30th annual conference

EURASHE had organised its 30th Annual Conference as a fully only event together with its members the Portuguese Polytechnics Coordinating Council (CCISP) , the Polytechnic Institute of Porto and with the support of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Universities of applied sciences’ leaders, the entire community of professional higher education, European businesses and public institutions and European students’ representatives were invited to attend the Annual Conference to share their experience and learn about trends, models and inspiring practices.


May 2021

Porto| Online

Download icon

Conference Report

Video icon

Conference video

Theme and rationale

The concept of sustainable development, which is fundamental for the European Union, is based on a sizeable holistic approach to a whole range of interlinked global challenges. The Union, represented by the European Commission, has been instrumental in preparing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by United Nations in 2015. In 2017 Member States reached the new European Consensus on Development, “Our world, our future, our dignity” which set up the EU response to Agenda 2030. The suitable development will also be in the heart of the political agenda for the next European Commission (2019-2024).


Thursday 20 May 2021 | Professional Higher Education and sustainability

  • 00-10.10 | Welcome and introduction of the day by the moderator.
  • 10:25 – 11:10 | Welcoming panel discussion. Future perspectives of Professional Higher EducationStéphane Lauwick / Pedro Dominguinhos / José Barros Oliveira
  • 11:10 – 11:20 | Mariya Gabriel – video message.
  • 11:20 – 11:30 | Coffee break
  • 11:30 – 12:15 | Keynote speech by Anita Lehikoinen.
  • 13:15 – 14:00 | Panel discussion on European Universities initiative Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Jakub Grodecki, Karl Dittrich Nuno Rodrigues.
  • 14:00 – 15:00 | Parallel interactive sessions
  • 00 – 15.30 | Cultural programme offered by the Polytechnic Institute of Porto
  • 30 – 17:00 | Panel discussion. Maximising PHE potential in European Research and Education area: ambitions for the sustainability driven future. Maria da Graça Carvalho, Nadim Ahmad, Hilligje van’t Land, Ana Tecilazić, Stijn Delauré. Moderated by Richard Thorn.
  • 00 – 17.30 | Wrap up of the day and presentation of the Conference’s second day

Friday 21 May 2021 | Driving the smart and sustainable economic recovery of regions

  • 50 – 10.00 |Welcome and introduction of the day by the moderator
  • 00 – 10.45 | Keynote speech by Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms
  • 45 – 11.45 | Keynote speech by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President, Club of Rome
  • 45 – 12.00 | Coffee break
  • 12:00 – 13:00 | Parallel interactive sessions
  • 00 – 14.00 | Networking lunch
  • 14:00-15:30 Panel discussion. Professional higher education for smart and sustainable recovery. Celia Reis, Jon Altuna, Jiří Nantl, New EURASHE President, Thomas Berger. Moderated by Joseph Ryan.
  • 30-16.00 |Cultural programme offered by the Polytechnic Institute of Porto
  • 00-16.30 | Take away from the Conference
  • 30-17.00 | Closing the Conference and announcing the Annual Conference 2022

*Content discussed in parallel interactive sessions detailed in full rationale report/program

Following are the keynote speakers of the event:

Anita Lehikoinen

Ms Anita Lehikoinen was appointed Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Education and Culture on 1 May 2013. LinkedIN

Sandrine Dixson-Declève

Sandrine Dixson-Declève is currently the Co-President of the Club of Rome. Linkedin

Elisa Ferreira

Elisa Ferreira is the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms. Learn more

Mariya Gabriel

Mariya Gabriel is the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Learn more   Following are the speakers of the panel discussions:

Ana Tecilazić

Ana Tecilazić is the Secretary General of the Algebra University College. LinkedIN

Hilligje van’t Land

Dr. Hilligje van’t Land serves the global higher education community as Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU) – global NGO with UNESCO Associate Status. LinkedIN

Jiří Nantl

Jiří Nantl is Deputy Governor of the South Moravia Region in the Czech Republic. LinkedIN

Jon Altuna

Academic Vice-Rector at Mondragon University since 2011. LinkedIN

Denise Amyot

Denise Amyot is the President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada (formerly ACCC). LinkedIN

Gohar Avetisyan

Gohar is PhD course graduate, PMP, researcher in Economics, Master of Business Administration, Head of International Cooperation at European University Foundation.

Dimitri Corpakis

Dimitri Corpakis, is an independent expert, writing and talking on innovation, growth and technological change. An engineer and planner by training, LinkedIN

Ulf-Daniel Ehlers

Ulf-Daniel Ehlers is the Vice-President of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Stuttgart (Germany) and responsible for Quality and Academic Affairs in the Board of the university. LinkedIN

Laura Eigbrecht

Laura Eigbrecht has been a researcher at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University at the Chair of Education Management and Lifelong Learning since 2019. LinkedIN

Ülle Ernits

Ülle has been the Rector of Tallinn Health Care College in Estonia since 2006. LinkedIN

Marek Frankowicz

Specialist in Theoretical Chemistry and expert on Higher Education reforms. LinkedIN

Luis Coelho

He is Assistant Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of Escola Superior de Tecnologia (ESTSetubal) of Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal (IPS) since September 1997 and Invited Assistant Professor at the Higher Institute of Engineering of Lisbon (ISEL) of the Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon, since September 2014. LinkedIN

Luis Miguel Pinho

Luis Miguel Pinho is Pro-President of the Polytechnic of Porto (P.PORTO) for the areas of Research and Innovation. LinkedIN

Birgitte Woge Nielsen

Birgitte is the project manager for courses on the 17 SDG for lecturers at VIA University College in Denmark. LinkedIN

Gabriele Permoser

Gabriele Permoser has a master degree in political sciences from the University of Vienna. LinkedIN

Ulla Preeden

Since 2016, Ulla is the Rector of Tartu Health Care College in Estonia. LinkedIN

Hannes Raffaseder

Hannes Raffaseder studied communication engineering and computer music in Vienna. LinkedIN

Vahram Soghomonyan

Vahram holds a PhD in Technical Science and is an Associate professor at the chair of Information Technologies and Applied Mathematics.

Katalin Szondy

Katalin Szondy has been working as Head of Service Unit Higher Education Development and Section Head Programme Development at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences since 2013. LinkedIN

Tine Ternest

Tine Ternest is head of internationalisation at VIVES University of Applied Sciences since 2016. LinkedIN

Richard Tuffs

Richard Tuffs was director of the ERRIN network (www.errin.eu) from October 2010 to August 2017. LinkedIN

Lies Verstraete

Lies Verstraete graduated as a geographer from the University of Ghent, after which she started an additional study in Conflict and Development. LinkedIN

Joseph Ryan

Joseph Ryan is Chief Executive Officer for the Technological Higher Education Association. LinkedIN

Richard Thorn

Richard is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (he holds Bachelor and Doctorate degrees in science) and the Institute of Public Administration (MA in Public Management). LinkedIN
Programme Committee

Find below the EURASHE Annual Conference Programme Committee members. The primary role of this committee is mainly to select the relevant contributions for the sessions, give feedback on the programme, and support the Conference by facilitating some sessions (if needed).

Themis Kaniklidou

Dr. Themis Kaniklidou is Associate Professor of Translation Studies at Hellenic American University. LinkedIN

Mariana Ivanova

Prof. Mariana Ivanova, Ph.D. Vice-Rector Educational activities and International cooperation at University of agribusiness and rural development – Plovdiv, Bulgaria.


Hannes Raffaseder

Hannes Raffaseder studied communication engineering and computer music in Vienna.

Thomas Berger

Thomas Berger has been head of the EU liaison office of the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Fulda since 2016. LinkedIN

Roosa Veijola

Roosa Veijola is a European Policy Advisor at University of Applied Sciences Students in Finland (SAMOK). LinkedIN