European University Alliance INVEST

European Education and Research on sustainability

Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences (VHL) started a collaboration with four other universities in Europe in 2021 under the name “European University Alliance INVEST”. INVEST's partners are working together on “innovations for regional sustainability”. Starting in September, HVHL and partners will jointly offer five minors/specialisations for 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students and international exchange students. Research and education are linked in these. The following specialisations are offered in the partner countries:

  • Developing Viable Communities – in Slovakia
  • European Sustainable Leadership in Regional Development – in Bulgaria
  • Integrated Environmental Management towards Sustainable Landscape Development – in the Netherlands
  • Sustainable Communities in Energy Transition – in Finland
  • Society 5.0 and Digital Transformation – Greece

European testing ground for higher education

The University Alliance INVEST is one of the forerunners that will help shape the future of higher education in Europe. There are 40 other University Alliances throughout Europe. In its first three years, a University Alliance receives grants from the EU for innovation and quality enhancement in the field of education and applied research.
HVHL is the only HAO institution and one of two higher professional education (HBO) institutions in the Netherlands to participate in a European University Alliance.

Regions as sustainable engines in Europe

VHL shares its sustainability ambition with a number of fellow universities in Europe. Through INVEST, VHL bundles sustainability developments in education and research. Also in Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria and Finland, regions are developing as economic and sustainability engines for the future of Europe. By joining forces, the partners in INVEST ensure greater regional import and international relevance. In addition, INVEST offers VHL the opportunity to exert more influence on European policies around education and research and more chances to receive new (EU) grants for research and education.

An international dimension for study programmes

Through INVEST, students easily connect with VHL's partner institutions in Europe. Through the various INVEST activities, they can develop and put their professional knowledge, language, intercultural abilities and leadership skills into practice. INVEST offers VHL students new unique interdisciplinary programmes, from Bachelor (10), through Master (4) to PhD level (2) and diploma recognition in 5 countries. INVEST allows them to increase the quality of their study programme.

The connection between education and research remains central. Through integrated subsidised study periods at partner universities, internships and final projects in Living Labs across Europe, students from five different countries can collaborate on educational and research projects. These include Hackatons in which multidisciplinary teams develop solutions to sustainability issues in the region for clients. And all within their degree programme. And, of course, credits earned within INVEST are automatically recognised. 

INVEST’s substantive focus

The partners' collaboration focuses on teaching and researching together in the areas of:

A: Water, Energy Food and Environment Nexus

  • Climate-resilient regional development
  • Sustainable smart agriculture, Aquaculture, Food security, Food safety
  • Management of water resources
  • Energy transition
  • Green energy
  • Natural and cultural heritage

B: Quality of Life

  • Education and capacity building
  • Urban-rural relationship
  • European citizenship
  • Assurance and quality of public services
  • A lifetime of learning

C: Entrepreneurship

  • Circular/Biobased economy
  • Job creation and human capital management
  • New business models and smart technologies
  • Regional, sustainability-based capitalism and Biobased industries.
European University Alliance INVEST Website INVEST