3 For each of the themes identified (at the starting conference in Amsterdam) as he Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance themes, each member institution nominates an ambassador. The various ambassadors for each theme form a focus group and will jointly have responsibility for maintaining the network and acting as contact persons for their own colleagues, those at the member institutions, and for the Steering Committee.

4.2.4. This Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance starts with the six current partners and can be extended to new partners (1 or 2), to be decided by the steering committee. The Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance expects to involve a limited number of European partners in their network in the future. New membership is by invitation by the Steering Committee. Geographical spread and institutional quality are key criterions for consideration in decisions on membership. The document entitled ‘Membership Criteria and Eligibility of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance will provide the specific eligibility and selection criteria for full membership of new partners. This agreement allows for collaboration in temporary partnerships with other, non-Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance institutions.

5.1. Responsibilities of the parties

Each partner is responsible for the institutional commitment on all levels and the implementation of this agreement. Participating institutions are equal partners and are required to exchange information concerning the consortium on a regular basis.

5.1.1 The institutional leadership of all partners are committed to promote the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance among its educational and research staff, with respect towards the academic freedom of their researchers and educational staff to collaborate with international partners of their choice.

5.2. Finances

No financial or legal obligations above those in the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance agreement will arise from the agreement. Partners intend that any agreement on such obligations in relation to specific activities will be documented in a separate and formal future agreement executed by the partners in accordance with the policies and procedures of the respective parties. Each partner shall cover its own costs and expenses. In case of external (project) funding the distribution of the funding between the partners will be as stipulated in the contract with the external funder.

5.3 Ownership of intellectual property rights

Each partner acknowledges that the title to all intellectual property contained in any information and documents provided or made available to the other partner, including but not limited to teaching and learning material, is and shall remain at all times the exclusively property of the disclosing partner, insofar as the disclosing partner owns such rights, and that the other partner has no rights to use, disclose, copy or otherwise dispose of said rights, except in accordance with any explicit or implied authority hereunder, and further that any such authority shall immediately cease upon termination of this Agreement. 

5.4. Liability of the parties

Every partner is responsible and liable for its own staff and students. Therefore, participating institutions are not liable for damages caused by (guest) students and staff and cannot be prosecuted for any accidents caused by students or staff from other Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance member institutions, unless caused by the other parties’ negligence.

5.5. Activities undertaken independently or with third parties

Partners agree that this cooperation agreement does not prevent any partner from undertaking any activities or cooperating with third parties or acting independently of the other.

5.6. Social Responsibility

Partners will work together as socially responsible partners and exchange knowledge and experiences regarding social responsibility issues including efficiency of operations and the impact of operations on the environment, and on the key stakeholders: students, staff, businesses and industry.

6.1 Dispute Resolution and Applicable Law

Any dispute arising from this agreement shall be referred for resolution in the first instance to the institutional coordinators referred to in Art. 4.1.

6.1.1 If they are unable to agree within sixty days after referral to them, the dispute shall be referred to and resolved by the executive boards of the parties. In case of a legal dispute, laws of The Netherlands will be applicable.

6.2 Start, duration and termination

6.2.1 It is understood that this agreement takes effect on November 28, 2016  and

continues to remain in effect until November 27, 2021. Parties commit to a 5 year membership. This agreement is evaluated annually by the steering committee.

6.2.2 This agreement may be revised or amended by mutual written consent.

6.2.3 Any party may terminate this agreement, giving twelve months written notice to the other.

6.2.4 This agreement is drawn up in English and signed in two (2) original copies by the legal representatives of each partner institution.

Published by  Education and Research 27 September 2018