Regional University Network – European University

International cooperation

Regional University Network – European University

The Polytechnic of Leiria coordinates and manages one of the most ambitious transnational alliances of higher education institutions in Europe: a regional development-oriented European University.

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, the Regional University Network – European University (RUN-EU) aims to create a truly unique interuniversity campus and challenge virtual and physical higher education international mobility.

Established upon a co-envisioned long-term strategy focused on sustainability, excellence and European values, RUN-EU includes seven like-minded higher education institutions that reflect all regions of Europe.


This alliance is committed to transform higher education in Europe by:

  • fostering excellence and innovation in higher education
  • delivering future and advanced skills programmes
  • improving national and international competitiveness of associated regions
  • striving to secure a sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental progress
  • and addressing big societal challenges, becoming a true engine of regional development.
76,000 students
8,000 staff
53 faculties
97 research centresand groups

To realise this vision, in the next three years, RUN-EU will work on:

  • the creation and growth of 3 joint interregional research networks, the European Innovations Hubs
  • the establishment of 8 future-looking joint R&I teams through the Discovery Programme
  • and the development of a mobility-driven strategy – the Future and Advanced Skills Academies – responsible for the identification, promotion, and creation of flexible future and advanced skills programmes, 80 Short Advanced Programmes and 24 European double and joint degrees.


As the project leader of RUN-EU, Polytechnic of Leiria holds a major role in applying a hierarchical and robust management structure that ensures all assigned responsibilities and deliverables are met on time and within budget.

Our collaborative approach to education, research and innovation is a reflection of our management organisation, divided into eight work packages (WP):

WP1 – Coordination and Management
WP2 – European Innovation Hubs
WP3 – Future and Advanced Skills Academies
WP4 – European Mobility Innovation
WP5 – RUN-EU Discovery Programme – Sustainable Interregional Research and Innovation Projects
WP6 – Short Advanced Programmes
WP7 – Collaborative European Degrees
WP8 – Dissemination and Sustainability of the Future RUN-EU

At RUN-EU, only WP1 and WP8 are led by Polytechnic of Leiria, so that RUN-EU’s governance is in accordance with its communication and dissemination of activities and results.

Though Polytechnic of Leiria has its own representative for each work package:

WP1 – Nuno Rodrigues | Rui Fonseca Pinto
WP2 – Ana Sargento
WP3 – Isabel Pereira | Carlos Neves
WP4 – Paulo Almeida | Naide Martins
WP5 – Marco Lemos
WP6 – Sandrina Milhano
WP7 – Marisa Dinis
WP8 – Rita Cadima | João dos Santos

RUN-EU’s team at Polytechnic of Leiria:
Joana Ferreira (Learning Designer)
Rita Cordeiro (Communications Manager)
Carolina Cardoso (Digital Content Manager)

Student Advisory Board

In the governance of RUN-EU, the Polytechnic of Leiria is supported by four main management structures: the General Assembly, the Management Committee, the Student Advisory Board (SAB) and the Associated Partner Advisory Board.

The SAB strategically advises the work of the Management Committee, coordinator, and work package leaders, especially on:

  • student engagement
  • inclusion matters
  • multiculturalism
  • innovative mobility programmes
  • Short Advanced Programmes
  • and collaborative European degrees.

The SAB works both at a regional level and a European level.

Regional SAB: 15 students (10 national and 5 international [from outside the EU])
It meets every six months to review and advise on the RUN-EU strategy, achievements and its impact at the regional level.

European SAB: 120 students (80 national and 40 international [from outside the EU])
It meets during the RUN-EU annual General Assembly, an opportunity for students to come together in person, in a unique international, diverse and inclusive environment.

Knowledge and research areas

One of the main objectives of the Regional University Network – European University is to strengthen research within the alliance through strong collaboration between members and associated partners.

Currently, researchers are collaborating on eight core R&I areas at RUN-EU:

  • Creative Art, Design and Materials Thinking
  • Food & Biotechnology
  • Tourism
  • IOT & Cybersecurity
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Climate Change – Circular Economy & Decarbonisation
  • Education & Social Sciences
  • Health & Wellbeing

In the future, researchers from each of the alliance members will be able to engage in international mobility programmes, enabling the creation and growth of an interregional R&I network.

Their activities will be supported by three European Innovation Hubs:

  • Future Industry and Sustainable Regional Development
  • Bioeconomy
  • Social Innovation