Five months after the first online meeting of the enlarged EELISA Governing Board (you can read the statement dated April 19 here), the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) is hosting the first on-site meeting of the EELISA Governing Board. The meeting will be held on October 1, 2021 and will coincide in time and location with the Kick-off meeting of EELISA InnoCore (EELISA INNOvation and COmmon REsearch Strategy) from Sept 30 to Oct 1, 2021.
Alberto Garrido, EELISA Alliance Coordinator and UPM Vice-Rector for Quality and Efficiency, and Asunción Gómez-Pérez, InnoCore Coordinator and UPM Vice‑Rector for Research, Innovation & Doctoral Studies, give us some details regarding these two important milestones in the development of EELISA:
Can you explain what is the main role of the EELISA Governing Board?
The Governing Board is the official and highest decision-making body of the Alliance. It is composed of 14 members including the Rectors, Presidents and Director of the institutions along with representatives of academics and researchers, students, staff, and external counsellors. This Board defines the strategy and adopts key decisions which enable the development and implementation of academic and scientific cooperation programs. These programs will foster the collaboration between students, faculty, staff, and external partners from public institutions, the business sector, and civil society with the ultimate goal of addressing societal challenges.
And what are the main objectives of this first face-to-face meeting?
The agenda includes points related to all the relevant goals of the Alliance, including the definition of the EELISA Communities, the Credentials, the EELISA Supplementary Diploma and the EELISA Degree. The Executive Board and the Work Package Leaders are working around the clock to prepare position papers on all these areas that the Governing Board will consider and hopefully agree upon. The meeting will also serve to check the health of the Alliance, take stock of its achievements and discuss the strategy for the following two years.
Why is this Governing Board taking place now?
This Governing Board meeting is happening when all EELISA Boards have been appointed, its members have acquainted themselves with one another, Work Package teams are working actively and many formal and informal consensus have already been reached in many areas. It is time now to reach formal agreements upon the fundamental areas of cooperation. The outcomes will enable all our institutions to share a clear definition of the Alliance, its cooperation instruments, and programs with the students, faculty, and staff, while envisioning an increase in the levels of involvement and participation of our students and faculty members in the Alliance’s activities.
From your point of view, what are the key elements to boost students’ participation?
EELISA’s mission is to blend academic excellence and societal impact. Thus, it is key to offer our students ample room and opportunities to broaden their training and education beyond their particular academic and professional disciplines. To this extent, our ambition is that, in just a few years, all of our students will be involved in EELISA Communities, collaborating with other fellow students, faculty, and staff from all of the Alliance’s institutions along with external agents. This will enable them to achieve an excellent education background while understanding societal challenges and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.
And, as EELISA’s Coordinator, which do you think are the main challenges faced by the Alliance in its second year?
At this moment, I think the main challenge is to keep the momentum and enthusiasm gathered from day one, and adopt the required consensus to pave the way for the engagement of thousands of students and faculty members. EELISA’s diversity, being an asset and a treasure, includes institutions of different size and approaches, with a centuries-old successful history. The EELISA Governing Board, with all our preparatory work and reflection process, will carefully craft innovative means to ensure that history is broadened and enriched, never compromised or impaired.
This interview was first published on EELISA website.