European universities' alliance COVID-19 Policy Commission launch

EUniWell PC 720
EUniWell has launched its well-being Policy Commission

Experts from a group of top European universities are launching a Policy Commission that aims to improve the well-being of people across Europe and beyond living under the shadow of the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers from the European University of Well-being (EUniWell) will kick-start the 6-month commission with a live one and a half-hour webinar at 14.00 CEST on Wednesday 17 June, featuring experts from three partner institutions discussing ‘Well-being in a COVID World’. The event will be chaired by Stefano Manservisi, former Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.

People across Europe and the globe are welcome to register to attend the panel discussion and Q&A. 

The event will feature discussion of how EUniWell can help to boost people’s well-being from an expert panel featuring:

  • Christiane Woopen, Professor for Ethics and Theory of Medicine at the University of Cologne, in Germany.
  • Arnold Tukker, Professor of Industrial Ecology and Director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences, at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands.
  • Matthew Broome, Professor of Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, in the UK.
  • Judith Barth, EUniWell Chief Student Officer, and student at the University of Cologne.

After a brief introduction to EUniWell by Beatrix Busse, Vice-Rector for Teaching and Studies from the University of Cologne, Pro-Vice-Chancellor International Robin Mason from the University of Birmingham will introduce the EUniWell Policy Commission series. Following this, Stefano Manservisi will chair the panel discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to put questions to the panel towards the end of the event.

EUniWell unites seven top European universities to create research, teaching and policy development partnerships involving 244,000 students and 36,500 staff. Its focus is well-being, supporting individual, social and environmental well-being in a global setting.

Announcing the Policy Commission, leaders* of the Universities of Birmingham, Firenze, Köln, Leiden, Linnaeus, Nantes and Semmelweis commented: “The challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses give EUniWell’s mission – to understand, measure, rebalance and improve the well-being of individuals, communities, and society – new urgency.

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The EUniWell Policy Commission will bring together experts and interested parties to shape a multi-faceted approach and methodology to well-being in a COVID world. The Commission will scope the issue and produce recommendations for policy change - considering evidence from a range of organisations, experts and interests, as well as drawing on relevant research from within EUniWell.

EUniWell has identified four key areas for research and teaching, closely linked to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in which the partner universities have strong expertise:

  • Well-Being & Health (SDG 3, Good Health & Well-Being)
  • Individual & Social Well-Being (SDG 16, Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions)
  • Environment, Urbanity & Well-Being (SDG 11, Sustainable Cities & Communities)
  • Teacher Education (SDG 4, Quality Education)

The alliance will support learning at all ages - for university students, life-long learners and their teachers, fostering equality and diversity. Students are the heart of the collaboration and involved in all aspects of its work, including governance. Partner universities will train the next generation of Europeans, enabling scientific breakthroughs and successful knowledge transfer to benefit society.

*EUniWell leaders:
Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Birmingham, UK.
Professor Luigi Dei, Rector, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy.
Professor Axel Freimuth, Rector, Universität zu Köln, Germany.
Professor Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus and President, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands.
Professor Peter Aronsson, Vice-Chancellor, Linnaeus University, Sweden.
Professor Olivier Laboux, President, Université de Nantes, France.
Professor Béla Merkely, Rector, Semmelweis University, Hungary.

Notes to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165. 
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions and is a member of the UK’s Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham: leading researchers and teachers and more than 8,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The University of Florence is one of the most important Italian public comprehensive universities with a strong international vocation and a large number of “departments of excellence”. It is a top destination in Europe for Erasmus and has a particularly high number of enrolled international students. Unifi has over 400 cooperation agreements with universities and research centres in 89 different countries and a unique cooperation with the study abroad programme of Stanford, NYU, Syracuse and many of the other 43 US programmes in Florence.
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  • Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities. It has seven faculties in the arts, humanities and sciences, spread over locations in Leiden and The Hague including the largest bio-science park in the Netherlands with a unique innovative ecosystem. Leiden University is ranked amongst the top 100 universities and listed 38 in THEs most international universities ranking. Leiden University is member of the League of European Research Universities – LERU.
  • Linnaeus University is Sweden’s sixth largest university in terms of number of students, with some 600 partner universities in more than 80 countries. Its nationally and internationally prominent research covers a wide range of disciplines with a number of cutting-edge research environments from ecology and evolution to discrimination and integration, postcolonialism, intermediality, bioscience, and big data.
  • The University of Nantes is a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary university with 20 faculties in technology, humanities and sciences. It has a strong focus on excellence in teaching and research and two fields of priority in health and industry of the future. Nantes University is ranked amongst the top 200 universities that contribute the most actively to sustainable development objectives addressed by the United Nations (THE university impact rankings) and amongst the top 100 Reuters ranking for Europe most innovative universities.
  • Based in Budapest, Hungary, Semmelweis University has been a leading biomedical institution of higher education in Hungary and Central Europe for the last 250 years. The university is committed to providing world renowned education programmes based on its three pillar mission of education, research and innovation, and health care. A truly international community, university students come from more than 70 different countries, and the international student body accounts for nearly a third of the almost 11,000 students studying at the university’s six faculties.