Inaugural European University General Assembly takes place in Ireland hosted by TUS

16 Nov 2021 Jodie Gilpin By Jodie Gilpin

Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS) will welcome over 200 representatives from across Europe for the inaugural General Assembly (GA) of the Regional University Network Europe (RUN EU).  

Members from Austria, Finland, Hungary, Portugal, and the Netherlands will touch down in Ireland on 1 November, for the five-day event which will take place across TUS campuses in Athlone, Limerick and Thurles. 

TUS, a founding university of the network, will host the inaugural General Assembly at the Millennium Theatre on its Moylish Campus on Friday, 5 November.  

The General Assembly is a strategic governing body that acts as a senate for the university network (which includes over 75,000 students in seven universities). 

The assembly will see Presidents of all RUN-EU member higher education institutions, over 100 students and researchers, academic staff and 30 associated partners come together to collaborate on the sustainable economic, social, cultural, and environmental progress of our regions and stakeholders, through education.  

President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “We are extremely proud to host the inaugural RUN EU General Assembly here at TUS. The assembly gives us the opportunity to showcase what the Midlands and Midwest have to offer for international stakeholders. It is certainly a win for the region to host this event, and in a year where many industries and sectors have faced major challenges, it is clear TUS’s role in the RUN-EU network will bring many new opportunities for students, research, and industry in the region, particularly for SMEs. The network has been working hard to bring this assembly to fruition and enable staff, students and stakeholders involved in RUN EU to meet and collaborate in person. Along with our 200 guests, we have 17 European partners of RUN EU from across industry and government organisations in attendance.” 

Speaking ahead of the event, Vice President of Research, Development and Innovation at TUS, Dr Liam Brown said, “We look forward to welcoming staff, students and many of our associated partners and regional government colleagues to Ireland. Included in the General Assembly will be four student-led short advanced challenge programmes, delivered during the week across the TUS campuses. RUN-EU promotes and develops joint student-centered, challenge and work-based flexible educational activities, through collaborative and innovative inter-university and interregional approaches to higher education, research and innovation generating new opportunities for industry and many other stakeholders in our regions.  

We are also launching the RUN-EU+ Coordination and Support Action this week. This innovative project focuses on the development and deployment of collaborative professional practice-based research degrees in Future Industry and Sustainable Regional Development, the Bioeconomy and Social Innovation, across the RUN-EU alliance,” he continued. 

President of the Polytechnic of Leiria, the RUN EU project lead institute, Mr Rui Pedrosa said, “The GA will be a major opportunity for the RUN-EU higher education institutions and associated partners to reaffirm their commitment to the shared values and principles underpinning the RUN-EU mission. 

“I am delighted that our students, teachers, staff and associated partners will be able to meet in person for the first time and celebrate all the collaborative work and all the challenges we have been through during the last year”, added Mr Rui Pedrosa. 

The week of events will include visits to TUS campuses in Athlone, Thurles, and Limerick, as well as visits to relevant regional stakeholders (Limerick City and County Council Chamber Office, Irish Bioeconomy Foundation, CONFIRM and Limerick College of Art and Design).  

During the assembly, the RUN-EU International Student Advisory Board (SAB), which represents students from each member institute, will take part in RUN EU Student Week.  

Student Week will see members of the SAB take on Short Advanced Program Challenges dealing with issues relating to Environmental Awareness and Sustainability, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

 The RUN-EU Challenge Programme is jointly organised with regional stakeholders and government authorities, and aims to find sustainable solutions for societal problems. The results will be presented to the RUN-EU community at the final General Assembly meeting on Friday, 5 November.