The European Universities Initiative: A Study of Alliance Formation in Higher Education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the origins, rationales and design of the European Universities Initiative (EUI), a new scheme to create a series of multilateral university alliances. The idea of creating a supranational university can be traced back to the beginnings of the European political project in the late 1940s, but despite various endeavours, this ambition remained unfulfilled. The chapter places the EUI within this long-running debate and focuses on the period following French President Macron’s 2017 Sorbonne speech which advocated a new network of universities. This provided the impetus to reignite the supranational university debate and subsequently resulted in the launch of the EUI pilot phase. The chapter explains why the EUI succeeded where previous attempts at a European university over the preceding 70 years had stalled. The analysis finds the EUI to be a novel form of alliance formation which can be viewed as a ‘network of networks’. Considering the design of the EUI, how the alliances have the potential to generate collaborative advantage for their members is considered, which also identifies some of the challenges that lie ahead for the scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Higher Education Area
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for a New Decade
EditorsAdrian Curaj, Ligia Deca, Remus Pricopie
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic) 9783030563165
ISBN (Print)9783030563172, 9783030563158
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'The European Universities Initiative: A Study of Alliance Formation in Higher Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this