Author: Niels Hexspoor

Join the First Series of Aurora Peace Talks

Join us from September for the first series of Aurora Peace Talks. This lecture series will feature talks by our colleagues from Kharkiv and beyond, and allows them to share their experiences and expertise.

Kharkiv city is one of Ukraine’s most important economic and industrial centres and the second biggest educational center in Ukraine,  known as the city of students and youth.  About 300 000 students (12 000 foreign ones)  found their home in one of the Kharkiv’s 11 universities and 38 higher educational institutions, including both public and private universitas, academies and specialized institutes.

The city and the region have since 2022 come under heavy attacks as one of initial targets of Russia’s invasion. The city and the region have been bravely fighting off the aggression.

 In the last month the town has been experiencing yet another wave of  heavy attacks with random bombardments of civilian object causing civilian casualties, evacuations and displacements of several thousand of its residents.  

Given the location of the city and Khakriv region, the situation for its citizens will remain precarious for long time ahead and we have in Aurora been working dedicatedly to provide the needed support, especially to our partners at Karazin Khakriv National university.

The speakers in this lecture series come from Karazin university but also other universities in Khakriv as we  want  to provide platform for their voices to be heard in these most challenging times for them. This first series in particularly features talks from Kharkiv Scholars at Risk at Copenhagen Business School.

The Peace Talks lecture series allows our colleagues to speak out, share their experiences but also their expertise as academics in addressing the devastation and future post-war recovery and peace building needs.

Support them by joining the following inspiring Talks, starting form September this year:

  • Between Copenhagen and Kharkiv researching resilience
    • 26th of September 2024, 15.00 CET | Serhii Prokopenko, MSc
    • Zoom Link
  • Energy communities as the key for Ukraine’s energy security
    • 17th of October 2024, 15.00 CET | Albina Dioba, Ph.D.
    • Zoom Link
  • Becoming Part of a Community: The Process of Ukraine’s Accession to the European Union
    • 4th of November 2024, 15.00 CET | Assoc. Prof. Manuele Citi
    • Zoom Link
  • Public Discourse and Academic Research in Representing People Under Occupation: Are war-caused conflicts transformable?
    • 16th of December 2024, 15.00 CET | Prof. Yuliia Soroka, Ph.D.
    • Zoom Link

For more information on the Aurora Peace Talks lecture series, contact Selma Porobic.







Aurora Statement in Support of Karazin University

It is with great concern that we have witnessed the latest developments in the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. The recent advances by the Russian army into the Kharkiv region, as well as direct bombardments aimed at civilian targets in Kharkiv, directly jeopardize the safety of our partners, colleagues and friends of V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.

Several of our colleagues have had their homes destroyed. Yet despite these events, Karazin University remains dedicated to their academic mission.

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this recent brutality. The resilience and strength demonstrated by our colleagues in Kharkiv are truly commendable, and we want to assure them that they are not alone.

The Aurora community knows that compassion, support and solidarity with our friends in Kharkiv are vital in these challenging times. Therefore, we sincerely hope that this message reaches our colleagues at Karazin University: We want you to know that Karazin University’s continuous operation and resilience serve as an inspiration to us all. You can always count on our support as the Aurora universities stand proudly by you now as before, and will continue to do so in the future.

Aurora Staff Training in Ohrid Equips Academics for International Teaching

On the 18th of April, the first Aurora Capacity Development Staff Training took place in Ohrid, North Macedonia. In a bid to enhance global learning opportunities, the COIL Staff Training, the event aimed to empower educators with the necessary tools and knowledge to implement Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL).

This event the first in a series of trainings, organised in the framework of Aurora’s Capacity Development Programme. These are organized by Palacky University Olomouc and VU Amsterdam, together with the associate partners. The aim of these training events is twofold. Firstly, we aim to strengthen the capacity of the Aurora associate partner universities for academic excellence and societal relevance. Secondly, we support them in establishing themselves as regional hubs for sharing best practices.

Bringing together a group of 30 participants, mainly from the University of Tetova and South-West University “Neofit Rilski”, the Aurora Ohrid Staff Training marks a significant step towards fostering cross-cultural educational collaboration. Led by COIL-expert Marina Vives from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, the workshop provided the participating academics deep dive into the utilization of COIL, opening the doors to internationalize their curriculum together with other Aurora universities.

The training started with an icebreaker exercise, an important best practice when setting up a COIL. Then, Marina introduced the participants to the concept of COIL, and shared more best practices. The participants where then divided in groups and encouraged to start working on a COIL-course themselves. In a short time, the participants made promising, interdisciplinary COIL course concepts. The participants were excited to develop these concepts further and put them into practice.

Preceded by meetings between Aurora representatives and the management of the University of Tetova, the event set the stage for future collaborations. The staff training event empowered our associate partners to unlock their international potential through COIL. Through that, they will be able to further develop the internationalization of their institutions.

Aurora Newsletter – March 2024

Last week, Aurora published its first newsletter of 2024. The newsletter features a wide variety of news and community updates. It includes an interview with UP student Hanus Patera, who has been serving as Aurora Student Council president since July 2023. 

You can read back the Aurora March 2024 Newsletter here

Sign up for the newsletter here, so you are among the first the receive Aurora updates!

Also, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, if you have not done so already!


Save the date: International Conference on ‘The Role of Higher Education in Peacebuilding’

The Aurora Karazin University Peace Education Hub invites you to a 5-day International Conference on ‘The Role of Higher Education in Peacebuilding’ hosted by the Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Innsbruck, from the 17th to 21st of February 2025.

This conference aims to bring together international experts – both academics and practitioners in the peacebuilding sector – with higher education policymakers from the Aurora Universities Alliance and its partners, to discuss how the higher education institutions in Ukraine and elsewhere can become a driver of peace and sustainable development.

More information, including the call for papers will be announced soon! 



Elevate your conversations about science with our Science Communication Training at AFO!

During AFO, you are invited to two enganging sessions on science communication! Join us at Fort Science, as Anna Aris and Sem Barendse of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam lead help you improve your science communication skills! 

The first of these sessions, The Art of Dialogue: Improve Your Communication and Facilitation Skills, will take place on 23 April 2024 from13:00 to17:00. It will allow you to discover the openness and humility of a dialogue attitude. With the help of playful improvisation and theatre techniques, you develop dialogue skills to enhance your conversations about science. This includes active listening, perspective taking and co-creating new ideas. The first step is to learn how to participate in meaningful conversations. The next step: design and facilitate dialogue yourself!

Register here for The Art of Dialogue: Improve Your Communication and Facilitation Skills

On the 24th of April, from 9:00 to12:00, join us for the second session:  Science Communication Under Pressure: Scientists’ Survival Guide for the Public Arena. Here, we will focuss on what happens when you enter the public arena as a scientist and how to deal with value-driven discussions, strong reactions, or distrust.  In this workshop, we will explore the possibility of dialogue to engage in meaningful conversations authentically and effectively.

Register here for Science Communication Under Pressure: Scientists’ Survival Guide for the Public Arena


These Trainings are intended for PhD and MSc students, as well as academics and researchers.

This event is organised in the framework of the Aurora Research & Innovation for Societal Impact project (Aurora RI) and its Citizen Science thematic module in cooperation with Fortress Science Olomouc and Academia Film Olomouc.

Call for Incentive Research Collaboration

To foster tangible scientific and academic collaboration, this call aims to promote cooperation between researchers, and create new or consolidate existing scientific relationships. Its vision is to build robust scientific communities among the Aurora universities and raise awareness about Aurora on a broader academic level. This call will be repeated on an annual basis for at least four years and supports three key actions: 

Incentive and Collaborative Research Projects

This action supports concrete exploratory research activities by research teams with single or multiple disciplines that put forward the complementarity of competences and approaches.

Thematic Summer Schools

This action supports the organisation of thematic summer schools focused on disciplinary training for early-stage researchers and serves as opportunities for career development, knowledge sharing, and network/community-building.

Short-term Research Secondments for Early-stage Researchers

This action supports short-term mobility in a research laboratory or unit of an Aurora 2030 full-member university.

Submission Process

To submit a proposal for the three key actions, please read the Call for Incentive Research Collaboration and fill out the respective forms listed below: 

Once completed, please e-mail the application to with the subject: Submission to Aurora Research 2024 Call_(Name of Principal Investigator)_(University of Principal Investigator). File name: Proposal KA (1,2, or 3)_Name (Principal Investigator)-University (of Principal Investigator)_(project acronym).

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 12 p.m. (CET) on April 30, 2024.

Karazin University Support

Karazin University Support

V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University has been participating in the Aurora Capacity Development Programme since the Aurora Alliance’s establishment in November 2020. This activity aims to reduce disparities between the research-leading and research-emerging countries in Europe by assisting universities in Central-Eastern Europe to develop their institutional capacity for academic excellence and societal relevance.

With the Russian Federation’s sudden invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the war that followed with various consequences for Ukrainian society, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University became directly affected and in need of comprehensive institutional support. In February 2022 Aurora Alliance universities responded by organising an immediate humanitarian response focusing on establishing the coordinated alliance-wide approach:

  • Solidarity actions: The Aurora universities’ leaders condemned the invasion and expressed letters of support and solidarity with Karazin University leaders underlining an explicit wish to – now and in the future – continue to offer any institutional support that we as an Alliance can provide.
  • Karazin University Rector nominated the Aurora CDS program leader as Karazin Support Coordinator.
  • Since March 2022, the Karazin Support Coordinator in close collaboration with Karazin’s leadership has been fully managing the emergency response as well as designing and implementing the long-term, systemic and institutional support for this partner university in Ukraine.
  • Aurora’s unique CDS programme in Central & Eastern Europe was then transformed into a tailormade support scheme to address the needs of the war-affected Karazin University.

As a result of this coordinated approach and alliance-wide efforts, the following key actions havebeen implemented so far that can be shared as best practices:

  • Protection of Aurora Karazin Colleagues – relocating staff to safety
  • Karazin Donations Fund – Urgent and targeted fundraising to address institutional needs
  • Support Action Plan – jointly devised long-term and structural support plan

Support Action Plan

Our Aurora Karazin University support action plan features seven key actions. 

  1. Whole of Alliance approach – Coordination
  2. Addressing urgent needs- Targeted Fund Raising and saving lives
  3. Structural and Systemic Approach – Support Action Plan
  4. Saving lives and livelihoods & supporting crises management
  5. Continued support to education in exile and capacity building training – International Summer School: Refugee Law & Rights
  6. Creating Karazin Peace Education Hub in Aurora 2030
  7. Inclusion of Karazin University in other Aurora projects

More detail on these actions can be found here.

PDF | Aurora Statement on Strategic Partnerships between European and Ukrainian Universities

Aurora Student Schemes 2023/2024

Do you want to broaden your horizons? Are you looking to meet students from all over Europe and develop your personal Schemes? 

In that case the Aurora Student Ambassador or Students Champion programme is perfect for you. 

Sign up before December 31st and participate in the activities stretching from January to June 2024. 

Lucky participants will be invited to participate in the Aurora Student Conference in Tarragona, Spain in February. 

1. Student Ambassador

If you want to be a part of an international community of students, the role of Aurora Student Ambassador will be perfect for you.

In this role, you will be given the opportunity to take part in a variety of online and in-person events, together with students from across all Aurora Universities.

You will be offered several international workshops that will boost you personal and professional development.

Your journey as Aurora Ambassador will start at the Aurora Student Conference, where you will learn everything about Aurora, and meet peers from across the world.

2. Student Champion

This role is created specifically for students that want to go the extra mile. Building on what your learned during the Aurora Student Conference, you will directly work on the key Aurora topics, in addition to the joint activities provided to Aurora Student Ambassadors

Students that amass at least 15 hours of combined participation in the joint program and the working groups will be given the certificate of Aurora Student Champion.


Sign up using the link below to gain acces to all the opportunities Aurora has to offer.

Aurora’s MoU on Sharing Infrastructure and Resources paves the way for research collaboration

On October 17th, the signing of the Aurora Research Infrastructure and Resources Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was one of the highlights of the Aurora Fall Biannual 2023. Thirteen Aurora universities, including the Aurora Associate partners and the Université Paris-Est Créteil, signed under this significant commitment to research collaboration within the Aurora Alliance.

The MoU serves a clear purpose and has two main objectives. Firstly, the MoU defines the intentions of partner universities to collaborate in research cooperation, focusing on Aurora’s mission and pilot domains. It aims to provide researchers within the alliance access to shared resources at partner institutions. 

Secondly, by working closely together, these universities will bolster their global research standing. They will promote international cooperation across diverse research areas and share research resources and data with research groups.







For those interested in exploring the MoU in detail, a publicly accessible version is available on the official Aurora website. This document showcases the commitment of universities to research collaboration and global knowledge sharing. 

Access the MoU

Aurora welcomes its universities to contribute their research infrastructure resources. By sharing resources and knowledge, you not only enrich your institution but also engage with a global community of research excellence. 

Ready to join this collaborative effort? Add your research infrastructure resources here.