H2020-SwafS 32-2020 Call: Support for the Research and Innovation Dimension of European Universities

Since its inception, the European University Network FORTHEM has boosted cooperation between its participating institutions. FIT FORTHEM plans to intensify common R&I activities, promote joint concepts and strategies, foster the co-creation of science, and reduce inequalities between members by sharing good practices and resources, both technological and human.

FIT FORTHEM will promote well-functioning living FORTHEM Labs that are excellent in teaching and in research and will encourage them to turn into a breeding place of solid innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Knowledge and structures will be built up in such a way that they can easily be jointly used.

Activities will be supported by seven FORTHEM Labs, designed to advance collaborative research and establish new forms of cooperation. These co-creation labs will formulate needs and test new models and be the incubators of transformation in FIT FORTHEM.


Modelling a quadruple-helix transformation approach in cooperation between academia, industry, governance, and citizens to set the future research agenda of our universities in the framework of each institution’s local context.

Developing joint Open Science Policies, to be discussed and shared with the other European Universities Networks taking into account new concepts of a more crosslinked and digitized science, new forms of cooperation and communication.

Widening and sharing the FORTHEM networks and their outreach dimension by joining forces with other alliances, and thus being an important consultant for the European Commission for the further development of the European University Networks

Eliminating site-specific disadvantages both of institutions and for researchers and students by sharing infrastructures, technologies, knowledge, and services

Developing new models, processes and support structures to strengthen cross-institutional and alliance-wide cooperation on all key issues. It will be based on regional clusters, integrating national initiatives and keeping an overall European perspective, in the field of education and in research and innovation activities.

Developing strong joint expert services open to all researchers of the Alliance in order to boost transnational cooperation and professionalization in research management at all partner institutions. In addition, it will open new career perspectives for researchers and managers, and to underpin and facilitate excellent research with excellent support services.  

FIT FORTHEM promote an efficient pooling of resources – human and technical – rather than a mere accumulation. FORTHEM researchers will benefit from brain and knowledge circulation as a result of the joint work within the alliance. By representing very diverse educational systems and countries, FORTHEM promotes a closer rapprochement at a time of declining confidence in Europe and in democratic systems.



FIT FORTHEM builds on the overarching idea that institutional transformation processes require strategic top-down management of ideas but are based on key bottom-up approaches and a broad acceptance of necessary changes. FIT FORTHEM provides the unique opportunity for upscaling the output and outreach dimension of the FORTHEM Labs by strengthening their research activities and by testing new forms of trans-institutional, trans-disciplinary and inter-sectoral cooperation. Transformation processes in this field will mainly be initiated by replacing single institutional approaches with common strategies and the exchange of best practices to be rolled out in the Alliance.

The methodology is based on five key elements.

  1. A multi-national, cultural context approach used to identify and engage specific relevant target groups, taking advantage of Universities forming FORTHEM by developing methodologies and outputs valid and replicable for other European Universities.
  2. A multi-strand approach that takes into account different modes of communication to use them to systematically foster societal engagement in science and effectively reach different target groups.
  3. A multi-stakeholder approach that methodically engages all actors of the quadruple innovation system toward participatory research and innovation: scholars and scientists, business sector, public policy stakeholders and citizens.
  4. A multi-topic approach that analyses scientific and societal topics of interest in the FORTHEM Labs as case studies in the co-designed activities
  5. A multi-disciplinary approach that is also guaranteed by the challenge-based multidisciplinary projects and outputs of the FORTHEM Labs



Johannes Gutenberg- Universität Mainz
Université de Bourgogne
Jyväskylän Yliopisto University of Jyväskylä
Uniwersytet Opolski
Universita' degli Studi di Palermo
Latvijas Universitate
Universitat de València

Images gallery

FIT FORTHEM in media

  • Seven European universities initiatie a project to strengthen collaboration in research and innovation Universitat de València