Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility

FORTHEM Alliance is one of the first 17 alliance winners of the European Universities Initiative call for proposals launched by the European Commission in 2017 which aim is to bring together a new generation of creative Europeans able to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines to address societal challenges and skills shortages faced in Europe.

We are a new network of seven multidisciplinary public research universities with a strong regional anchoring. Each university comes from a diverse country, has distinct cultural heritages and languages, educational and administrative systems, economic and political realities, and varying stances regarding the European Union.

At the core of our network is the Weimar Triangle (Dijon, Mainz, Opole), reaches the Scandinavian and Baltic region (Jyväskylä, Riga) as well as the Iberian Peninsula (Valencia) and finally also connects the south of Europe (Palermo).

Now two new universities have chosen to join our alliance, which now includes nine universities:
- Universitetet i Agder in Norway


- Universitatea Lucian Blaga din Sibiu in Romania

Our mission

We share a long history of cooperation and are experimenting new innovative forms of collaboration with the aim of creating a permanent multilateral and European cooperation environment.

We believe our model will facilitate innovativeness in education and a close linkage between education, research and innovation in the best possible way.

Our goal is to educate open-minded European citizens committed to our common democratic values, together solving the obstacles for seamless student and staff mobility and providing students with 21st century skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, flexibility, self-direction and good communication skills because we believe in intercultural dialogue and in Europe’s multiculturalism and multilingualism.


Building a society for our future

The title FORTHEM implies the idea to work for THEM: our students, our staff members and furthermore our local communities, we also want to reach stakeholders such as private companies and public bodies on regional, national and European levels. We support the principle of open science. We see this alliance as a way to extend cooperation with civil society, through knowledge-creating FORTHEM Labs, research and innovation projects, collaborations with schools in different cities and regions and finally inciting members of society to get involved in actions run by the Alliance. We believe this approach will bring a valuable contribution to the social, economic and educational development of our regions.

Broadly speaking, with its impact on different levels of the political, social and cultural arena, the Alliance will improve national security, support international diplomacy, peace, mutual understanding and citizen development. To go even further, our position and our origins also allow us to develop cooperation with non-European partners, contribute to the European neighbourhood policy and give us access to the francophone and hispanic world.

FORTHEM Alliance in numbers

7 universities in 7 different countries
> 200,000 students
> 127 research institutes
> 17,000 academic staff
> 13,000 administrative staff
> 18 campuses
> 35 associate partners


FORTHEM Glossary

Civic Engagement Projects

Projects accomplished by students from at least three FORTHEM universities. May include a third-party client. Students are supported with a project management course  and a grant worth 1000 EUR. For students: an opportunity to get international project experience, starting all the way from the planning and fund application stage. For universities and clients: an opportunity to commission international student groups to work for a project suitable to their interests.

Digital Academy

A shared Moodle platform between FORTHEM universities for cross-studying courses will be launched in September 2021. Both lecture classes and independent study courses are offered. For students: an opportunity to add international studies to the degree without travelling and/or long stays abroad. For faculties: an opportunity to provide teaching to international students with a low threshold, internationalization at home for own students.

  • Read more from the FORTHEM Alliance website: general, for students


A 3-year-long cooperative project among FORTHEM universities (years 2020-2023), where research and innovation practices are being developed and cooperation with third party interest groups is being promoted further.

  • Read more from JYU website and FORTHEM Alliance website


A semester long, custom-made, multidisciplinary study module for FORTHEM university students, organized in turns in each FORTHEM university at a time. Executed as an Erasmus+ student exchange.

FORTHEM Buddy Programme

An extra-curricular opportunity to network with other FORTHEM university students. Targeted particularly for first year students. More information


FORTHEM Labs for Research, Education and Innovation are multidisciplinary and international research groups that seek research-based solutions to societal issues. There are groups in seven different thematic fields, and they involve researchers, students and partner organization representatives alike. For students and those in the beginning of their research career, Labs provide a good opportunity to create networks and take first steps in international cooperation. For external partners, Labs are an opportunity to strengthen their own networks and finding solutions together with the university representatives. There is also a possibility to offer students internships or project jobs.


Internships (school internships, company internships)

Internship placements for FORTHEM students, prepared by the Alliance,  from e.g. universities, local companies, schools and other organizations in the FORTHEM university regions. For students: an opportunity to find an international internship placement with less effort than before, from placements already settled. For employers: an opportunity to hire an international intern from the FORTHEM network, via a centralized application procedure and with the support from the FORTHEM offices. For local companies/organizations/schools: also an opportunity to create international networks within own field.

Shared Tutored Projects

A project course executed by two or more FORTHEM universities that also encourages third parties to participate.

  • Read more from the FORTHEM Alliance website (pdf)

Short-term mobility (STM)

Collective short term mobility: 5 day long intensive courses with 5 participants from each FORTHEM university. For students: a full grant is provided. A well-designed intensive week, an opportunity to find networks an to include international studies to one's degree. For universities: an opportunity to increase students’ internationalization at home and provide a “peeking course” for e.g. promoting Master’s degree programmes. For course organisers in general: an easy way to recruit participants from the FORTHEM Alliance to the programme, through a centralized application process and with the practical suppor/guidance from the FORTHEM offices.

Individual short term mobility: An individual academic visit from one FORTHEM university to another. Targeted to the students of all levels. For students: an opportunity to receive a grant for a max. 10 day visit at another FORTHEM university, depending on the student’s own interests. From the host university, an academic host is needed for the visit. For academics: an opportunity to cooperate with colleagues and students by acting as a host for the visit, to develop further collaboration.

Tandem learning

Either paired teamwork led by a course teacher or independent studies with a study pair, specifically for e.g. language studies (see Each One Teach One).


Teachers from the same study field but from two different FORTHEM universities combine their courses and allow their student groups to work together. For students: an opportunity for low threshold networking and internationalization at home, together with students from different universities, from the same study field, an opportunity to peek into classes of other universities. For faculties/academic staff: an opportunity to increase international cooperation, share course-related responsibilities, receive new ideas for course development and create networks within the same field of study.