What is EC2U?

European Campus of City-Universities

The European Campus of City-Universities (EC2U) is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual Alliance consisting of seven long-standing, education- and research-led, locally and globally engaged universities from four diverse regions of the European Union: the University of Coimbra, the University of Iasi,  the University of Jena, the University of Pavia, the University of Poitiers (Coordinator),  the University of Salamanca and  the University of Turku.

It represents a community of 160 000 students and 20 000 staff, in direct reach to more than 1 600 000 citizens.

The Alliance’s ambition is to develop an innovative space allowing mobility to flow freely between the seven universities and associated cities. This model of openness will contribute to overcome clichéd views of regional and national identities and achieve a united and stronger Europe.

The Alliance will reach this ambition by creating a pan-European campus, connected by the common European identity, contributing to the creation of a smart higher education eco-system through a new model of quality education for an inclusive civic society. This unique model relies on the double vertical and horizontal integration strategy, producing synergies from education, research and innovation, from formal/non-formal/informal education, and from the involvement of academic communities, municipalities, higher education regulatory bodies, socio-economic entities, citizens.


Our Vision

In 2023, the EC2U Alliance will be characterised by:
a joint governance with shared resources
a joint campus life with culture/sports events
– customised joint Master programmes
based on selected UNSDGs: Good health & well-being, Quality education,
Sustainable cities & communities
– drastically increased and geographically balanced mobility
(physical, virtual, blended) of students and staff
– Virtual Institutes (VIs)
combining education, research and innovation in missions based on the aforementioned UNSDGs
– a unique partnership between academia, cities and socio-economic stakeholders
via the EC2U Forum.

The target for 2030
is to reach a true pan-European campus with:
– integrated governance
and federal budget
– inter-university campus life
– European Diplomas
and staff career plans with embedded/blended mobility
an extension of the Virtual Institute concept to the 17 UNSDGs
an annual EC2U Forum between academia and citizens
– European/international impact


Interview of Ludovic Thilly by ESNA (European Higher Education News)


University of Coimbra


Focused on the future and recognized as major promoter of change, the University of Coimbra has more than 7 centuries of experience in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, culture, science and technology through study, teaching, cutting-edge research and innovation in the most diverse areas of knowledge.

UC is the oldest university in Portugal and one of the oldest in the world, and its history goes back to century that followed the establishment of Portugal itself, as it was founded in 1290. The University spread throughout the city of Coimbra, while modifying its landscape and making of it a truly City-University, where you find a cosmopolitan academy.

The only Portuguese-language University until the beginning of the 20th century, has affirmed its position with a unique presence that gathers tradition, modernity and innovation, which was translated into the classification as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013.

For those who are searching the best education, research and innovation but also a lifetime experience – including many cultural initiatives, leisure and sports activities, as well as an intense academic life -, the UC is an excellent choice. Coimbra is above all an intense, unique and unforgettable experience, where students, staff and all that interact and participate in the wider university community share a strong and incomparable sense of belonging.

Compromised with its enormous prestige and international recognition, and along with the active participation of the academic community, the University of Coimbra has a central role on defining the future and contribute to the development and society well-being, aligned with the major principles of sustainability.

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University of Iasi


Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, the first modern university founded in Romania (in 1860), is constantly ranked 1 – 3 among Romanian universities in terms of research, education and institutional transparency. With about 23000 students and 2000 full-time staff in its 15 faculties, our university’s academic offer includes 80 degrees at bachelor level (4 in English, 1 in French), 116 master level programmes (14 in English, 1 in French) and 27 fields of study at the doctoral level (all offered in English as well).

Research at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi is top level, with a large participation in national and international research projects ( FP7, Horizon2020, COST, bi- and multi-lateral joint research projects, etc.).

Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi is the leader at national level in terms of Erasmus students and also overall Erasmus beneficiaries. Since 2011 the university has coordinated 4 Erasmus Mundus Action 2 projects and was a partner in 3 others. The current international cooperation of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi includes over 400 partnerships with universities in 28 EU and 27 non-EU countries, affiliations to some of the most important university networks and associations (the Coimbra Group, the Utrecht Network, EUA and AUF) and cooperation within more than 100 inter-institutional agreements on all continents.

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University of Jena


Founded in 1558, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena is one of the oldest universities in Germany. Once the centre of German philosophical thought, it has become a broad-based, research-intensive institution with a global reach and a thriving international community of more than 18,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from over 110 countries worldwide.

With its partners in academia, high-tech industry and top-level non-university research institutions, the University has established a strong network of cooperation and forms the centre of an internationally recognized, vibrant, and productive scientific and economic region in Central Germany.

The University of Jena pools its interdisciplinary research into three focal research areas: Light, Life, and Liberty.

  • Within the focal research area Light Jena is among the world’s leading research sites in optics and photonics. Light also comprises material and energy research combining these with cutting-edge research in bioscience and medicine.
  • The focal research area Life includes excellent basic and applied research in microbiology and biodiversity, with a strong emphasis on microbial communication processes and ecosystem research. Life also examines infection, inflammation, and ageing.
  • The focal research area Liberty combines humanities research on the Enlightenment and idealism, on romanticism, contemporary history, and social change.

The University also has a long history of excellence in learning and teaching. It has consistently been rated one of Germany’s best universities for the education and the support it provides to students from all backgrounds. This support has helped them become some of the much sought-after experts in a wide range of disciplines: in theology, law, economics and business administration, arts, social and behavioural sciences, mathematics and computer science, physics and astronomy, chemistry and earth sciences, biological sciences, and in medicine.

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University of Pavia


The University of Pavia (UNIPV) is one of the world’s oldest  academic institutions : it was founded in 1361 and until the 20th century it was The only University in the Milan Area and the region of Lombardy.

Today it is a comprehensive university, which covers all subject areas – Science and Technology, Science Engineering, Life Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences – and is composed of 18 Departments offering study programmes at all levels, from Bachelor’s degrees to Doctorate programmes. The academic staff counts more than 900 professors and researchers. 21,000 students, from both Italy and overseas, study at the University of Pavia.

The University is an active promoter of research in collaboration with the world’s most prestigious academic institutions; it has created 7 research centres based in Pavia and 21 in different sites in collaboration with other institutions, in addition to 42 interdepartmental research centres that carry out ongoing and interdisciplinary basic and applied research.

Pavia has been a city-campus since its foundation and even today it offers students a unique experience in Italy and rare in Europe: to study at one of 20 University colleges that are largely independent from the administrative structure of the University.

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University of Poitiers


Founded in 1431, the University of Poitiers is a multidisciplinary university which enrols 29 000 students, 4200 of which are international students from 120 different countries, supervised by 2700 staff members (administrative, teaching staff and researchers). Poitiers ranks 2nd in the overall ranking of major student cities in France in 2018-2019 and  is above the national average with 16% of foreign students.

The reason for this success lies in its wide and diversified range of programs. Offering courses from 5 main areas (Literature, Languages and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, Economy and Business Management, Sciences, Health, and Sport Sciences), the University of Poitiers promises well-rounded programs adapted to the fast evolution of the job market. The university merges 7 colleges, 5 institutes and 2 Higher Schools and has developed 200 national degrees in alignment with the Bologna process. All the courses are based on the ECTS system. 8 Doctoral Schools admit 950 PhD students and 180 theses are defended every year.

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University of Salamanca


The University of Salamanca was founded in 1218 and is one of the three oldest universities in Europe, boasting a wide range of Faculties and Research Institutes in Sciences and Arts. In 2011, it was awarded the Campus of International Excellence status. It is the university of reference in its region and beyond (Castile and León) and the “Alma Mater” of nearly all historical Latin American universities.

The University of Salamanca offers a wide range of Studies to about 26,000 pre-graduate students every year, plus about 3,000 post-graduate ones. The total number of teaching staff amounts to 2,600 and the total number of administrative staff who work for this institution is 1,500 and, along with the human resources, the magnitude of its facilities and the available up-to-date instrumental equipment guarantee the quality of a vast scientific and technologic offer to the society.

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University of Turku


The University of Turku (UTU) is an international research university and an active academic community of 25,000 students and staff members from over 100 different countries.  The University’s main campus is located in the historical city centre of Turku – close to the unique nature and archipelago of Southwest Finland. As one of the leading universities in Finland, the University of Turku offers study and research opportunities in seven faculties and seven special units. Thanks to the outstanding services, compact campus and active academic society, international students and scholars feel at home from the very beginning of their stay at the University of Turku, Finland!

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Numerous stakeholders take part in EC2U activities to achieve its goals. Click here to see who they are.

EC2U in numbers

  • 162 000


  • 9500

    Teachers & Researchers

  • 11 300


  • +600

    European projects granted since 2016

  • 1221

    Research articles jointly published

    by at least 2 and up to 5 EC2U universities between 2009-2018

  • 1 600 000

    Citizens in direct reach

Associated Partners

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