Places are filling up fast on some of the most popular workshops and masterclasses for EUPRIO’s 2017 annual conference in Mannheim, with the maximum number of participants limited to 40 per workshop or lecture.
The event’s theme is Networking for a better future: Universities, Cities, Companies and Regions and speakers from all over Europe will be sharing examples of best practice in how universities can effectively network with society for mutual benefit.
Here Nic Mitchell looks at some of the sessions on offer to help your selection.
Fundraising is one of the more obvious and direct ways universities gain advantages from networking with their former students and society at large, including the business community.
Despite being an essential component of the most successful universities in some countries, notably in the United States, alumni relations and fundraising are still in their infancy in many European countries.
But things are changing and Anna Mundell will be leading a masterclass (Friday June 30) to explain what good alumni engagement and fundraising looks like.
Italian-born Anna gained first-hand experience through a long tenure in the USA and has over 20 years of consulting experience in higher education. She is currently resident Director of the Development and Alumni Division at the internationally oriented Bocconi University in Milan.
Her role includes leading the first ever fundraising campaign for an Italian university, aiming to raise €120 million by 2020.
She says: “Bocconi is looking to change the culture among alumni, companies and foundations on the importance of supporting education and thus paving the way for other universities to engage in relevant and impactful alumni and philanthropic work.”
Her presentation is aimed at those who intend to play a leading role in establishing or strengthening alumni engagement and fundraising programmes at their institutions, and for whom development has become a strategic priority. It will look at successful case studies from around the world – but the emphasis will be on what is most likely to work in a European setting.
Lessons from Mannheim
Staying on the theme of fundraising, Katja Bär from the university hosting #EUPRIO17 will lead a workshop (Saturday July 1) reflecting on her career in development: from her early experience as a volunteer in Cambridge University while studying Classics to working as coordinator of the 100th anniversary celebrations of Mannheim University.
Now Mannheim’s Director of Communications & Fundraising, Katja has established a university foundation to improve quality and leadership in the institution’s fundraising.
Her first major giving campaign raised €13 million to renovate lecture rooms and the enormous palace at the centre of Mannheim’s campus – the venue for EUPRIO’s conference.
Now the German university is the middle of a second major campaign, this time to raise €100 million in ten years. The workshop will give essential lessons for fundraising and describe how the new capital campaign started without a budget and only using volunteers. It has raised €17 million so far and enabled a new research institute to be built plus a new Masters programme and established a new social scholarship.
Town and gown
Networking between universities and their town, city or regional location comes under the microscope in a number of workshops at #EUPRIO17.
Michelle Ní Chróinín from National University of Ireland Galway on the Atlantic edge of Europe will discuss how her university influences and in turn responds to the needs of its local community in the Connemara Gaeltacht (native Irish speaking region).
As well as managing NUI Galway’s press & information function, Michelle is chair of the board of directors of TG4 – the national Irish language TV station – and says the University’s bilingual environment encourages students from all over the world to speak the language.
The University is also a key driver in economic growth in the west of Ireland and Michelle’s session (Saturday July 1) will examine collaboration between academia and industry.
In another session, Brains in the city (Friday June 30), Jan Dries from the University of Antwerp – where #EUPRIO16 was held – will explore how communications can bring higher education and cities together.
Jan is a social and organizational psychologist and heads the University’s comms team. He says the city of Antwerp centres its marketing around the four Bs – Brains, Business, Bevolking (inhabitants) and Bezoekers (visitors).
“This works well for positioning higher education in the city”, says Jan, whose workshop will show what a close collaboration in communications between city and university can achieve.
Science parks are another good example of how universities can successfully network with key partners, and Ludo Koks will reflect on the opportunities and challenges ahead.
His workshop (Friday June 30) will look at the role of Utrecht Science Park in the Utrecht eco system and how it has become the biggest science park in the Netherlands.
Utrecht has been identified as the most competitive region in Europe out of 270 regions and the workshop and Ludo will examine the reasons for this and how the science park has become “iconic or the identity of Utrecht itself’.
Ludo is public affairs advisor at Utrecht University and his session will focus on the importance of communications and public affairs in the region and the challenge Utrecht shares with other sciences park around the globe.
Impact of new HEIs on regional prosperity
A new university can have a major impact on regional growth and development, as Lena Lindhé will examine in her workshop (Friday June 30).
Lena has been Strategic Development Officer at Sweden’s University West since 2013 and will look at the impact of her own institution on the labour market and businesses in the Fyrbodal region in Västra Götaland.
Her work is focused on strategic and structural collaboration, mainly with the public sector, and she is closely involved with widening participation in higher education, both locally and through the Swedish network Include.
Her university was established in 1990 and since then the percentage of university graduates in the region of 1.5 million inhabitants has nearly doubled. But, as her workshop will explain, there is still a shortage of employees with higher education qualifications in many Swedish regions.
In Fyrbodal, this has led to setting up a sustainable collaboration arena between the university and 14 municipalities – Kommunakademin Väst. Lena will outline the structure and aim of the collaboration to see if such an approach could benefit other regions around Europe.
For a full list of the speakers presenting at #EUPRIO17 in Mannheim, see here. The conference takes place from from 29 June to 2 July 2017.
See Nic Mitchell’s earlier blog Networking is key theme for EUPRIO 2017 for a flavour of some of the other sessions.