Skip to content

CIVIS celebrates the arrival of 11th member: University of Lausanne

28 September 2022
← Back to news


Joining CIVIS as we mark the beginning of our second round of Erasmus+ financing, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) is one of just four Swiss universities to enter a European University Alliance.

University of Lausanne

Openness and growth are fundamental principles of the CIVIS Alliance, always underpinned by shared values and the consolidation of our activities. Launched with eight member universities in 2019, our Alliance has already welcomed new members inside the EU (Salzburg, Austria) and outside (Glasgow, UK) alongside six prestigious African partners. This week we are delighted to formally welcome the University of Lausanne, taking our Alliance to 11 European members and adding Switzerland to the list of countries with a CIVIS member university.

Switzerland is outside both the EU and the Erasmus+ programme, and Swiss universities were initially unable to join Alliances created under the European Universities Initiative (EUI). The European Commission has since lifted the restriction on non-EU members and thereby opened a route to membership for universities in Switzerland, although they are still unable to access EUI funding. The government of the alpine confederation has recognised the strategic importance of the EUI as a new paradigm in European higher education and has assigned funding to support Swiss universities who join Alliances. The funds are managed by Movetia, Switzerland’s national agency for educational mobility and exchanges. Thanks to this support, CIVIS opportunities will also be open to students, academics and staff at the University of Lausanne. Special procedures will often apply, so all members of our community based at UNIL should be sure to contact their local CIVIS office on before committing to any activities in the academic year 2022-23.

The view from Switzerland

As of today, only four universities across all of Switzerland’s cantons and linguistic communities have joined a European University Alliance. UNIL’s Rector, Prof. Frédéric Herman, celebrated this historic step: “Joining CIVIS is a wonderful opportunity for the University of Lausanne to participate in an ambitious European project that will benefit our entire community. Collaborating with 10 other European universities on joint teaching and incubating new synergies will help us shape the future. As a Swiss institution, UNIL is also particularly interested in keeping its ties with European partners through a long-term and impactful project. We are convinced that UNIL will bring added value to the Alliance.

The CIVIS Alliance has a lot to gain from UNIL’s arrival. With more than 3600 full-time equivalent staff and over 17000 students of almost 130 nationalities, Lausanne is a top-level player in the Swiss higher education landscape. The university has roots stretching back to 1537 and has grown into a major teaching and research institution with important strengths in areas including oncology, forensic science, digital humanities and sports science. UNIL offers excellent research infrastructures, a thriving business and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and of course a gorgeous lakeside location at the heart of Europe.

Learn more about UNIL

A vital moment for CIVIS

Months after we agreed on our partnership, CIVIS formally welcomes UNIL as a member on 1 October 2022. This is the date where we enter our second cycle of Erasmus+ funding, with at least four years of EU support for this new phase of our development. Our communities will not notice an immediate revolution, as the CIVIS member universities are committed to the consolidation and deepening of the Alliance’s existing activities and structures. The core Erasmus+ project is also not the only pillar of our Alliance, with sister projects like RIS4CIVIS and CIVIS3i continuing their work to develop specific aspects of our vision. Nevertheless, this is a momentous moment for the Alliance and a vital milestone in our shared path – a path we now walk as 11 member universities.

Notes for editors

CIVIS is a European University Alliance gathering 11 member universities: Aix-Marseille Université (France), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), University of Bucharest (Romania), Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Sapienza Università di Roma (Italia), Stockholm University (Sweden), Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany), University of Glasgow (UK), Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria) and University of Lausanne (Switzerland). Selected by the European Commission as one of the first 17 European Universities pilots, it brings together around half a million students and more than 70 000 staff members, including 37 400 academics and researchers.

In 2022, CIVIS signed a partnership agreement with 6 strategic African partner universities: Université Hassan II de Casablanca (Morocco), University of Sfax (Tunisia), Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Senegal), Makerere University (Uganda), University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique).

Contacts for interview

University of Lausanne

For all interview requests, please reach out to Professor Anne-Christine Fornage, Vice-rector for External relations and scientific communications.


For all interview requests, please reach out to