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uni'alumni 2015_ENG

When the French writer Victor Hugo traveled along the Rhine in the first half of the 19th cen- tury, he described the river as the backbone of the continent, which he wanted to see united in the “Etats-Unis d’Europe”: “Peut-être faut-il que l’œuvre de Charlemagne et de Napoléon se refasse sans Napoléon et sans Charlemagne” (freely translated: “Perhaps the work of Charlemagne and Napoleon should be formed anew, without Napoleon and with- out Charlemagne”), he wrote in his 1842 travel guide Le Rhin. Thanks to the European Union, the euro, and the Schengen Agreement, this vision of a united Europe has now been realized in part. France, Ger- many, and Switzerland are growing together around the river that separates them. Still, borders and bureaucratic obstacles remain – and this is also true of education and research. Under the leadership of Freiburg and Strasbourg, the universities on the Upper Rhine Plain want to change that: A European Campus aims to bring academics closer together at the point where the three nations meet. Not just from a geographical standpoint is the Upper Rhine at the center of Europe: The region’s strengths include its economic power, its scientific potential, and the innovations that emerge from its many research institutions and universities. “It might be compared with the Boston area or Singapore,” explains Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Rector of the University of Freiburg. “Our vision is a ‘zone franche’ for science and research, a place for innovation in which the universities and research institutions com- plement each other and create synergies in research and instruction.” Proven Partnerships on the Rhine The idea of a European Campus builds on proven partnerships between France, Germany, and Switzer- land in research and instruction. The Universities of Strasbourg, Freiburg, Basel, and Mulhouse and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have already been organizing joint courses and research projects since 1989 in the confederation “Eucor – the Upper Rhine Building bridges on the Upper Rhine: Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Rector of the University of Freiburg, wants to establish the European Campus. Photo: Baschi Bender “Eucor unites five German, French, and Swiss universities. The further development of the alliance into a strong partnership and the estab- lishment of the European Campus are of great strategic interest to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.” Prof. Dr. Johannes Orphal, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Eucor Vice Rector “For the University of Strasbourg, it is par- ticularly important to strengthen bilateral cooperation with the University of Frei- burg. In the European Campus project we are developing a model for cross-border research cooperation ‘à proximité’ together with the other Eucor universities.” Dr. Joern Pütz, Vice President for German-French Cooperation at the University of Strasbourg and Eucor Vice Rector Photo: Markus Breig/KITPhoto: Cathrine Schröder/ University of Strasbourg Campus without Borders A large-scale project involving five universities on the Upper Rhine aims to transcend borders for research and instruction EUROPEAN CAMPUS 55