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Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance

Urban Research as a European Mission

U!REKA Consortium holds its 3rd Conference

3 Dec 2018 14:42 | Communication

'Shaping Urban Communities. Smart and Sustainable Solutions' – this was the motto of the U!REKA (The Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance) consortium’s third annual conference, hosted this year from 26-28 November by Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS), Germany.

Some 100 researchers and administrative staff met to present, discuss and develop research projects and collaborations in the fields of teaching and academic management.

It is the consortium’s purpose to use its shared focus on urban topics and pool the expertise of the member universities in order to produce high quality applied research. Just as important is its second focus: The member universities’ students are entitled to an education that prepares them as much as possible for a rapidly changing work environment. Learning from and with each other, the U!REKA universities strive for excellence in these fields.

The consortium includes Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), Edinburgh Napier University (Great Britain), Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (Helsinki, Finland), Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway) and University College Ghent (Belgium).

Research findings and project ideas presented during the conference were formed by U!REKA’s focus and therefore dealt specifically with urban issues. They were organised in tracks focusing on “The Smart City”, “Health and Wellbeing in Urban Environments”, “Urban Sustainable Development”, “Migration and Urban Displacement”, “Higher Education Research” and “Research and Innovation and the Urban Eco-System”. Researchers developed joint project ideas and funding proposals. The last day of the conference took place in the House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM), located right by the Frankfurt airport, where Frankfurt UAS focuses on research projects providing logistical and mobility solutions to public and industry partners.

“Smart and sustainable solutions - this year’s conference motto is exemplary of what the U!REKA members stand for as universities. We found each other because we don’t see universities as isolated places of deep thinking, removed from everyday interruptions. Our raison d’être is something else:  We want to make an impact, to be involved, to be useful to our communities. And of course educating young people to develop new ideas and to be able to take responsible positions is an important part of that. But it’s also being responsive to the challenges our societies and especially our urban communities face. The presentations’ range and depth really illustrate the U!REKA universities’ research potential”, Prof. Dr. Frank E.P. Dievernich, President of Frankfurt UAS and current Chair of U!REKA’s Steering Committee, sums up.

To complement the research workshops, the first day of the conference was dedicated to discussion and collaboration in the fields of international cooperation, research support, communications, strategy and programme development. Presentations of best practices and innovative project ideas sparked lively and productive discussions, which are bound to lead to additional cooperative projects.