The University of Cyprus (UCY) joined YERUN only six months ago, in July 2021. The decision to become a member of the network was not at all difficult since, being also a member of the YUFE Alliance, the participation in the YERUN activities was the next step in enhancing the cooperation of UCY with its partners, especially in the area of research.
UCY joined YERUN in a time of crisis. The pandemic, which started in 2020 has had a catalytic impact on all aspects of academic life: mobility of all sorts has been hindered, physical meetings have been restricted, personal contact has been limited. Universities had to adapt to a new way of doing things literally in one night. And they made it! Academic life continued – albeit virtually – research activities went on, and synergies between partners became all the more crucial for the overcoming of this unprecedented situation. This is what UCY realised from the beginning: that especially during difficult times, no “human” is an island.
Thus, in these last six months, UCY has made conscious efforts to become actively involved in the YERUN activities. Apart from appointing the YERUN Coordinator and the involvement of the International Relations and Promotion Office (International Relations Service) in the promotion and management of YERUN’s activities, UCY has appointed representatives both in the YERUN Policy Platform, the YERUN Group of Research Support, the YERUN Communication Team as well as in all the Ad hoc groups on SDGs, on European Universities, on Open Science and on the Development of Academic Careers. Within the context of its participation in YERUN, UCY is also participating in YUFERING as Project Coordinator, and in the DIOSI and Inno4YUFE projects. And although UCY is still a very young addition to the Network, the results from its membership have already started to show, and UCY considers YERUN as one of its most important strategic partners.
At an institutional level, and in an admittedly challenging time, UCY has successfully reached the end of the Fall Semester classes. Students and staff were called upon to meet again on Campus and interact in the classrooms, adhering to health and safety protocols. Classes were conducted more or less without any problems, proving that when the community is united, with a high sense of responsibility, empathy and love for colleagues and fellow students, it can function effectively even under the most difficult conditions. At the same time, UCY has continued to excel in research and innovation, both in the areas of Engineering, Pure and Applied Sciences, as well as in the areas of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The year 2022 will mark the completion of 30 years since the admission of the first students at the University of Cyprus in 1992. It is an anniversary that reminds us of how much the University has progressed and what more it can achieve. Thirty years and more since its establishment in 1989, UCY has managed to appear high in the world university rankings, while forging important strategic partnerships with international academic institutions and networks. It is in these partnerships that the future of academia lies.
As the end of 2021 is now approaching, I take this opportunity to thank all our YERUN partners for their warm welcome and their close cooperation. I am also extending our best wishes to all the YERUN members for a creative, innovative and promising 2022, hoping that it will be the beginning of a new era in the European Higher Education Area, where universities play a catalytic -positive- role in the well-adaptation of societies to the new transitions.