In publica commoda

Press release: University Network ENLIGHT to become “European University”

No. 87 - 09.07.2020

EU supports joint strategy for innovation in research and teaching with a total of five million euros

The university network ENLIGHT is to become a European University. The EU will fund the network of nine research-intensive universities, among them the University of Göttingen, with five million euro for a three-year period. In the coming semester, the partners will begin implementing a joint strategy for innovation in research and higher education. ENLIGHT stands for European university Network to promote equitable quality of Life, sustainability and Global engagement through Higher education Transformation. The EU’s main aim behind the pilot call “European Universities” was to transform the European Higher Education sector. Twenty-four university networks were selected in the second round of this initiative.


“The goals we set ourselves within this consortium are highly ambitious, but I am convinced that this is the right way forward,” says Professor Reinhard Jahn, President of the University of Göttingen. “Even after years of European integration there are still obstacles to collaborative research and the Europeanisation of higher education. In order to tear down these remaining barriers, we need consortiums wherein we trust each other and can dare to experiment. I am proud that Göttingen is among the universities that will shape this reform process in Europe and look forward to tackling this challenge.”


In joint structures and through innovative teaching opportunities, the nine ENLIGHT universities will empower students with the right knowledge and skills to become engaged citizens and professionals and respond to the major, complex societal challenges of the 21st century.


“ENLIGHT is unique in its geographical, economic, social, cultural and linguistic diversity,” says Professor Hiltraud Casper-Hehne, Vice-President for Internationalisation at the University of Göttingen. “The dedicated and sustainable commitment to this goal has been worth it! We will now use this breadth and wealth to create new, flexible and international research and study opportunities tailored to everyone's individual needs. In so doing, we will lay the foundation for the next generation of genuine Europeans.”


"This is a great success for the University of Göttingen and its international partners," explains Björn Thümler, Minister for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. "This award means that Lower Saxony is clearly placed on the map of European science. This is whole-hearted confirmation of our course to strongly focus on European initiatives. The support of the University of Göttingen in the application process has paid off.”


ENLIGHT unites the universities of the Basque Country, Bordeaux, Galway, Gent, Göttingen, Groningen, Tartu, Uppsala and Comenius University in Bratislava. Cross-border collaboration is as central to the joint strategy as a focus on the locality, where the partners intend to address societal challenges in a local context. ENLIGHT will pilot new learning formats across five focus themes: Climate Change, Health and Well-Being, Inequalities, Digital Revolution, Energy and Circularity. In these areas, students will engage with researchers, citizens and professionals from their communities. They will discuss problems and solutions, examine innovation potential and promote diversity. The exchange within the network will allow European solutions to emerge from these local contexts, and in this process, students will also be involved. This constitutes a completely new form of university education.


The ENLIGHT project was established in close collaboration with the student representatives of all ENLIGHT universities. The Student Network will continue to play a central role to meet the needs of current and future student generations.


ENLIGHT's ambition extends much further than the three-year project lifespan. In the long-term, ENLIGHT wants to create an open accessible space without barriers between the nine universities for researching, learning, teaching and working together. ENLIGHT intends to develop a model that not only applies within Europe, but also has a true impact worldwide and makes a substantial contribution to strengthen Europe's role in the world. Further information can be found at



Professor Hiltraud Casper-Hehne

University of Göttingen

Vice-President for Internationalisation

Wilhelmsplatz 1, 37073 Göttingen, Germany

Tel: +49 (0)551 39-21031