Leaders, decision-makers, and experts from the European University for Well-Being (EUniWell) alliance, comprising 11 European universities, participated in a two-day conference. The conference aimed to share the consortium’s common educational and research outcomes and define the future strategy of the European university alliance.

On 9-10 November 2023, the University of Murcia hosted the “Becoming a Voice for Well-Being” conference and the 6th EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly. This event in Spain provided an opportunity to present the successful outcomes and achievements of the past three years of collaboration and to define the strategic objectives of the European university alliance by 2030.

The EUniWell alliance, currently consisting of 11 universities, more than 330,000 students, nearly 60,000 university staff, and 1,000 research groups, includes the following institutions: University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), University of Cologne (Germany), University of Florence (Italy), University of Konstanz (Germany), Linnaeus University (Sweden), University of Murcia (Spain), University of Nantes (France), University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Semmelweis University (Hungary), and Taras Shevchenko National University (Ukraine).

Members of the EUniWell leadership (from right to left in the first row): Prof. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University; Prof. José Luján Alcaraz, Rector of the University of Murcia; Prof. Beatrix Busse, Vice-Rector of the University of Cologne and EUniWell Chief Development Officer; Prof. Carine Bernault, Rector of the University of Nantes; and Prof. Antonio López Díaz, Rector of the University of Santiago de Compostela.

As of November 2023, the EUniWell Alliance has committed to another four years with the support of the European Commission. The member universities, including Semmelweis University, will continue their collaborative efforts based on initial results, aiming to transform into a sustainable European university focusing on well-being.

At the EUniWell Rectors’ Assembly and EUniWell Showcase conference Semmelweis University was represented by Prof. Béla Merkely, Rector; Prof. Miklós Kellermayer, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine; Dr. Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations; Szepesi Dóra, Director General for Marketing and Communications, and members of the EUniWell project management.

The conference’s first day featured a speech by Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of Unit for European Higher Education Policy and Programmes at the European Commission, emphasizing the significance of European Universities Alliances in academic, regional, and global contexts. Participants also learned about the EUniWell 2030 strategic framework, laying the foundation for the future of scientific excellence and well-being.

The afternoon session, moderated by Prof. Miklós Kellermayer, Dean of Semmelweis University and member of the EUniWell Steering Board, focused on promoting research and education related to well-being. It highlighted the work conducted by EUniWell Research Arenas and Seed Funding projects in crucial areas such as mental health, individual and societal well-being, and environmental well-being.

Dr. Sloan Kudrinko, a former student of Semmelweis University and former Chief Executive of the EUniWell Student Board, presented the results of the EUniWell Mental Health Symposium project held in Budapest.

On the second day of the conference, staff and students from EUniWell partner universities delivered presentations on various forms of the consortium’s societal engagement, well-being policies, and student initiatives. Dr. Imre Varjú, a Semmelweis Alumnus, presented the results of the EUniWell Research Communication working group. Similarly, in this section, Flóra Oláh, a student at Semmelweis University, delivered a presentation on her work in the EUniWell School Ambassador Program.

In the closing section, the Rectors’ Panel Discussion, with the participation of Prof. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University, and invited rectors, addressed institutional transformations and the enhancement of scientific excellence resulting from collaborations within the EUniWell alliance. In response to the question focusing on employee and student well-being, Prof. Merkely highlighted the unique Family-Friendly University Program at Semmelweis University. He also mentioned the Global Student Satisfaction Award that the university received, making Semmelweis University proud of having the best student quality of life according to a global survey.

Prof. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University; Prof. Giorgia Giovannetti, Vice-Rector of the University of Florence; Jean-François Huchet, Rector of Inalco University.

EUniWell aims to become a leading global alliance in well-being-related topics, building on the successes achieved during the pilot period.

Semmelweis University has greatly contributed to the successes of EUniWell so far, and we remain committed to collaboration with member universities in the EUniWell Alliance. We continue the work that has been started

– stated Prof. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University.

The full presentations from the conference can be viewed at this link.

EUniWell at Semmelweis University

With the support of EUniWell, Semmelweis University implemented many events and professional programs from April to June 2023, as well as achieved the following results from July to October 2023.

  • In October 2023, three outstanding researchers from Semmelweis University—Dr. Balázs Enyedi from the Institute of Physiology, Dr. Petra Dunkel from the Institute of Organic Chemistry, and Dr. Nazha Hamdani from the Institute of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy—participated in the opening meeting of the EUniWell Leadership Fellowship Program. This newly developed training program, within the EUniWell Research Training Academy under the EUniWell #Research project, supports researchers in developing their leadership skills with innovative methodological approaches.
  • From 18 to 20 October 2023, Semmelweis University was represented by Dr. Beáta Pethesné Dávid, Director of the Institute of Mental Hygiene, and Dr. Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations, at the UoB Global Visit Week organized by the founding partner University of Birmingham.
  • In October 2023, Prof. Miklós Kellermayer, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations, and Eszter Turopoli, Project Manager of EUniWell, participated in bilateral discussions on the future strategic plans of the EUniWell Health and Well-Being work package, upon the invitation of the University of Florence.
  • From 12 to 14 October 2023, ambassadors and staff from seven EUniWell partner universities gathered at the EUniWell School Ambassador Program meeting hosted by the University of Cologne. Semmelweis University was represented by two student ambassadors, Flóra Oláh and Máté Baka, as well as by the EUniWell project manager and leader of the School Ambassador Program, Eszter Turopoli.
  • In September and October 2023, Semmelweis University organized free science communication training sessions and data visualization workshops as part of the EUniWell Research Communication Programme for PhD students from EUniWell partner universities.
  • From 27 to 29 September 2023, experts and project managers from EUniWell partner universities met in Nantes to discuss the action plan for the final year of the Horizon2020-funded EUniWell #Research program and the next steps in the alliance’s joint research and innovation strategy.
  • On 19-20 September 2023, the EUniWell Quality Culture Arena hosted experts in quality assurance of educational offerings at the University of Cologne. They collaborated on developing quality assurance guidelines for EUniWell microcredentials and joint diplomas. Semmelweis University was represented by Dr. Sándor Hollós and Anna Szilágyi at the meeting.
  • On 1 September 2023, as part of the Semmelweis International Summer School, sessions were organized featuring lectures, panel discussions, and sections focused on physical and mental well-being, with special emphasis from EUniWell.
  • In August 2023, a Semmelweis University student, Evelina Davlieva, participated in a joint 6-week online internship program organized by the University of Birmingham and the Birmingham City Council.
  • In July and August 2023, within the framework of the EUniWell Visiting Fellowship Scheme, researchers from the Institute of Medical Microbiology at Semmelweis University—Dr. Judit Sahin-Tóth, Dr. Máté Gugolya, Dr. Árpád Bartha, and Dávid Hummel—participated in a nearly 4-week study visit to the University of Birmingham.

For more information about EUniWell, visit https://www.euniwell.eu.

Eszter Turopoli 
Photo: EUniWell