A refreshing week for change at the Open Space 2024

A refreshing week for change at the Open Space 2024

The one where everybody finds out

The Open Space, held from 28 to 31 May in Murcia, proved to be a very intense and high-spirited event. Staff members from around 30 European universities gathered to discuss the current issues pertaining to internationalisation efforts in higher education, share their experiences and ideas, and broaden their knowledge on project implementation and EU policies.

What ideas were floating in the air at the Open Space event? Soft skills gained during mobility translated into employability, boosting institutional knowledge to engage in Erasmus, university websites, better quality KA2 projects empowering academics, lump sum projects, the rise of AI, the role of “therapist IROs” in ensuring student well-being, incentivising internalisation, quality partnership evaluation, and the socio-economic impact of higher education from a sustainability perspective – these were the topics that most engaged the Open Space event participants, in the session rooms and during the coffee breaks.

The event offered excellent peer learning opportunities, while providing an important platform for networking. We were delighted to welcome many new colleagues from the EUF member institutions, as well as participants from outside the network. The event itself was organised in the context of the Project Manager and Advisor Community

The keynote speech, delivered by MEP Marcos Ros, focused on the impact of the Erasmus+ programme and future perspectives in light of the upcoming EU elections and changing policy priorities. Besides the overview of the policy context, workshops were held on topics such as Cooperation Partnerships, Alliances for Innovation, Capacity Building projects, and Erasmus Mundus Joint Degrees. The European project planning and implementation process was also thoroughly explored.

In addition to the presentations and interactive workshops, the backbone of the four-day event was the series of sessions where participants worked on their own ideas day by day. They were true change-makers, bringing and debating the topics on their minds, whether about initiatives to support their day-to-day work or achieve overarching policy goals. It was rewarding to see how the initial crumbs of ideas evolved into complex concepts through cooperation in small groups of similar interests. Some of these concepts were presented on the last day of the Open Space and focused on the management of EU lump sum projects, the provision of information and training of staff members of universities on Erasmus+ opportunities, and the soft skills acquired through mobility experiences. 

Of course, the programme did not lack elements to recharge our batteries. The atmospheric squares of Murcia, the ancient theatre of Cartagena, and the fantastic tapas plates provided a great setting for more informal discussions. 

We are grateful to the host of the event, the University of Murcia, for their warm and gracious hospitality, organisational efforts, and good vibes.

Thank you to the participants for their active involvement and the incredible energy they generated during the event.