The European Universities initiative, currently piloted under Erasmus+ and supported through Horizon 2020 has created enormous dynamism across higher education sector to jointly create critical mass and implement institutional transformation strategies towards universities of the future, involving also surrounding ecosystems. The European Universities will be drivers of a European Excellence Initiative in the future with a distinct widening module.
Through the European Excellence Initiative, Horizon Europe’s support aims at the transformation of higher education sector and their surrounding ecosystems, including non-university research centres. The Excellence Initiative would thereby mobilise local and regional government’s investments in higher education sector (in its broadest sense). It will also include research activities in strategically relevant domains with a centre of gravity in widening countries.

The capacity building towards the European Excellence Initiative aims to significantly strengthening cooperation between at least two organisations from higher education sector in a Widening country (or different Widening countries), by linking it with at least two internationally-leading institutions from two different Member States or Associated Countries.