Addressing Future Challenges – Delivering Sustainable Societal Transformation Today
56 393 Students
56 Associate Partners
9 Universities
53 Faculties
3 214 STAFF
29 Research Centers

Applied, Connected, Entrepreneurial and Engaged – European University (ACE2-EU)

Addressing Future Challenges – Delivering Sustainable Societal Transformation Today

Our Mission

The mission of the Applied, Connected, Entrepreneurial and Engaged European University (ACE2-EU) is to equip our students, staff, researchers, and external stakeholders with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to collectively address future challenges. Addressing these challenges, including the twin digital and green transitions and socio-economic issues, will deliver sustainable societal transformation, benefiting not only our regions and the EU, but society in general. To fulfil our mission, we employ our distinctive ACE2-EU approach, collaborating with external stakeholders to create joint learning opportunities and activities that engage all mission areas of our universities. We embrace challenge-based and work-based methodologies in partnership with external stakeholders to develop flexible and innovative educational, research, innovation, and service to society learning opportunities. These are crafted by multidisciplinary European knowledge creation teams comprising students, staff, researchers, and stakeholders. Our European inter-university campus is dedicated to a common vision and shared values, incorporating an inclusive student-centred joint governance and management structure, and a shared pool of resources that includes staff and operational units. Key operational units and systems include our: APP Factory which develops joint student-centred, challenge-based learning opportunities, including short programmes and full degrees; ARIES Incubator focused on stimulating and creating joint research & innovation activities, nurturing entrepreneurship, and supporting the development of our research community; SPACE Centre which co-creates joint service to society activities and promotes cultural awareness; and our e-Campus digital platform. In living our mission, we will foster and promote the core European Union values and objectives, including multiculturalism and multilingualism, thereby strengthening European identity across our alliance.

Our Members

The nine member Universities of ACE2-EU are drawn from a broad range of different types of higher education institutions across Europe (including the west Balkans), and include Research Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences, Polytechnic Universities, Medical Universities and Universities of Culture and the Arts. We deliberately decided to combine a broad range of university types from different national and cultural contexts in Europe as it allows us to:

  • Expose our students, staff, and other stakeholders to the broadest possible spectrum of university, cultural, and linguistic environments while participating in our joint learning opportunities, thereby allowing them to take advantage of the benefits of our diverse higher education settings and pedagogical approaches;
  • Establish unique multiuniversity-type and multidisciplinary, European Knowledge Creation Teams to develop and deliver transdisciplinary solutions to address future challenges;
  • Share an extensive range of best practice approaches applied by the different university types of Europe, to the development and delivery of education, research, innovation, and service to society programmes and activities.



Although the evolutionary pathway of our member universities differs, their individual and collective primary mission focus aligns. All have extensive and impressive track records in the creation of innovative solutions in partnership with different stakeholders from industry, business, society, and government; focused on addressing future challenges thereby delivering sustainable societal transformation for the benefit of their stakeholders and society overall. It is this common mission focus which binds, motivates, and drives our alliance members collaborative strategy, workplan, and collective efforts.

The members of the alliance through their work together and use of collaborative challenge-based and applied approaches in the design and delivery of their joint education, research, innovation, and service to society learning  opportunities and activities seek to not only deliver sustainable societal transformation for the benefit of all; they will also drive the continued enhancement of the European Education Area and its associated objectives, principles, and values and in particular the development of European Universities in terms of their quality, international competitiveness, attractiveness, and capacity to act as models of good practice.

Prior to the initiation of ACE2-EU in 2022, our member Universities collaborated with each other on an individual basis and forged strong ties in teaching, research, innovation, service to society, and mobility activities. Since the establishment of ACE2-EU our members have intensified their collective collaborative efforts through:

  • The formal establishment of ACE2-EU in 2023;
  • The signing of an Erasmus Multilateral Agreement by our member universities;
  • The delivery of our first pilot challenge-based programme focused on improving respect, tolerance and diversity.

Achieving all of the above has required significant collaborative engagement, which has led to the establishment of a number of working groups and joint teams, including our Mission, Vision, and Long-Term Strategy Group, and our Presidents/Rectors and Vice-Presidents Steering Group. Our working groups and joint teams have held numerous meetings both online and face to face. On top of this, we have initiated the first element of our e-Campus with the establishment of our website.

The member Universities of ACE2-EU are drawn from, and evenly distributed across, all the regions of the EU (including having a member from the Balkan countries) with a view to optimising the level of integration, inclusion, multiculturalism, and multilingualism which our European University can provide.  The members of ACE2-EU and their countries of origin along with a visual representation of the spread of our European University members across the EU regions is provided in the diagram below.

A visual representation of the size and scale of our European University; including the number of students, staff, faculties, research groups and associated partners which make up ACE2-EU is provided below.

Our Shared Values

The ACE2-EU mission and vision are to advance an ambitious and visionary university alliance dedicated to promoting  applied and active learning for students and staff by using an entrepreneurial and society-engaging approach, and to stimulate and strengthen the collaboration and co-creation among and across partner universities and different stakeholders from partner countries. To achieve this mission and vision within the higher education field, we have defined common strategic objectives based on shared values and principles, to which all partner universities are committed to pursue within the Alliance. Therefore, our shared values represent the cornerstone of our common collaboration.

The values identified by the ACE2-EU alliance conform with the core European values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, equality, human rights and human dignity, solidarity and the pursuit of peace and justice in Europe and the world. Moreover, the nine partners of ACE2-EU Alliance emphasize their own values underpinning      standards of behaviour for the interaction between all members within the Alliance and externally.

  • Cooperation

We create bridges across Europe.

ACE2-EU strengthens international cooperation, favoring the progress of culture, science, training, and research across Europe, in an open access basis. We share our knowledge and experience among students, faculty staff, researchers, community, business, and industry stakeholders. We pursue openness for change and build everlasting connections in the European integration process.

We apply this value and principles on our challenge-based, transdisciplinary approach to learning and research programmes and the implementation of collaborative platforms that facilitate joint pedagogic programmes, joint research projects, shared laboratories, and innovation hubs.

  • Creativity & Innovation

We create real-world impact solutions for the future.

We believe that innovation is most potent when diverse perspectives, expertise, and ideas converge. We incorporate the principles of Futures Literacy in the search for innovative solutions. This means that we imagine future(s) to prepare, plan, and interact with the complexity and novelty of our societies. This will allow us to ensure long term sustainability, when making decisions.

ACE2-EU reflects these principles by nurturing a creative culture, an organizational environment where we embrace diverse perspectives, foster open communication, and where individuals from all partners, associate partners, and regional organizations feel empowered to contribute with new ideas and solutions on equal footing.

  • Inclusiveness & equality

We embrace diversity and promote working, learning and research cultures that are inclusive, safe, and welcoming.

ACE2-EU ensures accessibility      to the highest possible quality of education and research      to everyone, regardless of their gender, age, disability, or cultural, social, geographical, and economic background.

We promote gender equity, recognizing that women and men have different needs and power and that these differences should be identified and addressed in a manner that rectifies the imbalances between the genders. In addition, people of all genders are recognized and accepted, without facing discrimination.

Moreover, ACE2-EU is committed to reducing the potential negative effect of digital exclusion. By promoting new digital applications and new educational technology, ACE2-EU enables digital transformation of learning spaces and lifelong learning, allowing real-time work with all partners at different geographical distances.

  • Human Rights & Dignity

Developing new pathways in human flourishing

ACE2-EU works towards creating an environment where everyone can live with dignity and enjoy their basic human rights. We are committed to developing the well-being for all those involved in learning and research across the alliance. Embedded in respect for different identities, we support all so that each one feels valued, may reach its full potential, and contribute meaningfully to the community.

We reflect this by creating a variety of academic opportunities for students      that will help them acquire new skills, develop empathy and self-confidence, and enable them to act and have ownership over their journey. At the same time, this experience improves diversity in teaching      and is a driver for excellence among partner universities, committed to building long-term, sustainable, and mutually beneficial relationships with society.

  • Solidarity & Social Commitment

Strengthening bonds with communities    

ACE2-EU is committed to helping solve the complex problems of modern society. Impact implies social commitment and      commitment to egalitarian and democratic values,      inclusion, and a culture of dialogue and discussion. It appeals to commitment to research and education that have a real impact in the region, in our country and in the world.

We reflect this by strengthening bonds with the community to establish appropriate programs and form flexible staff that will be prepared for lifelong learning in accordance with the needs of the individual and the community. We share resources, expertise, and knowledge between all members and across borders to support organizations, communities and regions that may face conflict.

  • Sustainability and environmental stewardship

Ecological, social and economic systems are interconnected.

Throughout the alliance campus and regions, ACE2-EU contributes actively to reach a balance that supports both human well-being and the health of the planet.

ACE2-EU actively incorporates these principles into our policies, practices, and educational offerings      through various initiatives and practices involving all players within the alliance. These entail, i) the promotion of Green Campus Practices, such as energy-efficient infrastructures, waste reduction and recycling programs, sustainable transportation options, and the incorporation of green spaces; ii) the integration of sustainability topics into the academic curricula of each partner and joint programmes delivered by ACE2-EU; iii) the encouragement of research activities that explore solutions to environmental issues, climate change, and sustainable resource management; iv) the engagement with local communities to promote sustainable practices, support environmental conservation projects, and raise awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship; v) the provision of a platform for international collaboration and sharing of best practices.

  • Responsibility & Transparency

What we do affects the lives of other people and the environment around us

These values go in pairs and allow the ACE2-EU Alliance to be transparent in its activities and to take responsibility for its choices, ideas, and actions. They make the Alliance accountable to all member universities, their staff and students, the European Union and external stakeholders. ACE2-EU applies these values by fostering open and transparent processes for student recruitment, staff hiring, projects coordination. Also, ACE2-EU encompasses the practice of scientific investigation with integrity by adopting professional norms and ethical principles in performance of all activities related to scientific research. In this manner, ACE2-EU promotes the concept of open science, building confidence in scientific knowledge and generating progress for the public good.