The European Centre for Advanced Studies (ECAS) was launched on 1 April, 2019, marking a major milestone in co-operation in research and teaching between the University of Glasgow and Leuphana University of Luneberg in Lower Saxony.
The Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, was joined by Prof Jim Conroy, former Vice Principal, Internationalisation, and Professor Anne Anderson, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Social Sciences, on a visit to mark th e celebration of the official launch.
ECAS is an independent research institution through which both universities will be able to pursue common interests in research and teaching in the fields of digital culture and media, business informatics, law, management, sustainability and psychology. In particular this will involve joint research and study programmes as well as the exchange of academics and students. The aim is also to establish a link between research institutions from Scotland and Lower Saxony.
Sir Anton said: "The University of Glasgow, founded on the great European idea of Universities, has always seen itself as a place that seeks to build collaborations and partnerships across the scholarly world. National boundaries and borders don’t, and ought not to, come into play in our joint effort to pursue knowledge and understanding and to share that knowledge with and around the communities we belong to, and far beyond.
"Such a mission, such a vision has never been more pertinent, never more necessary - not just to defend, but to vigorously promote - than now, certainly for us working in the UK. For us, Brexit appears to be pulling us away from that instinct to go wherever the possibilities of new insights might be found. It appears to be challenging the very life blood of our hard won, but long-cherished values of free movement for academics and students - that freedom which allows the dynamic and creative interchange of ideas and insights so essential to advancing our grasp of what makes our world revolve, of what brings it benefit and enhances the life and the expectations of all its inhabitants."
He went on to say: "Life will go on beyond Brexit, however Brexit materialises, but it’s at times like these, times of uncertainty during which the values and freedoms we have perhaps taken for granted, that we really must grasp the significance of what we are doing today."
Co-founders and co-partners in ECAS were confirming their belief in the value of academics working together across cultures, across nations, across institutions, and across subject areas and disciplines, said Sir Anton.
"While we have started with an initial focus on certain areas of study, the overall objective is to integrate more widely and develop collaborative activities across all our many subject areas, encompassing all four Colleges in UoG and all four Faculties at Leuphana. We’re recognising too that we’re not an exclusive club, but one which will seek to act as a lever, a catalyst to others, other institutions, to work with our combined strengths in new research partnerships and exchanges. And we further commit through building on our combined and shared areas of strength, and looking outwards as ever, to build, to facilitate, to enable those links and networks with civil society, business and industry, enterprise and innovation, that are all so essential to the economic and social development of our communities and countries, Scotland and Lower Saxony," he added.
Professor Sascha Spoun, President of Leuphana University of Luneberg, said: "We are very glad about the co-operation with the University of Glasgow. This is a signal that borders are to be overcome and that science will in any case stand together regardless of political imponderabilities."