European Universities of Circle U. Meet in Pisa to Discuss Societal Engagement

European Alliance Partners Collaborate to Develop Interaction Processes between Universities and Civil Society

Following two intense days of activities, meetings, and laboratory visits, the kick-off meeting of the Societal Engagement working package (WP5) of Circle U. concluded in Pisa. Circle U. is a University Alliance comprising the University of Pisa and eight other European universities: Aarhus University (Denmark), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), King’s College London (UK), Université Paris Cité (France), University of Belgrade (Serbia), Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), University of Oslo (Norway), and University of Vienna (Austria).


Led by Professor Alessio Cavicchi, representatives from the partner universities convened in Pisa to collaborate over the next four years on initiatives aimed at fostering direct interaction between universities and civil society, as well as the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The objective is to promote economic and social growth within the region. Among these initiatives, notable is the establishment of the InCU.bator, a platform designed to promote entrepreneurship opportunities for students, including challenges, hackathons, boot camps, and other innovative formats.


On Monday, the guests were greeted by Rector Riccardo ZucchiVice Rector Giuseppe IannacconeVice Rector for Cooperation and International Relations Giovanni Federico Gronchi, and several other members of the academic community involved in the project in various capacities. Among them were Francesco Lorenzoni and Sariel Vita, representatives from Pisa’s CUSU, the Circle U. Student Union bringing together students from the nine universities.


Demonstrating the commitment to local connections, on Tuesday, the Circle U. working group relocated to the Technological Pole of Navacchio. Here, they engaged with representatives from some associated partners of the Alliance. Alongside hosts Andrea Di Benedetto, President, and Silvia Marchini, responsible for the start-up area at the Pole, attendees included Frida Scarpa, councilor for relations with university institutions of the Municipality of Pisa, and Iulia Apreotesei from the Tour4U association. Opportunities for collaboration were discussed, offering international visibility to local initiatives and events. Foreign guests also had the chance to attend presentations from spin-off companies of the University of Pisa residing at the Technological Pole (Proxima RoboticsWeabiosEchoes) and tour the CrossLab facility.


“Circle U. presents a tremendous opportunity for the university community and the entire region,” commented Professor Alessio Cavicchi. “On the one hand, it offers the chance to expand research and educational horizons; on the other, it provides the opportunity to gain international reach and visibility. This applies both in terms of attracting talent and capital from abroad and in terms of disseminating and promoting the excellence we have within the region. Achieving this will require increasingly close dialogue between universities and local communities, as well as between universities and public administrations”.


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