The Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) welcomed the CIVIS Board of Rectors and Presidents on 23-24 September. The meeting, which took place in a blended format, was a chance to examine the main strategic challenges facing the Alliance and confirm the progress made in recent months. During the meeting, UAM's Rector Amaya Mendikoetxea handed over the Presidency of CIVIS to Annemie Schaus, Rector of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).
During UAM's 6-month Presidency, CIVIS has continued to reinforce its initiatives aimed at promoting mobility among students, academics, researchers and staff of its member universities, despite the difficulties provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to students and teaching, CIVIS has been focusing on student mobility activities that carry academic recognition. We have also moved ahead with the implementation of the CIVIS Passport to recognise students' participation in CIVIS programmes. Meanwhile, the Digital Campus project took a huge step with the pilot implementation of a Moodle academic platform for the management and teaching of CIVIS courses. In research, postdoctoral scholarships have been launched through the CIVIS3i project.
Meanwhile, the CIVIS Open Labs have stepped up their activities in the field of civic engagement. The CIVIS Open Labs are open and collaborative spaces to share knowledge and social commitment with local communities, thus reinforcing the integration of universities with their social, economic and cultural environment. The Universidad Autónoma de Madrid leads the CIVIS work package that guides the Open Labs, and our network of laboratories is now almost complete. Eight are already operating in the different member universities, and the one in Glasgow is starting out now. The Open Lab calls for proposals have already resulted in the presentation of 12 initiatives to address major challenges related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Madrid, Bucharest, Marseille and Stockholm. In addition to these actions already underway, another 20 new proposals will soon be selected.
After the meeting of the CIVIS Board of Rectors and Presidents of CIVIS, a meeting of the Advisory Council was held, made up of the rectors and two representatives from each region. The function of this Council is to promote coordination between CIVIS activities and regional strategies and policies, as well as to promote greater collaboration between universities and other institutions.