With the aim of intensifying its efforts, the 4EU+ European University Alliance - a transnational association of six strong European research universities that includes Heidelberg University - has appointed a secretary general: Dr Volker Balli will support and promote the implementation of 4EU+ activities, heading a cross-institutional team from all member universities, with the long-term goal of establishing an integrated European university system. As part of an executive committee, he will moreover play a significant role in the alliance’s strategic development. In addition to working at the alliance’s Paris headquarters, Dr Balli will have another office at Ruperto Carola. According to Dr Balli, developing innovative and intensive forms of cooperation that are characterised by a high degree of mobility is the ambitious objective of 4EU+. In this way, the alliance could shine a light on the unique role that universities continue to play for society in the 21st century.
The 4EU+ European University Alliance consists of the universities of Prague, Heidelberg, Sorbonne/Paris, Warsaw, Copenhagen and Milan. In June 2019 it became one of 17 university alliances to be funded through the Erasmus+ pilot programme "European Universities". The resources allocated to the selected consortia are intended to finance the initial stages of a long-term cooperation. By promoting strategic university partnerships, the European Commission aims to create new infrastructure for research, teaching and innovation in Europe, and thereby to modernise and strengthen the European Education Area.
Before his transfer to the 4EU+ European University Alliance, Dr Volker Balli was Academic Director of the Studium Individuale at Leuphana University Lüneburg, an innovative programme of study, which allows bachelor students to personalise large parts of their curriculum in order to focus on complex challenges of our time. In this context, he also initiated and headed the Erasmus+ partnership CREATES between six European universities. Dr Balli was a member of the founding team of University College Freiburg, where he was in charge of the interdisciplinary Major Governance. Prior to that, the social scientist worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the universities of Bremen and Trento (Italy). Volker Balli graduated from the London School of Economics and King’s College London (Great Britain) with a degree in European Studies and went on to earn his master’s degree at the College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium). He completed his doctorate at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) with a thesis on the self-understanding of the European Union.