European Universities with their activities, teaching and research projects, as well as with their various alliances intend to promote a European identity, focus their work on current social challenges and improve the performance and competitiveness of the European higher education system. Further information on the European Universities Initiative can be found here:

Under the lead coordination of Paderborn University, COLOURS is now one of 50 European Universities alliances within Europe and it will receive funding of around 14 million euros from the European Commission over the next four years, starting in January 2024.

We’re committed to some transformative goals that drive our mission forward, as follows:

a) Reimagining Academic Excellence: Our first goal is to bring a fresh perspective to academic excellence. We aim to infuse it with innovation and diversity, akin to a vibrant palette. This means redefining traditional norms to create a more dynamic and COLOURful academic landscape.

b) Fostering Sustainable Regional Development: Our second objective is to play a key role in enhancing sustainable and participatory regional development across Europe. We aspire to set an example, serving as a model for more dynamic and inclusive regional innovation ecosystems.

c) Enabling the Triple Transition: The third goal is to contribute to the Triple Transition in European regions – the shift towards green, digital, and social progress. This involves embracing organisational and institutional changes to bolster the resilience and innovation capabilities of our territories.

These goals represent our commitment to bringing positive change, innovation and vibrancy to the European academic and regional landscape. We’re excited to embark on this journey, and we invite you to join us as we work towards a brighter, more COLOURful future.

Widely spread across Europe, all members of the COLOURS Alliance are universities with a self-proclaimed identity as regional drivers of innovation, expressed through a strong focus on teaching, research and knowledge transfer. What unites us is a deep commitment to apply open innovation methodologies to:

a) foster transformation capacities,

b) create innovation, and

c) contribute to a sustainable development of our diverse regions.

Together, all partners envision a world in which European higher education institutions play an active role as integrated partners in dynamic, regional innovation ecosystems. Each member of the COLOURS Alliance is a key player and accelerator of innovation in its regional innovation environment and has excellent connections with partners from academia, industry, public bodies and society.

Our exceptionally strong regional ties generate a powerful multiplier effect and give COLOURS members a unique opportunity to create and share knowledge with stakeholders from our own surrounding semi-urban areas.

Building upon our complementary strengths, the COLOURS partners will establish innovative forms of cooperation across national borders and institutional boundaries. In the COLOURS Alliance, the demand for a “double transition” as it is formulated in the European Growth Model, embracing a green and digital transformation, is complemented by a third transition – a social one.

This transition embraces organisational and institutional change within academic institutions and calls for new policy frameworks for territorial resilience.

By relating the European Growth Model and the Triple Transition to societal demands and systemic institutional innovation, the partners of the COLOURS Alliance will act as key drivers and role models of this triple transition in European regions.

COLOURS sees itself as a learning Alliance which strives to create a model for the European University and constantly adapts to changing needs of societal development. The solutions we identify in fostering learning, societal engagement and reducing administrative and regulatory barriers to student and staff mobility will be shared and broadly disseminated so that other European universities can profit as well. Many of the tools developed in COLOURS will also be used in our cooperation with other European and overseas partners. We will closely work with other European University Networks also on strategic level.

We drive change at three levels to contribute to the European Education Area development:

1) COLOURS Culture: Implementing change by developing a joint identity based on our joint values and training, creating role models and establishing processes to enable new formats.

2) COLOURS Structures: Driving change in internal structures and procedures through inter-university agreements and long-term alignment of our institutional strategies, e.g. a joint learning strategy, connecting our student administration systems, and achieving automatic recognition through reforming internal procedures.

3) COLOURS Policies: Promoting necessary change in national regulations and at industry level by developing solutions jointly with national stakeholders, other national and European Higher Education bodies and by highlighting the benefits of a joint European Education Area.

All COLOURS member institutions are committed to jointly develop their individual strategies, and to strengthen cohesion and complementarity in the future. The COLOURS External Advisory Board, consisting of local and regional stakeholders, will enable the COLOURS governance to remain a learning community, which constantly strives to overcome barriers to innovative European Education Area cooperation.

Within and beyond the COLOURS funding timeline, all Alliance partners will demonstrate how regionally embedded higher education institutions contribute to the triple transition by:

a) expanding the given notion of academic excellence, and

b) implementing sustainable strategic innovation ecosystems, enriching the diversity and resilience of European regions and the European Research and Education Landscape in times of global challenges.

Quadruple helices are to be deepened, broadened, will become n-tuple helices of co-creation and co-evolution.

More coming soon!