05. 11. 2021 / 17:35

On October 18th, the Aurora Office of the Palacky University in Olomouc organized an Open Day event for the University faculties. Rector Martin Prochazka opened the event and welcomed the participants, reminding us all how significant it is to acknowledge the event being the first larger physical gathering after the COVID phase at our University, and also a first physical gathering for Aurora participants and the interested parties since the start of the Aurora European Universities Alliance programme, in November 2020.

Rector further emphasized how UP together with 8 other European universities in Aurora has pledged to transform higher education by modernizing our institutions to meet the societal challenges, and how proud he is to continue this important work of our University in the Alliance of European Universities, building a strong European future together.

Under his leadership, we will work to strengthen UP’s position within the Aurora as well as to use this strategic partnership and international cooperation to advance the results and quality of our university. As he invited for joint collaboration he also stated that “To achieve the best results, we need to work together. We will make sure that Aurora benefits faculties and provides the best services and resources to the academic community and our students.”

After the opening remarks by the UP Rector, Selma Porobic, the Aurora Institutional Coordinator at UP, provided a full overview of the European Universities Initiative and its positioning in the policy context of European higher education. She introduced the Aurora Alliance and achievements of the collaboration after the current 1-year progress reporting.

She pointed to a noteworthy increase in strategic and cross-regional EU partnerships addressing the widespread trans-national issues, like climate change, reduction of poverty, social injustice and inequalities, and the new technologies that are rapidly changing our work conditions and everyday lives. [1] In the EU’s higher education sector, the most significant has indeed been the strategic partnerships scheme, launched by European Commission (EC) as European Universities Initiative, under the Erasmus Plus Framework Programme.

It is considered as one of the leading initiatives of the EU’s ambitions to build a European Education Area by supporting the creation of universities of the future, promoting European values and identity, and revolutionizing the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.[2] After two calls only, already 41 university alliances are formed, joining together 279 higher education institutions in Europe and its neighboring countries.[3] 

Dr. Porobic also introduced the work of Aurora Alliance and the joint management and governance model with impressive results, and a record of growing academic collaboration among academics of 9 universities. Furthermore, she introduced the new leadership model introduced at UP as of October, which places the Aurora programme under the Vice-rector for Strategy and provides important Strategic coordination of the work and results. She also introduced the Aurora Office at UP with services for the faculties.

In the following panel ‘European Universities and UP – Strategy and Future’ the Strategic management of the Aurora programme at UP was presented in detail by Vice-rector for Strategy Michal Malacka, stressing the embedding of Aurora programme deliverables into the existent governance structures supporting the realization of the UP Strategic goals 2021-2027. Dr. Malacka moderated the panel in which Vicerectors Education, Vit Zouhar, Communication, and Student Affairs, Vit Prochazka, and IT, evaluation and Sustainability, Tomas Opatrny all presented their work packages (WP3,4,5) and alignment with UP strategic goals in their respective sectors.

The next panel ‘What we do in Aurora’ consisted of the UP Activity leaders, Marie Jadrnickova, Marie Rakova, Tereza Kalouskova, Niels Hexspoor, promoting the concrete results in the International traineeships, Research Collaboration, Sustainable Campus, and the Capacity Development Support programme.  Introduction to Aurora student schemes, ambassadors and champions, was also part of this panel.



In the afternoon, the panel Education and Mobility in Aurora, focused on the four pilot domain areas: Climate and Environmental Sustainability, Health and Wellbeing, Digital Society and Global Citizenships, Culture: Identity and diversity.  Aurora partners are testing the educational collaboration in these and the panel representatives from four different UP faculties (Science faculty, arts faculty, Education Faculty and Health sciences) presented the results of this work so far with the current offers of joint lecture series, courses and upcoming joint degree programmes to the audience. At the same time the developing UP Aurora mobility schemes for students and staff were introduced, along with the Multilateral Aurora Mobility Agreement (to be signed during the Aurora Biannual in November) that will enable the increase of mobility exchanges across the 9 university partners.


The event was finalized with Open Questions and Answers, with the UP aurora office. Next on the agenda are separate Faculty visits and Aurora open day for students in spring 2022.

The day after on October 19th the Aurora project team had a long-time promised Teambuilding Event at Chateau Lednice.

[1]See e.g. Alliance for Multilateralism in 2019, a network of over 20 nations, bridging the so cold Global North-South divide and the latest Euro-Atlantic initiative, entitled ‘Marshall Plan for Democracy’

[2] See the EC’s Factsheet about this initiative.

[3] Initially, some 20 bottom-up networks by 2024 were called for (December 2017 Conclusions, of the European Council).