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University of the Greater Region begins to take shape

Major launch conference on Thursday, 30 April 2009
4-6 pm, Main Assembly Hall (Aula), Saarland University (Building A3 3)

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend (prior registration requested).

Facilitating cross-border studying and research is the common goal of the seven partner institutions of the 'University of the Greater Region'. The joint UGR project of the universities in Liege, Luxembourg, Nancy, Metz, Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken is currently in its conceptual stage. The Interreg project has a budget of around six million euros and is supported by the EU, the regional governments and the partner universities themselves.

The partner institutions will be using the launch conference to be held on 30 April 2009 at Saarland University to officially launch the UGR project and its implementation phase and to announce the UGR working plan and its specific goals.

The project aims, for instance, to simplify registration and enrolment procedures and to establish mutual recognition of academic credits. Additional goals include developing joint academic programmes and establishing cooperative programmes for doctoral research students. There will also be support for cross-border research projects and for shared access to research infrastructure. In future, the mobility of students and academic staff within the UGR will be the norm. A major internet portal will also be established offering numerous practical features for both students and researchers, such as a database that will include the entire spectrum of academic courses offered by the seven partner universities. The partner institutions also plan to introduce a common student ID card and there is even talk of a semester travel ticket to promote mobility between the various participating regions.

But visibility is all important, too, and the project will therefore be acquiring its own logo. In fact, the organizers have already held a UGR logo competition. Entries were submitted by around two hundred students from the five sub-regions Saarland and Rhineland Palatinate (Germany), Lorraine (France), Luxembourg, Wallonia (Belgium). The decision is now in the hands of the jury. The winning logos will be presented as part of the launch conference proceedings. The winners will receive their prizes from Joachim Rippel, the Minister for Economics and Science of Saarland, and Professor Bernard Rentier, President of the University of Liege.

The Council of the University of the Greater Region is made up not only of the presidents and rectors of the partner universities, but also politicians. Political representatives from all five participating regions will be at the launch conference to discuss the benefits of the UGR project and the concrete plans for its development. The roundtable discussion will involve the Governor of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, Bernard Caprasse, Germain Dondelinger from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg, the two Secretaries of State Dr Christian Ege (Saarland) and Michael Ebling (Rhineland Palatinate), and Jean-Pierre Moineaux, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Lorraine.

Adolf Muschg, the well-known Swiss author and enthusiastic advocate of an open and self-confident Europe, will be speaking to the conference on the subject of: "Universitas and/or Globalization - Where are we taking Europe?"

Journalists will have the opportunity to interview conference participants about specific aspects of the UGR project. After the official part of the conference has been completed, the partner universities cordially invite conference attendees to an informal get-together at which refreshments will be provided.

Contact: Sonja Karb, Office of the President of Saarland University, UGR Project Supervisor, Tel. +49 (0)681 302-3316, E-mail:

Irina Urig | idw
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