Building Partnerships for Innovation and Peace: THE Europe Universities Summit hosted at Constructor University
dr serg bell photo
Dr. Serg Bell, Chairman of the Board of Constructor University, joined a discussion on the emergence of new technologies and their impact on universities. (source: Constructor University)

Universities, and the entire higher education sector, hold a unique position in helping create a long-lasting and sustainable positive impact for the future. This year’s Times Higher Education (THE) Europe Universities Summit, hosted at Constructer University in Bremen, provided a unique platform for representatives from academia, industry, politics and civil society to discuss this role. 345 attendees from 50 countries convened for discussions surrounding partnerships in higher education.

Throughout the event on April 23rd and 24th, participants focused on partnerships within higher education – amongst universities, between universities and industry partners, as well as between universities and civil society. Being able to host the conference on campus, allotted the opportunity for Constructor University to not only engage with top institutions and governmental organizations to initiate cooperations, but also establish brand awareness across the spectrum of higher education stakeholders with its new name. 

It is through cooperations that higher education institutions unlock their full potential for societal impact, stressed Dr. Stas Protasov, President of Constructor University in his opening words at the Summit. Joined by John Gill, Editor and Chief Content Officer at the Times Higher Education they kicked off the two-day Conference. Gill stated: “Universities are extraordinary institutions on their own, but they are much more extraordinary when they build partnerships.” In her welcome words, Irene Strebl, Deputy Minister for Science in the city-state of Bremen, underlined the function of partnerships as an expression of shared values and aspirations. Universities, she stressed, are not “isolated islands of knowledge”, but rather play a vital role in cultivating a sense of global citizenship and social responsibility.  

Under the keynote title “Future of higher education: Role of partnerships”, Constructor University’s Vice president of International Outreach and Public Engagement, Prof. Thomas Auf der Heyde, encouraged participants to explore the socio-political as well as socioeconomic roles universities play in society. Speakers touched on a variety of issues facing higher education today, from the need to make science more accessible to the general public, to the gap in university-based startup activities between Europe and North America.  

In spite of the Summit’s European focus, cooperations were discussed with a global reach in mind. In the session “Leadership reflections: New models for partnerships between universities”, Prof. Dr. Werner Nau, provost, vice-president and head of academic operations at Constructor University, discussed the importance of faculty exchanges for building strong partnerships between universities. With a view towards geopolitical challenges for the mobility of researchers, he highlighted the importance of the freedom of science. 

Besides the summit’s main theme of partnerships, participants focused on issues such as trends in European higher education as evidenced by the THE World University Rankings and factors in creating success for young universities. Dr. Serg Bell, Chairman of the Board of Constructor University, joined a discussion on the emergence of new technologies and their impact on universities: „The percentage of people involved in knowledge production is growing.“ Joined by Bell in the panel discussion was Nobel Prize Winner Konstantin Novoselov.

Other renowned speakers among the over 300 international participants included Roberta Basset, Global Head of Higher Education at the World Bank; Evelyn Welch, President of the University of Bristol; Yoan Villain, Presidential Advisor for International and European Affairs at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Balázs Hankó, State Secretary for Innovation and Higher Education at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation in Hungary; and Erika Kraemer-Mbula, Professor of Economics and Chair at the University of Johannesburg.

Questions answered by:
Daisy Juknischke-Heinsen | Corporate Communications | Tel.: +49 421 200-4532 

Media Contacts
Sandra Ruppel
Corporate Communications
Email Address
Phone number
+49 172 36 75 490