Foto de familia. Fernando Gómez Larrea, UPV/EHU
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Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna 2023, for the first time in Bilbao, attendance record.

Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna 2023  held on November 13th and 14th, at the Engineering School of Bilbao, UPV/EHU.


Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna, an anual meeting point is a chance to share, raise awareness and highlight the projects and collaborations developed within the framework of this strategic alliance between the UPV/EHU, the University of Bordeaux, the DIPC and Tecnalia, which is extended to all its collaborating entities.

The event was officially opened by Eva Ferreira, Rector of the UPV/EHU; Dean Lewis, President of the University of Bordeaux; Jesús Valero, Managing Director of Tecnalia; Javier Aizpurua, representing the DIPC; Adolfo Morais, Deputy Minister for Universities and Research of the Department of Education, representing the Basque Government’s Deputy Ministry for Culture; and Arola Urdangarin, Director of the EGTC New Aquitaine-Euskadi-Navarre, representing the Regional Council of New Aquitaine.

It was also attended by the Mayors of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic. It is the first time this event is held in Bilbao and it focused on two special partners for the University: the cities of Bilbao and Bordeaux. Their respective mayors renewed their twinning agreement in the afternoon. City council teams played an active role in the collaborative workshop on transitions that took place on Monday 13th at the event venue.

The event is multilingual, just like the Euskampus-Bordeaux community, and provided an opportunity for more than 350 people – a record for this 9th edition – to interact with the aim of getting to know each other better, continuing to build collaborative networks in strong personal-professional relationships and continuing to expand the community beyond academia, especially by including more students and socieconomic stakeholders in its ranks.

Estudiantes asistentes al Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna
Students at Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna. Photo: Fernando Gómez Larrea.

This year, more than 80 students (undergraduates, Master’s and doctoral students) and 25 representatives of public and private non-university organisations from the Basque Country and New Aquitaine  actively participated. In line with the previous edition in Bordeaux, the emphasis was on promoting the interaction and active participation of all participants in a programme that  alternated plenary sessions with co-creation workshops interspersed with informal meetings to make this meeting a space for shared reflection, fostering multicultural, multilingual and cross-disciplinary social cohesion, basic ingredients for collaboration in our cross-border, Euroregion and international context.

At the opening ceremony on 13 November, the achievements of the LTC network, LTC Sarea, were highlighted. This network is made up of 6 cross-border cooperation laboratories (LTC) and 10 LTC incubators, promoted and funded by both universities and the Basque Government - Eusko Jaurlaritza.

The Vice-rector of Research of the UB, Nathalie Sans and the Vicerector of Scientific-Social Development and Transference of the UPV/EH, Guillermo Quindós,  publicly announced the new selected LTC, AquEus. The new LTC AquEus will address the potential environmental risks of micro and nanoplastics, including bioplastics, in the Bay of Biscay. Four research groups from the UPV/EHU and four from the University of Bordeaux collaborate in this Laboratory, experts in marine biology, chemistry, engineering, among others, led by UPV/EHU professor Miren Cajaraville and University of Bordeaux professor Jérôme Cachot. "Over the next four years we will carry out new experiments and analyses on the problem of micro- and nanoplastics in the environment. Some of the eight groups were already collaborating, but the LTC will allow us a closer and more profitable relationship, both in research and training," explained Cajaraville. With AquEus, there are now seven LTCs generated by the Transboundary Campus.

During the opening ceremony, the Rector of the UPV/EHU and the President of the University of Bordeaux renewed the alliance by signing a new framework agreement between the two universities, based on the one in force since 2018, accompanied by a new operational roadmap for 2023-2027.

The multidisciplinary and collaborative workshop: “Collective responses to the transitions in our territories: sharing projects and initiatives” was a space in which, from the cultural, linguistic, institutional and disciplinary diversity of the Euskampus Bordeaux community, researchers, students, administrative staff, representatives of the Regional Council of New Aquitaine, the Basque Government-Eusko Jaurlaritza, the New-Aquitaine Euskadi Navarre Euroregion, the city councils of Bilbao and Bordeaux, the Communauté d’Agglomération Pays Basque, the Bihartean cross-border Chamber of Commerce, the Gaia Cluster and other public and private entities, will work collectively to generate a shared vision of the challenges posed by the three transitions (Digital and Technological, Energy and Climate, Health and Social) within the framework of the European Atlantic Arc, highlighting the Basque-Aquitaine coastline.

The activity “On board the Euskampus Bordeaux Campus” gave 14 people selected to make a presentation in 173 seconds (the distance between Bilbao and Bordeaux in nautical miles) on the project or initiative they are undertaking or have undertaken within the framework of the collaborations between Euskampus entities, focusing on their experiences. No less than 18 individuals (solo or duo), researchers, undergraduate and doctoral students and administrative staff presented their master's, bachelor's, thesis, postdoctoral and internship work, their research projects, their participation in cross-border summer courses, training programs or institutional collaborative projects in a wide variety of fields and disciplines, highlighting their experiences in these initiatives deployed within the framework of the Euskampus Bordeaux campus.

After this series of pitches, other important projects by the Euskampus alliance were presented in a plenary session: firstly, the Joint Research Lab in Artificial Intelligence project, JRL-A2I, presented by Javier del Ser, followed by two of the most representative projects of university-industry collaboration in the School of Engineering of Bilbao, UPV/EHU Bisky Team and Formula Student, presented by Charles Pinto, followed by the VBHI (Cerebrovascular Disease Institute) of the UB, presented by Nathalie Sans, and finally the European University Alliance ENLIGHT, formed by 10 universities including the UPV/EHU and the UB, whose guidelines for phase 2 were presented by Fernando Tapia and Joanne Pagèze.

Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna 2023 also included times and spaces for various types of meetings on different themes, improvised or planned in advance by those interested in networking and continuing creating collaborative networks.

It should be noted that this edition also offered the chance to enjoy several original guided tours:

  • Euskalduna Palace: another way of looking at opera in Bilbao, to find out what goes on backstage at the Conference Centre, its ins and outs and learn about the process of staging an opera. Followed by the rehearsal behind closed doors, of the first act of the opera L'elisir d'amore, by G. Donizetti, an opera that the ABAO will be putting on as part of the 2023-2024 season.
  • Zorrozaurre Island: an alternative look at this major urban regeneration project in Bilbao, to see the revival of a city that is being constantly transformed and revitalised; a relaxed and informal tour in which part of the past, present and urban future of the island of Zorrozaurre was explained.
  • Bilbao School of Engineering, UPV/EHU: an overview of “project-based learning” initiatives, to discover the details of three emblematic projects by the School: Formula Student Bizkaia, Bisky Team and MotoStudent.

Finally, the “TransfrontArt” exhibition  highlighted a brand new art proposal for this edition, featuring 45 works by the research and administrative community, as well as the community of students from the two universities from different degrees, disciplines and horizons (Fine Arts, oceanography, neurosciences, Basque, mathematics, STAPS, etc.) Whether amateurs or established artists, the exhibited authors shared their visions of cross-border cooperation and the challenges linked to transitions through visual arts, literature or poetry, demonstrating that art plays with borders, limits and pigeonholing, confirming that people have multiple identities.

This initiative aims to break down the barriers between disciplines, and offer a different perspective on the issues that motivate and concern us. The people who make up the Euskampus Bordeaux community are multi-faceted and have inquiring minds, and have shared their interests and concerns through TransfrontART. Art has no boundaries or limits. The creativity of the people who make up this community breaks all the moulds and is proof of the many identities of living research as a passion and combining it with artistic and creative talents, thus confirming the transdisciplinary nature of this cross-border collaboration. 

To finish, the audience enjoyed the choir of the UPV/EHU, on this occasion, 31 voices, directed by Aitor Biain Bidarte put a musical ending to this cross-borders anual meeting. The Choir of the UPV/EHU was born in 1977 and since then has developed an intense work of cultural dissemination, with special focus on a cappella polyphony, music by Basque composers and contemporary authors. It has collaborated extensively with the Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera (A.B.A.O.) and the Teatro Arriaga in many performances. The pieces they interpreted showed a diverse repertoire with songs in Basque, English, Spanish and Swahili. A multilingual and exquisite souvenir for the participants who will meet again next 2024 in Bordeaux.

See here the photo album.

See here the digital catalogue of TransfrontART.

More about Euskampus Bordeaux Eguna 2023.

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