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.

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! 



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’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.


Looking back at the Aurora Fall Biannual 2023

Last month, Palacký University Olomouc hosted the Aurora Fall Biannual 2023 on October 17th and 18th for in Olomouc, Czechia. The event brought together over 200 participants hailing from 18 universities from within the Aurora community and beyond.

Watch the Aurora Fall Biannual aftermovie

The Aurora Fall Biannual focused on taking stock of Aurora’s achievements as part of the European Universities initiative.

These European developments took center stage in the plenary sessions and panels:

  1. Aurora Pilot Phase: Aurora Model Alliance?
  2. The impact and role of European Universities on future of Higher Education in Europe
  3. Alliance Exchange – Balancing Education, Research Innovation and Social Responsibility
  4. Toward student-centered European University Alliances

Aurora’s commitment to sustainability was also highlighted during the event, with an opening presentation and plenary session dedicated to Aurora’s work on making our community greener and more sustainable.

Collaboration within Aurora was further strengthened by the momentous singing of a Memorandum of understanding on the sharing of research infrastructure, as well as the signing of the second version of the Multilateral Aurora Mobility Agreement (MAMA).







Next to the retrospective of Aurora’s remarkable accomplishments, the Aurora community came together to look forward to the exciting prospects that lie ahead.Participants also engaged in thought-provoking Thematic sessions on prominent Aurora topics suchs as COIL, the Aurora Competence Framework, and Technology Transfer.  

Want to relive the biannual or catch up on any sessions you missed? You can watch back the recordings of the plenary sessions below:

🎥 17/10/2023 –  Day 1

🎥 18/10/2023 –  Day 2

You can find a selection of photos below, the full photo gallery of the biannual can be downloaded here.

Aurora’s European University programme secured continued funding

Aurora’s European University programme secured continued funding

Palacký University Olomouc is delighted to announce that the Aurora European University programme has secured a second round of funding under the 2023 European Universities Initiative Call by the European Commission. This ensures that Aurora can deepen its existing cooperation and continue its mission in higher education transformation.

Michal Malacka, Vice-rector for strategy and external relations commented that: “Aurora’s successful continuation to the next phase is a great achievement of the entire Aurora team and community. It is also a great reward to a hard-working Aurora team at UP, and we are excited to continue building our European University with 8 excellent strategic partners.  For UP, Aurora ensures important partaking in the European higher education developments.”

The upcoming Aurora 2030 consortium, led by the University of Iceland, has been granted funding for a four-year period. This programme, which received 90/100 evaluative points from the Commission, builds on the significant progress made during the 2020-2023 pilot phase. Aurora President Jon Atli Benediktsson joyously shares:

“I am delighted that Aurora 2030 has been awarded a four-year continuation grant by the European Commission. This is a strong vote of confidence in Aurora’s mission to equip students with the skills and mindsets needed to address societal challenges. This new grant will allow us to continue working closely with our partners across Europe and beyond.”

The new programme will feature both a continuation of existing, as well as completely new Aurora activities. UP has significantly increased the role it will play in this new programme, with UP Aurora Institutional Coordinator, Selma Porobic commenting:

“I am very pleased to announce that UP has increased its leadership in a number of activities in the next Aurora programme, including Capacity Building and Community Engagement Work focusing on CEE countries and Ukraine, Engaging Regional Ecosystems and Stakeholders, Aurora Sustainable Campus, Aurora Student Community, and overall Sustainability of Aliance 2030+. We have also secured co-leadership in Education for Sustainable Devlopment, Innovative pedagogies, Academic collaboration, Social entrepreneurship and Innovation, Communication and dissemination, as well as Student services.”

More information on Aurora’s goals and priorities for this renewed commitment can be found here.

The Czech National Agency for international education, Dům zahraniční spolupráce, was also happy to congratulate UP being among the select Czech universities awarded continued support by the commission. They provided an overview of continuing and newly funded European University Alliances with Czech members here.  

About Aurora
The Aurora 2030 consortium comprises the University of Iceland (UIce), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA), University of Innsbruck (UIBK), University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Palacký University Olomouc (UP), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), Université Paris Est Creteil (UPEC), and the University of Napoli Federico II (UNINA) as well as seven associated academic and non-academic partners including University of East Anglia (UEA), South-West University “Neofit Rilski” (SWUNR), Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice (UPJSK), the University of Tetova (UT), Kharkiv National University, European Forum Alpbach, Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence (CIMEA) who together span 13 countries.


Join the Aurora Alliance CDS Network of Universities

Aurora Alliance consists of nine research-intensive universities in the EU, working together towards the long term vision of building the universities of the future. Aurora Alliance Capacity Development Support Programme (CDS) is specially designed to help reduce the disparities between the research-leading and research-emerging countries in Europe by assisting universities in Central-Eastern Europe and Neighboring Countries to develop their institutional capacity for academic excellence and societal relevance. The expected outcomes are to spread the Aurora Alliance principles, values, skills, working processes and practical learnings to some 30 target universities in Europe and beyond. 

To this end, Aurora Capacity Development Support Network of Universities (CDS Network of Universities) is being set up, with the purpose to articulate and strengthen the collaboration in supporting universities that are interested in the same objectives as Aurora Alliance member universities: in equipping diverse student populations with the skills and mind-set to address societal challenges as social entrepreneurs and innovators; in engaging with students and stakeholders at regional, national, European and global level; and in making our universities sustainable organisations.

The purpose of the Network is the following:

  • To support members in developing /sharing expertise in the areas connected to the Aurora objectives
  • To support members in applying this expertise to improve their universities’ practice in meeting its vision & mission
  • To strengthen cross-European (including neighbouring countries) links between higher education institutions and decrease the gap between regions with leading and emergent universities
  • In observing the above stated to contribute to the European Research Area and Europeans Education Area objectives towards a prosperous and harmonious Europe

The Aurora CDS Network of Universities currently consists of:

Six Aurora Alliance member universities: Palacky University Olomouc (Czech Republic);Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Netherlands); University Duisburg-Essen (Germany); University of Naples Federico II (Italy); Copenhagen Business School (Denmark);  University of Innsbruck (Austria)

Four Associate Partner universities of the Aurora Alliance: Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice (Slovakia); South-West University “Neofit Rilski” (Bulgaria); University of Tetova (N.Macedonia); V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (Ukraine);


We are now looking for additional collaborating universities! 

How to Join the Network – Criteria and Selection Procedure

The Aurora CDS Network of Universities is an inclusive platform for universities that want to work with Aurora’s common objectives. Applicant universities should freely express interest in the Aurora Alliance CDS mission as described in the Introduction section of this document by submitting a Letter of Intent and a University Fact Sheet to Selma Porobic via email at

The criteria for joining us are the following:

  • Applicant universities show an understanding of the key objectives of the Aurora Alliance programme and are interested to further at least some of these objectives at their institutions  
  • Applicant universities express willingness to invest time and bring their resources and expertise to the collaboration
  • Applicants are made aware of external funding needed for collaboration activities developing in the Network

Applicants will be assessed on a rolling basis 2021-2023 by the CDS Task Team, led by Palacky University Olomouc with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as co-lead. In the assessment, the opinion of the Associate Partners will be sought. 


What We Offer – Network Programme

During the 2021-2023 period of collaboration, we focus our exchanges on awareness-raising training events and projects developed together focusing: 


  • Virtual Mobility/Internationalization at home 
  • Co-creation and Service Learning
  • Inclusive, Equal and Diverse Education
  • Academic Competence Skill in Social Entrepreneurship.

The continued programme and activates of the Network will be a subject of evolving collaboration and co-sharing of interests in the internationalisation of higher education. 


Cooperation Arrangement

There will be no legally binding duties between the members as a result of entering into the Network collaboration. Any bilateral agreements between the Network universities are subject to the inter-institutional arrangements and internal institutional regulations and policy in international cooperation.


For more information on Aurora Alliance and CDS programme visit:  and

UP and Aurora moving forward with the European University initiative

Palacký University Olomouc is happy to announce that the Aurora Alliance submitted its new proposal under the European Universities Erasmus + Call, for the intensification of prior deep institutional cooperation aiming at the systemic change of European Higher Education.

By setting innovative and diverse models of long-term institutionalized cooperation between higher education institutions across Europe, the European Universities initiative supports higher education institutions to achieve greater quality, performance, attractiveness and international competitiveness. It also promotes European values and a strengthen European identity.

In the next programme phase, from 2024-2028, the Aurora Alliance will be led by the University of Iceland and will welcome the University of Paris-Est Creteil as a full member, replacing the University of East Anglia, who will continue as an associate partner.  

The new bid will extend Aurora’s commitment to positively impact society through its main priorities: teaching and learning for societal impact, engaging and collaborating through inclusive communities, being pioneers in sustainable endeavours, and providing excellent challenge-based research and innovation support.

Together, the 9 Aurora partners will continue to deliver on the joint mission and vision of equipping students with social entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, building on the results achieved in the first phase.

The activities of the new proposal were written over the course of the last six months in a close collaboration with of the experts in the field from across 9 universities, the Institutional Coordinators and the Aurora Central Office in Amsterdam. It has three main objectives:

  1. Equip students and staff with the skills and mindset to become social innovators, changemakers and entrepreneurs;
  2. Foster academic collaboration and community building to establish a long-term Aurora identity; and
  3. Collaborate with external stakeholders and deepen student’s engagement in education, research and outreach.

Mirjam van Praag, President of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said:

So far, it has been a pleasure to lead the alliance through the start-up phase of the first bid with various initiatives for Aurora staff and students that we really can be proud of. I am very confident in continuing our collaboration with the University of Iceland as the lead.”

Jón Atli Benediktsson, President of the University of Iceland and newly re-elected President of the Aurora, expressed how pleased he was:

“After seeing the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at our universities, I am confident that the Aurora collaboration will grow and create more opportunities for our students, faculty, and the greater community”.

From 2020-2023, Aurora has been part of the 44 European University Alliances co-funded under the Erasmus+ programme led by VU Amsterdam. The current call, for both new and the continuation of existing alliances, attracted a total of 65 proposals, gathering around 500 higher education institutions as full partners. More information can be found here.