Incorporating Social Responsibility as transversal topic in University curricula
Building synergies among University communities and other societal stakeholders
The idea behind the project
The social dimension of Higher Education (HE) is one of the overarching themes of the
Bologna Process, from Prague (2001), Bergen (2005), London (2007), Leuven (2009) up to
Bucharest (2012), having been recognised as crucial to legitimise the process towards the
European Higher Education Area.
Recent studies confirm that there is an emerging interest in University Social Responsibility (USR) issues (Larrán 2012). However, most Higher Education institutions (HEIs) are still reluctant to fully implement USR strategies, embracing different social responsibility approaches and mechanisms instead.
In this respect, there is an urgent necessity to collectively reflect and develop dialogue to understand and pursue a more decisive and integrated perspective.
The USR-NET project
The USR-NET - European Network of Socially Responsible Universities is a 30-month
(2015-2018) EU co-funded project under the Erasmus+ programme, implemented by 9
partners from 7 EU countries (Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania,
Spain), experts in their fields.
USR-NET is based on the findings and results of the previous EU co-funded project EU-USR – University Social Responsibility in Europe (527209-LLP-1-2012-1-RO-ERASMUS -ESIN). EU-USR demonstrated an action imbalance in their social dimension of different European universities and regions, mainly due to lack of related policies to promote sustainability at universities (Bottery, 2011; Hancock and Nuttman, 2014) and, encourage members of University communities to support socially sustainable initiatives in higher education (Lee et al., 2013). At the same time, EU-USR project underlined the needs to better understand the term USR both inside and outside the HEIs, increase HEIs’ commitment towards the community in which they operate, fostering inclusion and stakeholder participation and incorporate USR strategies as a transversal topic in students’ curricula.
In this respect, the USR-NET project aims to promote synergy and links among HEIs
communities (professors, students and staff) and related stakeholders (enterprises,
schools, NGOs, policy-makers, institutions, etc.) having an influence in the
labour market and society as a whole.
In particular, USR-NET aims to
Project target groups
The project aims to encourage the transfer of knowledge, synergies, good practices
and sensibilisation both inside the University community, but also outside,
involving all possible social responsibility and civil society stakeholders.
As such, the project targets mainly: