News from the U4 Network

October 2012 was rich of events in the U4 network. On 7-8 October, the fifth U4 Rectors Meeting took place at the University of Groningen. During this two day meeting all thematic clusters and working groups presented their achievements, their work-in-progress and their future ambitions to the gathered rectors. The U4 roadmap for 2013 includes the establishment of an interdisciplinary research forum on energy, boosting the U4 student and graduate exchanges, taking up on the U4 benchmarking exercise and continuing the initiatives of the U4 students in sports and culture. A special focus for the future of the U4 network will be in innovative graduate education.
All partners agreed that this area of activity offers a most promising field for the cooperation of the four renowned research universities. Shortly after, on 11-12 October in Uppsala, a second meeting of the U4 Leadership Programme took place. Top executives of all four partner universities gathered to discuss strategic management connected to ‘Tradition and Renewal - Leading Top Quality Universities’. Less than one week later (12-14 October) some 50 social scientists from the U4 network universities (comprising professors, Post Docs and PhD students) gathered in Göttingen for a conference. In what was termed a “bazaar conference” (focusing more on existing research than a single topic) they were looking for common research interests and seeking to establish areas for future cooperation. Some 35 presentations were given over the three days, ranging from market regulation, Europeanization, and governance to analyses of political institutions and legal matters, and participants learned about each others’ work and discussed shared areas of interest. The four universities intend to continue the successful format for intensifying cooperation next year, most likely in Groningen or Gent, then with a combination of panels about the new areas of cooperation and a continuation of open panels. February 2013 will see a second edition of the U4 workshop on International Perspectives in Teaching & Learning in Groningen. The workshop is targeted at coordinators of international study programmes and tackles the special issues of organization and teaching for international students.