The COPERNICUS Alliance is a European network of universities and colleges committed to transformational learning and change for sustainable development. Working closely with its members and in partnership with strategic stakeholders, the COPERNICUS Alliance seeks to inform international and European higher education policy developments as well as support individual institutions in their journeys toward embedding change for sustainability in their institutional policies, teaching and research. COPERNICUS Alliance is committed to conducting these tasks in an open, transparent way, facilitating a growing exchange of ideas, opportunities to cooperate and mutual support with other actors in society.
COPERNICUS Alliance finds its origins in 1993, when the European University Association, acknowledging the critical role of universities in advancing Agenda 21, launched COPERNICUS CAMPUS and the CRE COPERNICUS Charta in Geneva. European university rectors, presidents and vice-chancellors were invited to endorse and support the Charta which outlined ten “change pathways” including sustainable development values and ethics, education for university employees and students, and institutional strategic frameworks. The Charta, which resides with COPERNICUS Alliance has been endorsed by 326 European universities, showcasing their commitment in leading change for sustainable development.
In 2007, a group of partner universities who had been actively involved in the COPERNICUS CAMPUS initiative, came together to re-frame the activities and strengthen the potential of the network. Due to the shift on the original programme, the COPERNICUS CAMPUS was re-launched and re-branded as the COPERNICUS Alliance. Its official constitution took place in 2010 in Graz, Austria. In 2011, an updated version of the COPERNICUS Charta was also developed. The COPERNICUS Charta 2.0 reflects the new goals of the network and calls for a greater commitment of universities in re-orienting themselves towards sustainable development.
COPERNICUS Alliance aims to achieve the following:
- Networking: Exchanging good practice and enhancing knowledge on sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education.
- Policy and Representation: Informing higher education policy-making in Europe and globally. Engaging and participating in international gatherings, dialogues, committees and expert groups.
- Professional development: Developing tools and materials and providing professional development opportunities.
- Outreach: Working in partnership to promote sustainable development in European Higher Education.
COPERNICUS Alliance aims to achieve the above mentioned goals through a growing network of European higher education institutions and develop a platform to strengthen integration of sustainable development in higher education management, education, research and society.
COPERNICUS Alliance is run by members for members. It is self-financed and uses its funds to achieve its mission. The Alliance seeks external funding for specific projects and activities.
The Alliance is built on the participation of its members. Based on their activities, it forms an innovation network for integration of sustainable development at higher education institutions with multiple contacts and possibilities of exchange at a European level.