Raise excellence in R&S&I in HEI for widening countries

Unite!Widening project

Unite!Widening project has been designed to be a complementary project, supported by  the European Universities Initiatives. This international coalition of higher education institutions from across the EU was born in 2019 and shares a long-term strategy of promoting European values and identity. It enhances science and knowledge valorization in Alliance universities by facilitating cooperation with universities from Widening and non-Widening countries. The initiative aims to bolster the quality, inclusiveness, and competitiveness of higher education throughout Europe.

The idea behind Unite!Widening is drawn by the differences in conducting successful transnational research and innovation (R&I) projects within European Universities. Some are more disadvantaged than others due to a lack of scientific infrastructure, the ability to establish or access networks, maintain, and retain talents or overcome structural barriers at an institutional, regional, or national level. Under Horizon Europe, the European Commission seeks to bridge these gaps by literally ‘Widening’ the scope of funding to strengthen R&I across Europe, empowering also growth and innovation  in widening countries like Poland and Portugal.


Reduce differences and reinforce the R&I capacity of the Widening countries. This requires increasing collaborations and networks, implementing structural R&I policies, institutional reforms and overall  performance enhancements, fostering the truly free circulation of knowledge, researchers and innovators leading to a more diverse, inclusive, informed and productive workforce at the EU scale. 

Strengthening Unite! as an alliance.

Enhancing the scientific, technological and innovation capacity of the consortium of HEIs (Higher Education Institutions), raising its excellence as a group and also individually.

Expanding its activities, raising the excellence profile of the Widening countries: Poland and Portugal. 

Implementing the ERA/Widening policies.

Promote the implementation of Gender Equality Plans covering a wide range of thematic areas, such as recruitment, career, work-life balance, leadership, gender in research and education practice, and gender-related harassment and assault.

The overall success of Unite!WIDENING project will be supported by the development and achievement of the specific objectives summarized here:

Target group

The project focuses on widening countries, such as Poland and Portugal, which have shown lower performance in Research and Innovation (R&I), falling below EU averages. This is evident from their limited participation in FP7 and H2020 projects. 

Portugal is a Moderate Innovator (85.8% of EU average), while Poland is an Emerging Innovator (60.5%). Portugal’s performance gap with the EU is widening, urging action. Poland’s performance is above average for Emerging Innovators (50.0%) and improving, though slowly.

These countries can improve their Research and Innovation (R&I) capabilities and increase their engagement in the European R&I scene by collaborating more with EU partners who have a stronger track record in R&I.


Unite!Widening brings together 9 Unite! partner universities and 4 scientific associations, and technological hubs from both Widening and non-Widening countries.

Project aims to close the gaps between universities by speeding up essential reforms and building the necessary skills to improve Research Careers, in line with European Research Area goals. Additionally, our partners are actively involved in European regions known for their economic opportunities, entrepreneurship, and innovation, contributing to their growth.


Technical University of Darmstadt

Aalto University

Graz University of Technology

Grenoble INP

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Politecnico di Torino

Universidade de Lisboa

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Wrocław University of Science and Technology

External partners

AAVANZ Innovazion - Innovation Consulting Services

Wroclaw Agglomeration Development Agency

LISPOLIS - Associationthe Polo Tecnológico de Lisboa

Wroclaw Technology Park