Within FORTHEM the seven universities, having previous extensive global and European partnerships and pooled experience on academic projects, are joining forces and sharing networks with the aim of creating a permanent multilateral and European cooperation environment. FORTHEM will proceed from subject-specific bilateral Erasmus mobility agreements and trilateral educational projects to university-wide mobility agreements and deeper multilateral cooperation in education and outreach activities.
FORTHEM consists of multidisciplinary public research universities that are situated (all but one) outside the capital regions and are not among the largest nor highest-ranking universities in their countries. Although based on both university-wide and field-specific bilateral and trilateral cooperation, it is a new network of institutions that have the dynamism and flexibility to experiment new innovative forms of collaboration. Thereby, FORTHEM presents a reproducible model for both European and non-European universities that wish to develop similar new alliances
The alliance network has the Weimar Triangle as its core (Dijon, Mainz, and Opole), and represents the Scandinavian and Baltic region as well as the Iberian Peninsula (Jyväskylä, Riga, and Valencia) and goes deep into the south of Europe (Palermo). Regarding the list of European geographical regions, the geographical balance is extraordinary as the composition includes universities from Northern Europe (Riga and Jyväskylä), Western Europe (Mainz and Dijon), Central and Eastern Europe (Opole) and Southern Europe (Valencia and Palermo). Therefore, the network is representative of the most diverse countries and languages as well as educational systems and universities. The multicultural European University that will result from this alliance aims at tackling the European challenges while taking into account all important aspects. In addition, considering that the alliance includes border countries in the north and in the south, we are also able to contribute to the European Neighbourhood Policy.