It has long been known that any crisis means not only difficulties but also new opportunities. Ukraine is going through not just a crisis, but a war. But despite its terrible realities, it has outlined new development horizons for our country. In particular, for the higher education system. Therefore, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has started a new stage in its work with international partners. And it was opened by cooperation with alliances of European universities - there are no less than 41 of them on the continent! So Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has more than 100 new potential partners - their members. Since the first days of the Great War, these voluntary associations of universities from different European countries have studied the institutional needs of Ukrainian higher education institutions and, through partnership with them and with funding from the European Commission, have moved on to providing practical assistance to them.
1. A new page
The rapprochement with the member universities of the European universities alliances is made through granting KPI the status of associate partner. Today, Kyiv Polytechnic has already received such status in six alliances - ENHANCE, CESAER, EUTOPIA, EPICUR, ATHENA, ECIU - and confirmed membership in five more - ECHA (European Clean Hydrogen Alliance), ENSTA, BSUN, UNICA and EUA.
Thanks to the development of cooperation between Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and alliances of European higher education institutions, our faculties and institutes that train specialists for various sectors of the economy will be able to find related departments among universities of various types (classical, technical, humanitarian, etc.) and will be able to build cooperation with them. First of all, it would be useful to establish a partnership in international project and grant activities. To do this, KPI should offer alliance members to get acquainted with the activities and achievements of its 67 scientific schools and 272 research groups. And the staff of the State Migration Service and the Research Center have already begun to do so.
Particularly promising is membership in the CESAER Alliance (Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research), which brings together 58 universities from 28 European countries and acts as the "voice" of all technical universities in Europe.
In 2022, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute also joined the Network of Baltic Sea Region Universities and the Network of 14 Technology Transfer Centers of ten Danube countries.
This has strengthened project and grant cooperation with them and has already ensured the victory of a number of projects by Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute scientists in the Horizon Europe program competitions.
And the British government was the first to announce the launch of the "Unity Initiative" of British universities with Ukrainian ones at the beginning of a full-scale war. The University of Sheffield (UoS) became a partner of Kyiv Polytechnic within its framework. A multilevel interaction soon began. Its results were not long in coming: KPI received online resources for STEM laboratory work from the new partner; Professor Tayas's author's course on preventing powerful detonation explosions, which is becoming a world-class problem among modern challenges, is being implemented in the educational process; the capabilities of our library have changed significantly, in particular, we have gained access to huge resources of education and science that KPI did not have in the past; a joint project with UoS on the role of the Sikorsky Challenge Ukraine Innovation Ecosystem in the post-war innovation transformation of Ukraine was submitted to the UK Government's UK-Ukraine Research and Innovation twinning grants scheme.
2. About some of the alliances
The ATHENA Alliance is an association of nine medium-sized universities of advanced higher education from France, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Poland, and Spain. It is one of 41 transnational European university alliances supported by the European Commission, which aim to become integrated "universities of the future", promoting European values and identity and revolutionizing the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.
Cooperation with the universities of this alliance may be of interest to those KPI faculties and institutes that are close to its mission: to accompany and shape the digital transformation of society through joint teaching, learning, research and development in IT and electronic engineering, in particular, using a strong interdisciplinary approach.
The partnership with ATHENA will open up opportunities for KPI to apply for new European support schemes, as well as access to other national and institutional support tools for ATHENA partners to implement joint activities.
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The EUTOPIA Alliance of European Universities brings together ten regional and national European universities. The member universities have committed themselves to continuously improving standards of teaching, research, management and innovation and to strive for excellence in their local environment as well as in their relationships and partnerships with each other. In a non-competitive but collaborative manner, supporting innovative teaching methods, cutting-edge educational frameworks, and bold research ideas, the universities of this alliance will work together to achieve the highest quality of teaching and research.
By 2025, the alliance hopes to become an open, multicultural confederation operating on united campuses.
It is worth adding that in June 2019, the EUTOPIA-2050 program was selected as one of the first 17 winners of the European Universities Initiative competition launched by the European Commission to create a European Higher Education Area.
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The ECIU Alliance is the European Consortium of Innovative Universities. It consists of universities from Denmark, Ireland, Germany, Lithuania, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Poland, and an associate member - a technological institute from Mexico. KPI received the status of partnership in this alliance at the invitation of the Rector of the Lodz University of Technology, Professor Krzysztof Jozwiak (Poland). Within the framework of the alliance, the universities work in a number of areas: organizing the exchange of students, doctoral students and staff; participation in study visits, internships, participation in summer/winter schools, seminars, workshops, training sessions or intensive courses; development or preparation of new and innovative teaching tools and methods; development of a quality management system to improve the quality of education and research; joint research and development work; networking and establishing cooperation between Ukrainian universities.
We would like to add that in view of the full-scale war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine, the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Poland has instructed the National Agency for Academic Exchange of Poland (NAWA) to provide support to the Ukrainian scientific community, including by providing financial support for its participation in the initiatives initiated by this alliance.
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It should be noted that most of these integrated activities are also areas of activity of other university associations. And the alliances mentioned above are not a complete list of European university associations, cooperation with which in project and grant activities can be extremely useful for Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
3. What is the benefit
In less than a year of cooperation with university alliances, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has already accumulated interesting cases of joint work. Here are just a few examples.
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An agreement was reached on the participation of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute students, teachers and researchers in the work of the ENHANCE Alliance through the projects "Language Tandem" and "ENHANCE Certificate in Higher Education Teaching", to which Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute was invited as an associate partner of the alliance.
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The ECIU Alliance, mentioned in the previous section, of which KPI is a member, has initiated a project to develop cooperation with Ukraine "ECIU4Ukraine" with a budget of 200 thousand euros from NAWA, which will be implemented during 2023. The project coordinator from ECIU is the Lodz University of Technology (Alliance website - https://www.eciu.eu/). The cooperation activities that can be funded under this project correspond to the Alliance's activities: organization of exchange of students, doctoral students and employees; participation in study visits, internships, summer schools (accommodation, food and transportation costs are covered by the Polish side), seminars, workshops, training sessions or intensive courses (participation of 20 Ukrainian students in one online module); purchase of equipment for students who will participate in the modules; participation in conferences (accommodation, food and
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During the period of preparation of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute for participation in the General Assembly of the CESAER Alliance in October 2022, seminars on various topical issues of reforming the European system of higher technical education and the role of technical universities in "disruptive innovation for a sustainable future" were held. For example, the seminar "CAM 2022 Workshop: Disruptive innovation for a sustainable future (The role of Universities)", chaired by the Rector of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Chairman of the CESAER Alliance Sustainability Task Force, Professor Guillermo Cisneros. This event provided us with an understanding of new opportunities for interaction between the KPI Sustainable Development Program (World Data Center, coordinator K.V. Yefremov) and Alliance members: Disruptive innovation for a sustainable future, Net-Zero transition, etc. Strengthening cooperation in this area is a way to prepare new project proposals with new partners in the CESAER Alliance for competitions of European project and grant programs.
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Now that the Academic Council of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has approved the revision of the passports of 67 scientific schools, the Department of International Cooperation together with the Research and Development Center have formed an English-language summary of the annotations of the university's scientific schools with the coordinates and scientometric characteristics of their leaders and are sending proposals to the partner universities of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the alliances for joint submission of projects to the competitions of the EU programs "Horizon Europe", NATO "Science for Peace and Security", "ERASMUS+ KA2" (higher education capacity building). And, of course, the DMS, together with the Research and Development Center, will bring together KPI faculties, institutes, and departments that are interested in launching project and grant activities with related universities of the alliances and focus on specific forms of cooperation.
It is worth mentioning the new areas of activity that are opening up for Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute through cooperation with alliance member universities: university sustainability; open science; sustainable financing, etc. It should be added that these areas have been in the focus of European university alliances for several years, but KPI is just beginning to master these conceptual categories and areas of practice.
In order to be at the forefront of conceptual ideas about trends in European higher technical education, the CESAER Alliance has already proposed to introduce representatives of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute to its working groups in the key areas of "Human Resources, "Innovation ", "Learning & Teaching ", "Openness of Science & Technology", "Sustainability", "Sustainable Funding", "Benchmark".
Candidates from Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute for this work have already been identified, and their participation will ensure the concretization of cooperation between Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and 58 member universities of this Alliance. Therefore, our university as a member of CESAER will adapt the advanced ideas of Europe for transformations in the system of higher technical education in Ukraine. At the same time, our faculties, institutes and departments will become more open to the European educational and scientific space, more authoritative and more competitive in the system of higher technical education in Ukraine. This, in turn, will strengthen the position of Kyiv Polytechnic departments in the struggle for talented applicants, for influence on the formation of policy in the field of science and education within certain fields of knowledge, as well as on the content of educational programs and on the possibilities of preserving and developing scientific and pedagogical schools; and, of course, in the distribution of material and financial resources,
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Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute felt the support of universities-members of European alliances in the project of innovative transformation of Ukraine on the platform of the Innovation Ecosystem "Sikorsky Challenge Ukraine" (SCU) - a project that is, without exaggeration, of strategic importance. In particular, in September 2022, the Conference of Rectors and Presidents of European Technical Universities in Vienna adopted a recommendation to create a complete and holistic innovation space in Europe on the SCU platform. And KPI begins to invite our partners - European universities - to participate in this.
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Thanks to cooperation with members of alliances of European universities, KPI becomes more transparent for the European space. The new favorable situation in the context of Ukraine's acquisition of EU status is also starting to work.
The departments, faculties, and institutes are realizing that, given the extremely limited budgetary funding, revenues from international sources are becoming almost the only source of development of the teaching and research facilities of laboratories and material incentives for employees. And this trend has no alternative.
At the same time, the university is creating a competitive environment in the field of international project and grant activities: new dimensions are being introduced to the individual ratings of the research and teaching staff, their characteristics are taken into account in the competitive selection and re-election of teaching staff, and affect the distribution of funding, which encourages scientists and teachers to work in this area. At the level of deans of faculties, directors of institutes, and heads of departments, competitive principles are strengthened through indices in department profiles; interest in the formulaic distribution of funding; direct economic interest in revenues from international projects and grants; and control over the fulfillment of contracts of managers at all levels and ordinary researchers.
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The experience of 2022 shows that joining the family of European universities through cooperation with European university alliances is already yielding noticeable results. Here are just a few examples.
According to the key tasks defined by the "KPI Development Strategy for 2020-2025", in 2022, 73 projects were submitted and received grants from KPI to international competitions. In 2022, 27 projects were submitted to the competitions of the Horizon Europe program (3 the year before), and 9 to the NATO Science for Peace and Security program (none in 2021).
Currently, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has 18 active large projects: 4 under the Horizon 2020 program, 4 under the NATO program, 7 under the Horizon Europe program, and 3 under the ERASMUS+ program.
At the same time, funding for the participation of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute research teams in international projects has increased more than 10 times - up to € 1081 thousand. This is equal to the amount by which the budget funding for KPI science was reduced in 2022.
In addition, the amount of funds from 428 individual grants for KPI students (for internships, business trips, international conferences in the European scientific space of 22 countries) has also increased.
This indicates that in 2022 Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute experienced not only quantitative but also qualitative changes in project and grant activities: our academic environment is gradually bridging the mental gap with Europe. Until recently, this gap was the root cause of the discrepancy between the results of international project and grant activities and the high scientific and innovative potential of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Now it is gradually disappearing, although not as fast as we would like ...
Integration into the European Education and Research Area is not only an increase in the number of projects in the field of education and science. It is also a worldview change that will affect all aspects of the university's life and each of us. Therefore, joining the family of European universities is an important task for the international sphere of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the coming years.
Therefore, the Department of International Cooperation invites university departments to establish contacts with European universities.
The direct coordinator of the expansion of cooperation between Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and the alliances of European universities is the Department of Foreign Economic Activity of the State Migration Service (Head - Andriy Shysholin, room 171/1, building 1, tel. 204-82-67, e-mail: email@example.com), coordinated by the Director of the State Migration Service Alla Kovtun (room 139-A, building 1, tel. 204-84-75, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).