Meet the three new member universities of the UNICA Network!



The year 2019 is off to a good start for UNICA with the growth of its community as three universities became members on January 1, 2019. These new memberships allow the extension of UNICA’s mission in Southern Europe, as a Spanish university and an Italian one join the group, and in Eastern Europe, following the addition of the third Russian university to the network.

On the other hand, due to the universities’ unique profiles, the new members enhance the role of UNICA as a catalyst for the advancement, integration and cooperation of its members throughout Europe.

The application of the three universities was endorsed by the UNICA General Assembly, hosted by Comenius University in Bratislava, on 15 November 2018.

Meet all new members below!


Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain (UAM) (readmission)

Number of students: 28.543 (12% international)

Main Fields of Studies: Social Sciences & Humanities, Medicine & Health, Law, Science & Technology, Engineering, Business & Economics

Networks/Associations: European University Association (EUA), YERUN, World 100, The Open Education Consortium (OEC), Heads of University Management & Administration Network in Europe (HUMANE)

This University’s membership was actually a readmission to the group, as this institution was one of the founders of the network back in 1990. Though it is a young public university – it turned 50 in 2018 – UAM has been one of Spain’s most prominent higher education institutions. The university offers an extensive range of studies, organized into eight schools, and has several affiliated centers.

Under the motto What Else Shall We Do?, UAM seeks to meet its commitment with society through a comprehensive approach, high quality teaching and research, collaboration with other institutions, an international mindset, integration of technological and innovative practices, and engagement with the socio-economic environment.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, UAM set a strategy plan where it emphasizes its role in creating large scale social benefits in an increasingly competitive environment. This mindset of producing knowledge that is accountable and transferable to society is certainly a major asset to UNICA in the pursuit of its mission: application of university research for urban & regional policy making and for implementing transformative urban changes.


Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Number of students: 31,000 (33% international)

Main Fields of Studies : Science & Technology, Engineering, Medicine, Social Sciences, Economics, Humanities, Agrarian fields of studies.

Networks/Associations: European University Association (EUA), European University Association – Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE), the Black Sea University Network (BSUN), Association of the Francphonic Universities (AUF).

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia is the third Russian university joining UNICA. However, considering the size of Russia and that is the only BRICS country in the Network, RUDN is an important asset to UNICA, especially having in mind the important contribution it can provide in global issues such as energy, information security or climate change.

RUDN is a comprehensive and international university (with 1/3 of international students from over 155 countries) whose mission is «Uniting people of different cultures by knowledge RUDN University creates leaders to make the World better ». To pursue this, RUDN focus on international cooperation; a multiprofiled education and research; input from the academic community for world development and engagement with its alumni community.

The university is committed to high quality teaching and research. It compromises 5 faculties, 11 institutes, 1 academy and around 156 research labs. It has also one of the most developed third tier of higher education in Russia (with over 3000 PhD and post-doc), an area which UNICA has explored in several projects, constituting therefore a very important resource to the Network.

It is also important to emphasize the attention RUDN gives to the concept of multilingualism, being considered the best university worldwide to learn Russian – and considering this is the 7th most spoken language in the world, this is definitely an asset to UNICA members.


Università degli Studi di Roma "Foro Italico"

Number of students: 2184 (2,5% international)

Main Fields of Studies: Human Movement and Sports Science, Human and Social Sciences, Health Sciences

Relevant Networks/Associations: European University Association, European Network of Sport Education, Unione delle Università de Mediterraneo, European College of Sport Science, American College of Sports Medicine, European Athlete as Student Network.

"Foro Italico" is the only Italian and one of the few European universities fully dedicated to Sport and scientific disciplines focused in exercise. Despite this specialization, it is an open university linked to many other disciplines both in teaching and research, ranging from areas as ageing; disability, psychology; biology and pedagogy. It also has a special engagement in societal issues, such as intercultural city environments, which is an asset to the Network in the working group “University, Culture & the City”.

It is a young university (it as founded in 1988) but that is embedded in a long traditional of institutions related to sport activities in Rome. It is composed of a single department: “Motor, Human and Health Sciences” which is divided in three sections: Human Movement, Human and Social Sciences and Health Sciences.

The university’s modernisation agenda includes teaching quality, the value of mobility experiences and strengthening the link between higher education and business. Foro Italico is also proactive in promoting the use of ICT for the purpose of enhancing inclusion of disadvantaged students. This experience is an advantage for the UNICA members considering inclusion has been pointed out as one of the main concerns in the preparation of the next Erasmus programme which is set to start in 2021.

We thank all three partners in the trust they have put in UNICA and warmly welcome them to our university community.