RMIT Europe celebrates 10 years of impact
Published by RMIT
Over the past decade, RMIT’s innovation hub in Barcelona, Spain, has been a success story for growth and impact, generating millions of dollars in research funding, facilitating hundreds of industry and government partnerships and collaborations as well as providing transformative experiences connected to Europe for RMIT students.
It’s a blueprint for how RMIT will expand its innovation reach into south-east Asia – a key focus of our Knowledge with Action strategy.
The decision to open a hub in Barcelona stemmed from existing connections to the city, including the work of RMIT researchers from the University’s Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory in the ongoing design and construction of Gaudi’s monumental Sagrada Familia.
RMIT was the first Australian institution to receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe program, receiving over AU$6 million to support a new architecture, design, and art practice training research network.
Professor Marta Fernandez, Executive Director of RMIT Europe, reflected on the growth over the past decade.
“From our modest core of five staff in 2013, we now employ an international team of around 40 at our base in the city’s innovation district, including co-hosting PhD and postdoctoral candidates through EU-funded schemes,” she said.
Due to our presence in Barcelona and our relationships across Europe, we’ve been able to facilitate scientific, cultural, industry and knowledge exchange on a global scale.
Professor Marta Fernandez, Executive Director of RMIT Europe
“We’re proud to manage a portfolio of European-funded projects of AU$48 million, delivered on hundreds of collaborations with universities, industry, cities and NGOs and to have supported 15,000+ RMIT students with transformational global experiences connected to Europe,” Fernandez said.
Recently, RMIT Europe’s contribution to international collaboration in research, industry, and education, particularly in strengthening Spanish-Australian ties, was acknowledged with the Malaspina Award 2022 by the Spanish Embassy to Australia and Spanish Researchers in Australia-Pacific Association.
Having recently returned to RMIT University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Engagement and Vice-President, Saskia Loer Hansen was present at the opening of RMIT Europe in Barcelona in 2013. She reflected on the local impact and shared benefits with the community.
“RMIT Europe has become an innovative, widely respected player in Barcelona’s innovation ecosystem, forging new partnerships and approaches to sustainable cities and transformative technologies,” she said.
“What RMIT can bring to and share with the communities we serve is one of the three strategic directions articulated in our strategy – Knowledge with Action: RMIT’s Strategy to 2031.
“We see it as a critical responsibility to serve the community by using a civic partnership to advance social innovation, and smart and sustainable cities,” Hansen said.
“We can contribute by using our relationships and urban presence in locations including Melbourne, Ho Chi Minh City and Barcelona to increase the scale and benefit of these efforts.”
Throughout the year, RMIT Europe will commemorate its 10-year anniversary with events and festivities alongside its partners, alumni, staff, and friends of RMIT.