In 2019 we joined a new network of like-minded universities located across Europe to empower cutting-edge research, education and training in the area of well-being. EUniWell unites 255,000 students and 44,000 staff from the Universities of Birmingham, Firenze, Köln, Leiden, Linnaeus, Nantes and Semmelweis with 102 associate partners drawn from seven regions of Europe.
We are collaborating with colleagues across the EUniWell alliance to develop brand new opportunities for students, researchers and professional services staff to work together across borders, and across disciplines.
For further information, please visit the EUniWell website.
Extending well-being is a cornerstone of the European Union and a core priority and policy objective for our seven European regions. The European University of Well-Being – EUniWell – has come together in response to the Council of Europe’s invitation for member states to pursue a horizontal, cross-sectoral, knowledge-based approach to advance the ‘Economy of Wellbeing’ (24 October 2019).
The alliance provides a distinctive institutional framework for pan-European engagement that will have a transformative effect on all of our campuses and deliver meaningful and sustainable change to the well-being of our staff, students, and societies. We present an action-oriented response to well-being, grounded in research expertise, educational leadership and civic engagement to meet the challenge set out by the Council of the European Union and the OECD.
EUniWell addresses well-being across four interdisciplinary research arenas aligned with OECD and Council priority areas, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): i) health, ii) individual and social well-being, iii) environment iv) and teacher education. The complex well-being challenges captured in these areas cut across subject boundaries and require novel interdisciplinary solutions. EUniWell’s research arenas will therefore create cross-campus platforms bringing together students, academics, policy makers and industry to radically renew the research-education-transfer nexus and boost cutting-edge, inter- and trans-disciplinary research collaboration related to well-being. EUniWell will play a critical, intermediary role in shaping research-based policy and pedagogy to inform decision-making, underpin skills development, and realise a measurable impact on European citizens’ quality of life.
EUniWell has identified four thematic key arenas for research and teaching. These are closely linked to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which we have strong expertise:
Well-being and Health (linked to SDG 3, Good Health and Well-being)
Physical and mental health matter most to well-being. Health research is a major strength of all EUniWell partners. Thus, this arena builds on our existing strengths in research which allows for a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling the challenges connected to health and well-being.
- Researchers from medicine, life sciences, social sciences, law, ethics, economics, governance and computer science join forces for research, education and for generating societal impact.
- EUniWell develops educational programmes that create a new generation of health care professionals acquiring the necessary competencies to face the needs of a diverse and aging society.
- We generate change for health promotion through co-creation of citizens, students, researchers, and professionals from the health care sector. Moreover, the health of an individual and population should not only be encouraged through the health care system, but also through an individual’s opportunities to adapt to their situation. We therefore aim to improve the possibilities of citizens to become self-supporting in their health and disease management issues by supporting health literacy.
- AI and digitisation are a cross-thematic topic in this arena, providing unique opportunities and methods for research and influencing the way that well-being and health can be supported. Furthermore, e-health can provide structures and platforms that allow society to improve the possibilities of citizens to become self-supporting in their health- and disease-management issues.
Individual and Social Well-being (linked to SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions)
Individual and social well-being depends crucially on the societies we create. In line with the UN SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, arena 2 focuses on human rights, citizenship and security, peace as well as on challenges to well-being in a global setting.
- This arena offers the crucial legal, humanities and social sciences perspective to EUniWell’s overarching vision on well-being. Well-being should not only be seen in terms of “health” or “happiness”, but also as a comprehensive approach at individual, local, national, European and global levels towards facilitating human flourishing and minimising the conditions for threats to human security.
- This comprehensive understanding of well-being also follows the quest for tackling systemic and structural societal frustrations and unhappiness linked to the political climates of populist anger.
- Both the challenges and opportunities connected with AI and digitisation are being addressed also from the perspective of this arena.
- Furthermore, there are shared topics with arena 3 (Environment, Urbanity and Well-Being), such as creating and preserving livable, safe, and sustainable environments, which are being examined in collaboration between the arenas.
Environment, Urbanity and Well-being (linked to SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities)
In this arena, researchers and students from engineering, the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences join forces to address the challenges of climate change and climate protection to create sustainable, safe, and inclusive environments. These are key components to support individual, social, and planetary well-being and are being translated into a series of common research and educational projects.
- The first focus of this arena is on questions related to climate change and protection from the perspective of well-being. Bundling together the research expertise of all EUniWell partners and oriented towards SDGs, it addresses key climate-related topics such as water and air pollution, cloud observatories, and also the role of specific landscapes such as the Arctic, deserts or the Baltic Sea as well as research from economics and the social sciences on how to incentive climate protection.
- The second focus of this arena is the urban environment from the perspective of well-being. More than half of the world population lives in cities and this portion is still increasing. As Europe and the world continue to urbanise, future challenges for sustainable development and human well-being will be increasingly concentrated in cities. According to the UN, there is a need for integrated policies to improve the lives of urban dwellers. This is clearly expressed in the eleventh SDG, which is focused on making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
- On the basis of our joined research strength, this arena takes a global approach with a focus on Africa and the global south.
Teacher Education (linked to SDG 4, Quality Education)
The education and training of our future school teachers is one of the pressing social challenges nationally, for Europe and the world. The profession of a school teacher represents the avantgarde in our digital knowledge society with a societal responsibility and the need for excellent training of an unprecedented degree in a complex digitised, diverse, mobile, multicultural and multilingual Europe.
- About 20,000 students within EUniWell are aiming to become school teachers and we will position EUniWell as a worldwide leader in teacher education. We also aim to foster international mobility of pre-service teachers and the connection of theory and practice (with regard to real-world challenges in school and society) within our European University.
- EUniWell develops a common framework of learning outcomes for European Teacher Education. An important dimension of this framework is training to address perceptions, motivation, and development of children from under-represented backgrounds to support them in pursuing higher-education studies.
- As a consortium, we foster international mobility of pre-service teachers and the connection of theory and practice with regard to real-world challenges in school and in society, e.g. by piloting and then realising internships at European schools within the EUniWell sphere.
- EUniWell aims to enhance well-being and mental health of student teachers and the acquisition of skills in self-care, e g. by joint design and implementation of online material for developing coping mechanisms for stress reduction in university and in the inductive teacher phase to prepare student teachers for their working life.
Transversal themes (SDG 5, Gender Equality and SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities)
We furthermore take into account two transversal SDGs that reinforce all four arenas: Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10).
Our arenas are flexible, dynamic inter- and transdisciplinary research platforms across our European campus:
- They group together departments and services across our alliance and across all three core performance levels – teaching, research, and transfer.
- They contain virtual and physical elements and the potential for constant reorientation, reform and renewal.
- They also develop inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and methods, learn from each other, test and implement educational mobility and impact on and with society.
- They realise research- and challenge-based as well as entrepreneurial education and training at BA-, MA- and PhD-levels.