Circle U. – more for you in 2022!

Circle U. is an aircraft being built in full flight, and YOU can shape both its form and trajectory. Now that we are halfway into the project period, we asked Chair of the Management Board Berit Eika, Secretary General Kevin Guillaume, and President Svein Stølen some easy and some difficult questions.

President Svein Stølen, Secretary General Kevin Guillaume and Chair of the Management Board Berit Eika.

Major achievements so far: 200 people, nine partners, three projects

When asked about major achievements, all three emphasized the people and structures that have been put in place “More than 200 colleagues from nine partners universities are working on three major EU-funded projects, covering all missions and activities that make us a university,” said Secretary General Kevin Guillaume. Berit and Svein also lauded our new secretary general, who already has ensured more coordination across institutions and work packages.

What is it like establishing a university alliance?

Berit is very pleased “to see how much we are able to work in consensus. There is a basic understanding that success grows from achieving together.” From the President’s vantage point, a relatively simple model for government is also a plus, and something that has been executed well. “The aim is to empower all our colleagues to make decisions without having to go back to the Management Board.”

It has been challenging establishing an alliance during the pandemic, because relationships are important! As is constant dialogue, openness, mutual respect, and using a lot of time and resources from many people.

Crucial milestones this year

Although the next call for proposals has not been launched yet, we are starting work on the next application. Berit says that “We need to harvest on our investments, and it is crucial to get the acknowledgement that another funding-period will signal. This year we will also evaluate our progress so far, which will be important for us to know where we are, according to Svein. Kevin also emphasizes “…concrete opportunities for students, researchers and staff: Knowledge Hubs seminars, summer schools, Circle U. challenge, Circle U. prize for interdisciplinary research, forum for early-career researchers, etc. All those actions will also allow us to work on one of our top priorities, which is the involvement, commitment, added value for all our students, researchers, academics and staff.”

Circle U.’s most significant contribution to the European Education and Research Area

“I see our alliance as providing a very good example of how alliances support deep partnerships that supplement the many types of inter-university collaborations that already exist,” says Berit Eika.


Svein believes that our academic chair system can become a considerable contribution to the European Education and Research Area, if it results in grassroots engagement from those who are close to research and the disciplines.

This is our opportunity

Svein, Berit and Kevin are thankful to all our colleagues across the alliance. “Circle U. is you!” If you have an idea and you want to shape this alliance, you can. Even though Circle U. is top heavy and strongly supported by all nine university leaders, it is also an aircraft being built in full flight, that you can help build.

“Circle U. is a reality to be built with the entire university community because it is about the future of our universities,” concludes Kevin Guillaume.

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Published Feb. 21, 2022 3:01 PM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2022 3:01 PM