On July 10-12, 2023 the UNICOM workshop “Third Mission of Universities: Challenges and European Perspectives” took place in the online format on the Zoom platform. The workshop united around 120 participants from different parts of Ukraine and such European countries as Italy, Germany, Latvia, Romania and Switzerland, who discussed the contemporary challenges for the third mission of HEIs.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the NAQA Ukraine, the National Qualification Agency of Ukraine and the Ministry of Social Affairs of Ukraine, the National Erasmus+ Office in Ukraine, the representatives of Ukrainian and European HEIs discussed global trends and challenges for third mission of HEIs in the times of turbulence, the interconnections between the third mission-related professional qualifications, quality assurance and social mission and the practices of HEIs engagement into the community life with particular focus on Ukrainian practices in the wartime. While opening the UNICOM workshop, Guido Franco Amoretti,  the head of the Department for Pedagogical Sciences of the University of Genoa, the UNICOM project coordinator stressed the pivotal role of social engagement both for university life and for the community economical and social progress. As Svitlana Shytikova, head of the National Erasmus+ Office of Ukraine highlighted, the social impact of the HEIs is one important tools to visualize the internationalization of the universities, since international educational and research projects aim to contribute to solving of societal problems at local, regional, national and international levels. Mykhailo Wynnyckiy, Deputy Minister for Education and Science of Ukraine,  addressed the priorities in social sphere needed for rebuilding Ukraine and re-intergtating occupied territories.

The first day of the workshop focused on the perspectives and inter-linkages between the contemporary trends in the educational sector, the social role of the HEIs in modern world aimed to ensure high level professional education with a perspective to contribute to the solution of global problems. HE internationalization practices and international projects, the role of HEIs in rebuilding Ukraine in the post-war period, the practices of the University of Genoa and of the University of Latvia, the quality assurance with regard to the HEI’s third mission, the linkages between the third mission, quality of education and the professional qualifications, the European approaches towards the assessment of third mission, as well the practices of the Ukrainian and European HEIs aimed to support the universities and communities during the wartime and in the postwar recovery period.

The Ukrainian and European practices on social mission with focus on solution of communities’ social problems and contribution to the economic and social development in not only in the communities, where the HEIs have the strongest links, but offering very often solution for acute social challenges nationwide were discussed during the second day of the workshop.

During the third day of the workshop the internal UNICOM meeting was conducted focusing on developing recommendations with regard to research of the third mission of universities and defining the priorities for policy development on strengthening the cooperation between universities and communities.