St. Pölten, 23 May 2024 – The 33rd EURASHE Annual Conference ends at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences after one-and-a-half days of inspiring discussions, speeches, and new connections being created.


Every year, EURASHE brings together the higher education community to discuss and draft a shared path on relevant topics for the present and future of education. In 2024, the 33rd Annual Conference took place at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, leader of the of the European University Alliance E³UDRES² (Engaged and Entrepreneurial European University as Driver for European Smart and Sustainable Regions).

The Conference focused on transnational cooperation between universities and brought together more than 200 experts from all over Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, overall representing more than 30 different countries.

I am happy to have had our Conference here in St. Pölten. Each year the conference is different and that’s what makes EURASHE conferences so interesting. Here at this new campus people get a feeling of how fast-changing the sector is. And we had a great diversity of people at the Conference this year, including guest from all around the world.

John Edwards

Secretary General, EURASHE

Strengthening international cooperation

The theme of this year’s Conference was “Stronger Together: Fostering Transnational Cooperation in Applied Universities”. Building on the experience of the European Universities Initiative, the Conference presented examples of transnational cooperation between universities of applied sciences in Europe and abroad.

European Commission Director Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot opened the event with an inspiring keynote speech, while Pedro Teixeira, former Portuguese Secretary of State for Higher Education, gave a provocative presentation about the mission of European Universities Alliances. Participants enjoyed five plenary sessions discussing transnational cooperation from different angles, e.g. policy, collaboration with extra-European institutions, and the involvement of students.

In addition, the event offered stimulating breakout sessions on quality assurance, lifelong learning, applied research, and local and regional impact, plus a focus on European-funded projects and the latest updates from the three EURASHE Communities of Practice.

Overall, all discussions emphasised that no matter the continent we are based in, we all share the same challenges and for this we need to push for deeper collaboration between our institutions.

In order to develop solutions for the diverse challenges of our time, we need to contribute knowledge and experience from different areas and develop creativity. Individual universities can usually only achieve a limited impact if the available forces are not sufficiently pooled. International cooperation and university alliances are therefore crucial for forward-looking developments.

Hannes Raffaseder

CEO of St. Pölten UAS and President of EURASHE

EURASHE: A significant voice in the European Higher Education Area

The Conference highlighted the primary role that universities of applied sciences need to play in order to generate impact in the Higher Education sector as a whole. EURASHE is and always has been a voice for applied universities, representing their interests and wishes in several high-profile forums and working groups.

In addition, EURASHE fosters collaborative relationships with the highest tiers of European Union institutions. In the words of Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot:

It’s important that we have a diversity of voices in Europe and EURASHE is a very important voice for universities of applied sciences. These institutions bring in a different perspective. Typically, they are very rooted in the local or regional context; they are close to the labour market and they are very innovative. So we need EURASHE to bring in their perspective and come up with new ideas on how we can make transnational cooperation work better at European level.

Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot

Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+, European Commission

In short, the 33rd EURASHE Annual Conference was a success. To all those who joined us in St. Pölten: we could not have done it without you, and for this we are grateful. If you missed the chance to travel to Austria, do not worry! There are many more upcoming opportunities to discover EURASHE and our work, which you can find out about here.

We now turn our heads to next year’s Conference, which will take place at the Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre (Portugal) on 14-15 May 2025. We hope to see you there!

33rd AC Group