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Networking is key theme for EUPRIO 2017

Registration for EUPRIO’s 2017 annual conference, which takes place from 29 June to 2 July in the German city of Mannheim, is now open. Here Nic Mitchell takes a first look at some of presentations and workshops on offer.

profesional networkingThe theme for the Mannheim conference Networking for a better future: Universities, Cities, Companies and Regions is built around the concept of universities as key connectors in wider local, regional, national and international networks.

Speakers reflect this comprehensive approach and will focus on the many challenges we communication professionals face in an era of increased globalization and ever-changing communication channels.

Getting heard in Brussels

Among the masterclasses, Ulrich Marsch will look at how the voice of science, technology and innovation can be heard by political stakeholders, particularly those in Brussels.

His background includes a PhD from the London School of Economics comparing the management of industrial research in Germany and Great Britain.

Now director of corporate communications at the Technische Universität München, Ulrich’s interactive session will build on the experience of the EuroTech Universities Alliance and its award-winning magazine Technologist, which showcases some of the most exciting research in Europe and beyond.

Ulrich says: “The EuroTech alliance, a strategic partnership of the Technical University of Denmark; École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Eindhoven University of Technology and

Ulrich Marsch from Technical University Munich

Ulrich Marsch from Technical University Munich

Technical University of Munich, seeks to inspire society about the opportunities offered by technology – raising awareness among policy makers, industry and the next generation of students.”

Presenting ‘Innovation explained: a new approach to political communication in Europe’ alongside Ulrich will be Emily Palmer, head of the EuroTech Universities Alliance Brussels office. The masterclass is on Friday (30 June) afternoon. Spaces will be limited so book early if you want to reserve a spot.

Working together

Taking a different angle to networking, Anna Wawdysz from the Polish academic centre of Poznań will discuss how cities and universities can work together.

She is deputy director of the City Development Department in Poznań and has worked closely with many public and private institutions, including on the ‘Study in Poznań’ project which encourages foreign students to study and stay in the city.

Anna Wawdysz

Anna Wawdysz

Her workshop UNIVERCITY 360° on Saturday (1 July) will look at the role of a university in shaping the image and development of the city and the role of the city in the promotion and development of a university.

She will touch on issues related to improving the quality of the student experience and graduate retention and consider territorial marketing and which joint actions are the most successful in enhancing the position of the city and in shaping its image as an academic hub at home and abroad.

A vibrant local network

Developing the city networking theme, Michaela Wurm together with Johanna Loewen and Lars Tata will discuss what it takes to ensure successful collaboration between a network of universities, the municipal office and the local community.

Their workshop ‘Making a network work – collaborating at the interface of science and community’ – on Friday (30 June) will provide an insider insight into a vibrant local network of 60 science projects in the German city of Bochum in the heart of the Ruhr region.

With eight universities reflecting exceptional academic diversity and a municipal administration keen to strengthen Bochum as a city of science and education, the UniverCity Bochum network is thriving.

The session will discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with this form of university/city collaboration, as well as the conditions necessary to create a successful and sustainable programme.

 Partnerships abroad

Networking is becoming more global for universities in the era of globalization and Primrose Paskins from the outward-looking University of Kent, where EUPRIO held its 2013 annual conference, will be focusing on ‘Managing Risk in Higher Education International Partnerships’ in her workshop (on Saturday July 1).

Primrose Paskins

Primrose Paskins

She is the British university’s international partnerships officer and responsible for overseeing the institutional approval process with new partnerships abroad, including external delivery models, student and staff exchange, dual and joint awards, and articulation arrangements.

She says: “Strengthening and broadening internationalisation requires careful planning. A key concern in the development of international partnerships is the management of risk including reputational risk; this covers academic, safety, environmental, financial, and political concerns.”

Her workshop will reflect on the immeasurable consequences for a university’s reputation if things go wrong with an international partnership and the role of the press office in managing the reputation damage.

Workshop attendees will be invited to consider their respective institutions’ international partnership activity in relation to risk, and to share their thoughts on how institutions can improve their risk awareness, and consequently reduce chances for reputational damage.

Workshops are repeated on the same day, but masterclasses only take place once with a coffee break in the middle!

Kerstin Lauer

Kerstin Lauer

Kerstin Lauer, who chairs the conference task force for EUPRIO 2017, says: “We have a good mix of themes, speakers and countries and we are proud to welcome EUPRIO back to Germany for the third time. We’re also delighted to be supported by the German national association of communicators in Higher Education institutions.”

For the full conference programme, see

Feature image courtesy of Technologist magazine