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LIT joins “Champions League” of European Higher Education Institutions


15 December 2020

Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) has been granted European University status by the European Commission.
The Regional University Network - European University (RUN-EU), a collaborative network with eight higher education institutions including LIT and its Technological University consortium partner AIT, was officially launched on November 25, 2020, just weeks after the AIT-LIT Consortium also submitted its application for Technological University status.
In addition to Ireland, RUN-EU is composed of institutions in Austria, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Portugal, all of which are focused on regional development, research and education.
RUN-EU European University strives to promote excellence and innovation in higher education, provide advanced learning and innovation tools, improve the national and international competitiveness of the associated regions, strive to ensure sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental progress, and become a true engine of regional development.
RUN-EU has planned an extensive programme for the next three years, which will include immersion experiences of 1,615 students and 686 international exchanges for teachers, and researchers and staff will promote pedagogical development activities through research and the sharing of good practices. 
With a total funding of more than €6 million, the RUN-EU is 80% financed by the European Commission and consists of eight partner institutions made up of the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and the Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), from Ireland; the Polytechnic of Leiria and the Polytechnic of Cávado e Ave, from Portugal; the Széchenyi István University (SZE), from Hungary; the Häme University of Applied Sciences HAMK, Finland; the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, from the Netherlands; and FH Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences, Austria.
The first phase of the RUN European University which was launched on November 25 outlined immediate plans for exchange of students and professionals, and the creation of more than 80 international advanced courses.
In the next three years, RUN-EU will also create 24 European dual and joint degree programmes at bachelors, master's and doctoral levels. It is also planned to promote international research and development projects, through the RUN-EU Discovery program, which will involve the mobility of 72 students and 96 researchers in the context of international immersion for researchers. The work plan also includes an annual International Student Weeks, which will bring together 120 students from all institutions to participate in various programmes and courses and contribute to the discussion on the future of RUN-EU and the European Education Area.
“Belonging to RUN-EU is not only part of a “Champions League” of European higher education institutions, but also an important strategy for the development of Higher Education and Research and Innovation in the European Union,” explained the Proctor of RUN-EU and President of the Polytechnic of Leiria - Portugal, Rui Pedrosa.
Speaking at the inaugural RUN-EU meeting Professor Cunnane shared his views on the impact the network will have on institutions, students and researchers, and on all employees.
"The success of RUN-EU represents a new direction for Higher Education in Europe. The European University will allow our students to have access to unique programmes and activities, something that is to the core of LIT’s values and ethos,” he told the meeting.
Representing the Irish Government, the Minister of State for Skills and Higher Education, Niall Collins, stressed the importance of the alliance for “the advancement and growth of higher education, especially at the regional level, which is a key government commitment and objective Irish and other European governments.”