EUniWell keeps growing
EUniWell has grown strongly this year, with three new members joining the Alliance. First, EUniWell welcomed the University of Murcia in March 2022, a Spanish university that excels in the field of disability services and social inclusion. The Ukrainian Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv joined EUniWell in August. Given the difficult situation of the institution due to the ongoing war, EUniWell is glad to be able to support its new member as much as possible. Finally, in November, the University of Konstanz became the latest member university of the Alliance. With its strong focus on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the German university is well-positioned to support EUniWell’s mission and vision.
Shaping the future of EUniWell
Having been selected for funding under the ERASMUS+ programme in November 2020, the Alliance has now completed the second year of our three-year pilot phase. The development of EUniWell is a continuous process that requires ongoing democratic and reflective discourse. This year, the 3rd Rectors’ Assembly took place in July at Leiden University and the 4th Rectors’ Assembly took place in October at Semmelweis University in Budapest.
The 4th EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly brought together Rectors, Vice-Rectors, leading representatives and students from all EUniWell partner universities for a unique programme and intensive exchange at Semmelweis University. Coinciding with this meeting, Semmelweis University hosted the European Universities’ Assembly and EUniWell Mental Health Symposium, thereby widening the strategic and topical scope of international exchange on European higher education in the context of the European Universities Initiative.
In cooperation with the Tempus Public Foundation, Semmelweis University invited nine Rectors of Hungarian universities participating in European University Alliances as well as the Hungarian Minister of Culture and Innovation, János Csák, and the Hungarian Deputy State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Miklós Lengyel, to a European Universities’ Assembly. The aim of the event was to bring together leaders from relevant Hungarian ministries and universities participating in the European Universities Initiative to consider how to address the challenges facing the European Education Area, and to improve the quality and strength of European higher education.
The second day of the event was dedicated to the Mental Health Symposium. Initiated by the students of EUniWell partner universities, it presented the results of a comparative analysis of mental health resources carried out across the participating Universities of Birmingham, Florence, Cologne, Leiden, Linnaeus, Nantes, and Semmelweis.
The symposium also provided insights into the results of the first EUniWell Policy Commission “Addressing inequalities in the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people”, another EUniWell Seed Funding Project, MATTERS presented by Dr. Eöry Ajándék on “Key to survival: improving resilience in face of adversity” and the project “Professional Teachers’ Competences for Well-being – Taking Care for Mental Health at School” presented by the leaders of EUniWell Teacher Education Arena.
Successful bottom-up approaches
In 2022, EUniWell Seed Funding Programme further established itself as a fruitful bottom-up approach. During the year two Seed Funding calls were announced. The EUniWell initiative supports collaborative projects implemented by students, teachers and administrative staff from our various member universities. A fifth call is already in the works for early 2023.
A brand new funding and collaboration opportunity for researchers was also launched in 2022 through the EUniWell Well-Being Research Incubator,
The new initiative aims to promote collaboration in well-being research. Researchers from participating universities are invited to put forward proposals to run online collaborative workshops on topics relating to EUniWell four research areas and widen networks; learn about research activity taking place across Europe; and identify common interests, synergies and potential for collaboration.
The second call of the Well-Being Research Incubator has just published. This seed funding scheme will offer grants of up to €10,000 or up to €25,000 for small-scale projects which test out and scope ideas for larger-scale well-being research projects in the future.
Researchers are now invited to apply to run a collaborative workshop via our brief application form by 17 February 2023.
Opening up new possibilities
Outstanding educational opportunities of the year included the continuation of the ongoing EUnIWell Open Lecture Series including the lectures of Prof. György Purebl, Dr. Ádám Tabák and Dr. Imre Varjú from Semmelweis University.
BA and PhD students from Semmelweis University had the excellent opportunity to participate in the EUniWell Summer School “COVID-19: Impact on European health & well-being” in Leiden and many PhD candidates attended the EUniWell Research Communications Programme organized by Semmelweis University. This program was designed for PhD students who are interested in science communication and it will continue with two additional courses on 20 and 27 January 2023.
This year, EUniWell has launched numerous new initiatives and created offers that will sustainably promote lifelong learning, academic exchange, and civic engagement within the Alliance and beyond. The EUniWell School Ambassador Programme was initiated by Semmelweis University to offer students the opportunity to act as role models in schools, promoting higher education and fostering diverse potentials within the younger generation. EUniWell also provided students with exciting internship opportunities working on high-impact policy projects in the cities and regions. Another novelty was the introduction of the EUniWell Research Thesis Prizes, which recognise outstanding Ph.D. research in the fields of “individual and social well-being” and “environment, urbanity, and sustainable development”.
As part of the EUniWell Abroad Fellowship Program, a student from the University of Cologne is currently on a three-week research study visit at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under the supervision of Dr. Attila Ambrus, to study causative genetic agents for neurodevelopmental disorders and their examination with mass spectrometry.
Coinciding with this year’s Climate Change Conference, the first EUniWell Sustainability Forum took place at Nantes Université with the aim of bringing together local EUniWell actions with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Another end-of-year highlight was the first EUniWell Start-Up Exchange, which took place in Nantes. This event provided an opportunity for a group of student entrepreneurs to meet, practice their pitches in an international setting as well as to network and receive feedback outside of their own local contexts.
FestiWell event series took place for the second time and extended over two weeks from 2 to 13 May 2022 under the theme “Towards global sustainable well-being”. Each EUniWell university organised a day of events, with programmes taking place partly at the university campuses and partly as hybrid and digital formats.
The 8th day of FestiWell event series was hosted by Semmelweis University. The event focused on the sustainability of healthcare and how it affects the well-being of university members and the wider population. It was opened by Dr. Miklós Kellermayer, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and the University’s project leader of EUniWell, followed by the keynote speech of Dr. Miklós Szócska, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Public Administration.
Providing an international outlook beyond healthcare, the UNICA Webinar (Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe) involving Semmelweis University, the Universities of Helsinki, Warsaw and Cyprus showcased European Universities’ approach to the concept of well-being in an urban context.
The day was closed by a large-scale Sustainability in Healthcare Session, highlighting sustainability challenges of healthcare, including the introduction of the new elective international course, Sustainability in HC by Gabriella Sódar, presentations on the links between ecology, well-being and sustainability by Dr. György Purebl, the impact of climate change and other recent challenges on adolescent mental health and well-being by Dr. Beáta Pászthy, Planetary Health and Cardio-meteorology by Dr. Nóra Boussoussou; and an interesting study exploring dentists’ attitudes towards sustainability by Dr. Fanni Andrea Vass.
As a satellite event, various interactive student activities focusing on well-being and sustainability, including quiz games and DIY workshops were organised by the Students Union’s Green University Project on campus.
Another outstanding event also took place at Semmelweis University on 1-2 September 2022. The International Summer University was the opening event of the Semmelweis International 40 series of programmes. Engaging lectures, film screenings and round-table discussions on health, higher education, sport, and culture were all part of the programme. Two-day event highlighted EUniWell, emphasising the importance of physical and mental well-being and creating and developing a EUniWell identity among students.
Student engagement on the rise
EUniWell had many great developments in student engagement this year. One highlight is the participation of our Student Board in the inaugural session of the European Student Assembly in March 2022. This event brought together 275 students from 38 European University Alliances in early March to discuss complex current challenges facing the European Union. EUniWell was represented at the Assembly by 3 students: EUniWell Student Board Executive Team Member Sloan Kudrinko, EUniWell Student Board Member and Semmelweis Students’ Union Vice-President Félix Takács and Semmelweis Students’ Union President Bálint Tripolszky.
Student engagement shone particularly brightly at the Mental Health Symposium at Semmelweis University in October 2022. The main goal of the Symposium was to present the results of a comparative analysis of mental health resources and offer EUniWell Vice-Rectors and management representatives the opportunity for thematic input and exchange around the pressing topic of student mental health during the second day of the Rectors’ Assembly in Budapest.
In November 2022, EUniWell students including Semmelweis representatives participated in the innovative Simu-VACTION (Simulation | Innovation | Action) project at Emory University, Atlanta, USA. Funded through the EUniWell Seed Funding Programme, Project Simu-VACTION was an invitation for students to think globally about local issues by participating in a simulation titled “AI and Health Disparities on a Global Stage”. 26 students from 11 academic institutions from across the world played the roles of national delegations, stakeholders and journalists. Together, they discussed the medical and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence and its role in decreasing health disparities on a global stage.
Semmelweis University is excited to continue to work together with the European partner universities to improve well-being at our campuses, in our cities, across Europe and beyond.
EUniWell team at Semmelweis University
Prof. Dr. Miklós Kellermayer Project Leader
Dr. Marcel Pop Strategic Leader
Eszter Turopoli Project Coordinator and Communications Manager
Dr. Ádám Orosz Project Manager Erasmus+
Attila Matiscsák Project Manager #Research
Zita Dékán Senior Advisor
Sloan Kudrinko Student Executive Board Member
Félix Takács Student Representative