How do we scale up Africa-Europe academic and scientific cooperation?

This is how Universities in South Sweden and our African partners want to contribute

4 February 2022 | 13:00-15:30 | Event held digitally

In the European Commission’s policy communication towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa, it proposes that the EU partners with Africa to rapidly enhance learning, knowledge and skills, research and innovation capacities, and that it scales up EU-Africa academic and scientific cooperation with a view to creating a knowledge society and economy.

The role of universities and the capacities for African and European researchers to cooperate will be vital to deliver on this challenge. The universities that make up the network of Universities in South Sweden all have long-standing collaborations with African partners and a clear and strategic ambition to deepen these ties.

This event will present some examples of our current work and it will create a space for discussion on what are the shared needs and ambitions of European and African universities.

The event will also hear the thoughts of the European Commission on the future of EU-Africa cooperation through instruments such as Horizon Europe, in the wake of the EU-AU summit that will set out the joint strategy for the years ahead.

Read more and register for the event

Lärosäten Syd successful in the Horizon 2020 Green Deal call

The European Commission has officially launched the start of the 73 projects selected for funding under the Horizon 2020 European Green Deal Call worth €1 billion. This was the last call under Horizon 2020 and the funded projects will be a milestone on the road to achieving the European Green Deal objectives, contributing to the EU’s response to the twin climate and biodiversity crises while accelerating a fair and sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Five of the 73 projects feature one of our member universities from south Sweden:

  • Blekinge Institute of Technology is one of 30 partners in the project SESA (Smart Energy Solutions for Africa), from the call Accelerating the green transition and energy access partnership with Africa.
  • Lund University is one of 31 partners in the project PAUL (Pilot Application in Urban Landscapes towards integrated city observatories for greenhouse gases), from the call European Research Infrastructures’ capacities and services to address European Green Deal challenges.
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is one of 15 partners in the project StemBioAfrica (Innovative Large-Scale Production of Affordable Clean Burning Solid Biofuel and Water in Southern Africa: transforming bush encroachment from a problem into a secure and sustainable energy source), from the call Accelerating the green transition and energy access partnership with Africa.
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is one of 44 partners in the project MERLIN (Mainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwater-related ecosystems in a Landscape context: INnovation, upscaling and transformation), from the call Restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is one of 36 partners in the project SUPERB (Systemic solutions for upscaling of urgent ecosystem restoration for forest related biodiversity and ecosystem services), from the call Restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Moreover, from a south Swedish perspective, we also note that the city of Malmö is a partner in the project SchoolFood4Change, and the Helsingborg-based company GAIA BioMaterials participates as a partner in the project SISTERS on food waste reduction.

Read about the funded projects in detail (PDF)

Stronger collaboration for universities in south Sweden

The universities in south Sweden have a long-standing collaboration on education and research for a better resource utilisation and higher quality. Today, the network, Lärosäten Syd (Universities in South Sweden), strengthens its position even further as Linnaeus University joins the network.

The universities in south Sweden* have been collaborating for a long time on several areas within education, PhD programmes, research and administrative functions. The purpose is to achieve higher quality, better utilisation of resources and improved contacts with industry and society, benefiting students and universities as well as society at large. Together the universities in Lärosäten Syd have around 71 000 full time students, 15 000 employees and around SEK 18 billion in revenue (figures from 2019). This corresponds to around 25 % of the Swedish higher education sector in these areas. 

As of 8 December the network will grow as Linnaeus University joins as a member.

–With Linnaeus University we will have a stronger voice, both nationally and in Brussels via our shared Brussels office. We can also increase collaboration and coordination of our operations, for example the development of education pedagogy, joint PhD courses and networking within joint education programmes, says Mats Viberg, Vice-Chancellor of BTH, which this year holds the chairmanship of the network.

The purpose of the collaboration is to benefit students and examples of benefits is that the universities cooperate regarding development of education pedagogy for digital teaching, a very topical subject these days. Within specialist nursing education, the universities plan to collaborate regarding placements as well as offering students different activities across regional borders.

The universities also collaborate in the area of research regarding the EU framework programme for research and innovation. The network has as a goal to work for shared issues in a regional, national and international context where the universities can make a difference and contribute to even better and stronger regions.

For further information, contact the BTH Vice-Chancellor Mats Viberg via e-mail:
Read more about Lärosäten Syd on:

*Lund University, Malmö University, Halmstad University, Kristianstad University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH).

Lund University rector electus to speak at European policy conference

The incoming Rector of Lund University, Professor Erik Renström, will take part as a speaker at an important digital policy conference on 18 January. The conference – Knowledge for a Better World: The need for Sustainability and Collaboration in a disruptive age – is organised by the Norwegian university NTNU, Elsevier and UnILiON. UnILiON is the network of universities that have a Brussels representative office, in which Lärosäten Syd is a member.

This conference will represent an opportunity to discuss the contribution that Universities provide in terms of research, innovation and education to sustainable development, and to debate on models and approaches that could be applied in the future.

Professor Erik Renström vill take part in one of the panels, and Lund University has been selected to share our testimonials as we are considered leading in the area of international climate collaboration (UN SDG 13).

Read more about the NTNU European Conference 2020

Learn more about collaborative projects in the upcoming EU research and innovation framework programme – Horizon Europe

Welcome to this webinar series, organised by the universities in Lärosäten Syd. The series will present the opportunities for collaborative research and innovation in Horizon Europe.

The European Union’s next framework programme for research and innovation – Horizon Europe – will begin on 1 January 2021. The largest part of the budget will go to the part, or pillar, of the programme called Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness. This pillar funds collaborative research and innovation projects requiring partners from at least three countries. Participating in such projects is a great opportunity to further researchers’ international networks, and thereby careers.

The pillar is divided into six thematic clusters. We organise a series of five webinars to cover all six clusters. During each webinar, you will get a short introduction to Horizon Europe and learn more about the purpose and context of each cluster, as well as first information about the draft topics and calls that are planned for 2021-2022. The various missions that will features in Horizon Europe will also be covered.

Read more and register

Information meeting about COST

Date: 13 February 2020

Venue: Malmö universitet

Address: Hörsal G8:125, Gäddan, Citadellsvägen 7

Organised by: Lärosäten Syd, the network of Universities in South Sweden

COST stands for European Cooperation in Science and Technology and is a funding organisation for research and innovation networks. COST is Europe’s longest-running programme to promote transnational cooperation between researchers from all over Europe.

Through so called COST Actions, research initiatives across Europe and beyond get connected and enable researchers and innovators to grow their ideas in any science and technology field, including social sciences and humanities, by sharing them with their peers. COST Actions are bottom-up networks with a duration of four years that boost research, innovation and careers.

Networking achieved through COST Actions has proven to be a beneficial stepping stone towards building consortia with European partners that go on to apply and receive funding from the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, currently Horizon 2020.

At this information day, you will learn more about COST Actions from the COST secretariat based in Brussels and understand how it can boost your own research career. You will also hear first-hand experience from peers across Lärosäten Syd, who are and have been engaged in COST Actions. The meeting will be held in English.


12:00 – 13:00        Registration and lunch

13:00 – 13:05        Welcome address

  •  Per Hillbur, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Malmö University

13:05 – 13:10        Introduction to COST in the context of European collaborative research projects

  • Rickard Eksten, Brussels representative & Senior EU Policy Officer, Lärosäten Syd

13:10 – 14:00        Participate in COST Actions and submit a proposal

  • Christer Halén, Senior Administrator – Science Operations, COST Association

14:00 – 14:15        Coffee break

14:15 – 15:15        What are the benefits from participating in COST? Examples of experience and best practice

  • Martin Persson, Professor of Health Science, Högskolan Kristianstad & COST Action Chair for European Cleft and Craniofacial Initiative for Equality in Care
  • Markus Fiedler, Professor at Department of Technology and Aesthetics, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola
  • Roger Johansson, Professor at the Institute for Urban Research, Malmö University
  • Jens Rydström, Professor at Department of Gender Studies, Lund University

15:15 – 15:35        National participation in COST and nomination procedures

  • Birgitta Boman, COST National Coordinator, Vinnova

15:35 – 16:00        Q&A

Register to attend the information meeting

Lärosäten Syd joins leadership of Brussels university network

A new year has begun and since 1 January, our Brussels office is part of the secretariat of the network UnILiON during 2020. UnILiON stands for Universities Informal Liaison Offices Network and is a network that brings together the universities that have an own representation in Brussels. It is therefore an important source of information and intelligence about future policies and programmes, as well as a platform giving insight into how other European universities organise their European work. The secretariat consists of seven individuals from the same number of offices, and is the body that coordinates the work in the network.

In addition, since the start of the year, Lärosäten Syd is also chair of UnILiON’s Horizon Europe working group, which is a channel for exchanging information about the upcoming framework programme.

Collaborating towards a Horizon Europe mission on climate-neutral cities by and for citizens

On 4 December, Lärosäten Syd – the network of Universities in South Sweden – together with the other south Swedish Brussels offices – Skåne European Office, Småland Blekinge Halland South Sweden, Skåne Association of Local Authorities and City of Malmö EU Office – co-organised a policy event in Brussels to present the main wishes and expectations of south Swedish actors on the Horizon Europe mission on cities, as well as to discuss with European partners the main recommendations for the implementation of the mission.

The following points summarise the discussions between the speakers, the respondents and the audience. They should not be interpreted as an official position of the organisers, but rather a recount of the main points raised which found general agreement in the room.

  • The mission should refer to climate neutral cities – a short and clear mission to facilitate a clear commitment. Smartness is an enabler for climate neutrality. Climate neutrality is the most useful concept to frame the idea behind the mission. The mission should recognise the co-benefits coming from climate-neutrality.
  • The mission should target all sizes of cities, including small and medium-sized ones, as well as metropolitan regions.
  • It is vital to involve students in research, and universities have an important role in building capacity for the future through for example MOOCs and exchange programmes between academia and cities.
  • To fully involve citizens, it is important to consider the design of participatory processes carefully, to be aware of who we invite to participate and the method of participation – from consultation, collaboration, coordination and co-design. Universities have an important role to play in facilitating this process, for example in mapping and critically analysing the target group to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable are not left behind during rapid societal transitions.
  • ‘Smartness’ does not only need to be technology-driven. Urban green spaces is a well-documented response to many contemporary urban challenges. Smart is also to allow longsighted thinking (e.g. to work with nature instead of against it), and to work with engagement to set the necessary goals and create a partnership where nature is allowed to inspire our governance system in cities – a governance system that is holistic, cross-disciplinary and longsighted.
  • There is a real risk that any gains in the selected climate neutral cities may be lost through carbon emission increases resulting from other funding streams (i.e. funding outside the focus area of the mission) – for example highway construction that induces vehicular traffic and sprawling cities. The success of the missions must be considered in the context of wider planetary climate-neutrality.
  • Transport is a difficult area to decarbonise. Substituting internal combustion engines for electric vehicles will help reduce vehicle emissions, but will not address the long distances, high embodied energy of low density development. By contrast, planning for more compact urban patterns inherently better suits the climate-neutral city agenda – reducing vehicular travel demands, lowering embodied energy, and supporting efficient public transport.
  • Predictive maintenance and district heating and cooling offer opportunities for energy savings and can be adapted to local and regional contexts.
  • Local scientific policy advisory boards, as championed in Lund, is one example of how citizens can be meaningfully engaged in the transition to climate-neutrality.
  • The mission must be transparent in the language it is using around costs. The transition will involve costs.
  • Many cities in south Sweden have done all the ‘easy stuff’. Now it is the complicated things that are left to achieve. Accelerators will be needed and companies have a vital role to play here.
  • National support systems are important. EU investment will create more value added and leverage and situations where there is a national and regional support system for the climate transition in place.

You can access the full presentations by our speakers here:

Download the event agenda.

For further information about the event and the collaboration in south Sweden, please contact:

Nordic University Days attracts high-profile attention from key EU policymakers in Brussels

The Nordic University Days were organised for the first time in Brussels on the 9-10 September 2019. Lärosäten Syd was one of the organisers of this event.

The objective of the event was to bring high level Nordic university representatives together with a shared commitment to raise awareness of the importance of research, education and science-based innovation to high level EU policy makers. The programme involved several meetings with Nordic university representatives and high level EU policy makers. Here are some of the highlights of the programme.

  • Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General of DG Research and Innovation from the European Commission, gave an overview of Horizon Europe implementation, strategic planning, missions and partnerships.
  • Georg Riekeles, Diplomatic Adviser to Michael Barnier, responsible of the Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the UK, gave a state of play on Brexit negotiations
  • Carlos Moedas, the outgoing Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation, presented his main achievements and reflections based on his five years’ term as a Commissioner
  • Breakfast meeting with Nordic MEPs from Sweden, Denmark and Finland

The Nordic University Days were organised by Lärosäten Syd, Helsinki EU Office, LUT University, NTNU, University of Bergen, Central Denmark EU Office/Aarhus University and Greater Copenhagen EU Office in cooperation with the university associations in Norway, Sweden (SUHF) and Denmark.

Download the full report from the event (PDF)