Innsbruck becomes a member of EUniverCities

Deputy Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer, Mayor Georg Willi and Rector Tilmann Märk (Credit: IKM/Steinacker)The City of Innsbruck and the University of Innsbruck joined the EUniverCites Network at the end of 2018.  Mayor Georg Willi and Rector Tilmann Märk signed the declaration of accession to the EUniverCities Network in the presence of Deputy Mayor Christine Oppitz-Plörer. As the 14th member, Innsbruck will in future network with partners such as Parma, Ghent, Trondheim and Lausanne in order to better address the challenges of European universities.

Innsbruck is the frontrunner among the Austrian university cities with a student share of over 25 percent of the total population – 80% of which are enrolled at the University of Innsbruck. With 28,000 students and almost 5,000 employees, the University of Innsbruck has been shaping the development of city life for 350 years and is not only an important economic factor, but also makes a significant contribution to the intellectual and cultural diversity of the provincial capital.

Closer cooperation

For Mayor Georg Willi, Innsbruck’s membership reflects the great importance of the universities for Innsbruck: “Our city is strongly influenced by its students, which is reflected in issues such as urban development, student housing and mobility. Other city administrations are also familiar with these opportunities and often challenges. We are therefore looking forward to even closer cooperation with our university, whose students give our city a youthful face.”

Rector Tilmann Märk is pleased about the now stronger institutionalised exchange between the city and the university within the framework of the EUniverCities network: “For the University of Innsbruck, working in and with the city is of central importance – be it in research, teaching, knowledge transfer or the exchange with society. The joint activity as a ‘tandem’ in the EUniverCities Network will help to deepen cooperation at different levels and to learn from other European universities and cities with similar frameworks”. The EU-Smart Cities project SINFONIA, for example, is already a successful example of the cooperation between the city and the university in the field of research. Within the framework of SINFONIA, the energy demand and CO² emissions of the provincial capital Innsbruck are to be successively reduced through redevelopments and innovative energy concepts. The building of the “bilding Kunst- und Architekturschule” in Rapoldipark, which was developed by students and representatives of the Faculty of Architecture and sponsored by the city, was the result of a teaching project. But the University of Innsbruck also contributes its expertise to cultural activities, such as the annual city initiative “Innsbruck reads”. “The EUniverCities Network should help us to better structure our cooperation, make our successes more visible and raise further potential. For we can only meet the great challenges of the future together and in an interdisciplinary manner,” emphasises Märk.

European networking concept

Deputy Mayor Oppitz-Plörer, who is also responsible for the European agendas in addition to university and (technical) university affairs, emphasises the networking concept of EUniverCities: “I am sure that this exchange of experience and knowledge will benefit all members and that Innsbruck will strengthen its profile as a science location within Europe.

The network’s central exchange platform are the twice-yearly networking meetings dedicated to a topic chosen by the host city. In this way, cities and universities can identify a topic relevant to them, exchange best practices and develop possible development scenarios together with their European partners. Sub-working groups on special topics, such as internationalisation, complement the activities of the network. “We would of course be delighted to welcome our European partners to Innsbruck in the future in order to present them with our unique environment between urbanity and nature, but also to discuss the associated challenges, for example in the field of urban development,” the undersigned concluded.

About the EUniverCities Network

The EUniverCities Network was established in Ghent (Belgium) in 2012. Currently, cities and universities from 13 different European countries belong to the network: Aalborg (Denmark), Aveiro (Portugal), Exeter (United Kingdom), Ghent (Belgium), Lausanne (Switzerland), Linköping (Sweden), Lublin (Poland), Magdeburg (Germany), Malaga (Spain), Norrköping (Sweden), Parma (Italy), Tampere (Finland) and Trondheim (Norway). 

 

Credit: University of Innsbruck ( http://www.uibk.ac.at/newsroom/innsbruck-wird-mitglied-von-eunivercities.html.de)
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