Woman with loud speaker

FuturEU competition invites student proposals for EU reforms


Students from across the CIVICA alliance can enter policy briefs on area of their choosing.

How can students make their ideas for a more socially and economically sustainable future heard and strengthen support for the European Union among young people? 

The futurEU initiative offers students across the CIVICA alliance of eight European universities ways to get involved in public dialogue, in particular through an annual competition, which recently opened for registration.

The 2021/22 futurEU competition invites students to present policy solutions on issues like digitalisation, migration, security, energy or inequality to a panel of EU experts in Berlin. This year’s challenge is:

“The current crises facing the EU threaten to lead to more socio-economically vulnerable and EU-alienated future generations. Your team has been tasked with proposing bold and visionary policies for EU action oriented to next generations, and arguing why it would make the EU more responsive and appealing to their needs.”

Participants are free to choose any policy area that interests them. Competitors must submit policy briefs outlining their proposals by the end of January. From this group, eight teams will be invited to participate in the semi-finals, where they present their ideas to judges from the Jacques Delors Centre on 7-8 April 2022 in Berlin.

Teams composed of two to four members can register until 20 December 2021. Registrants must be enrolled in a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD programme at a CIVICA partner university for the academic year 2021/2022, and are welcome to collaborate across institutions and borders, in the spirit of the CIVICA alliance.

FuturEU is, however, much more than an annual competition. It is a platform to learn, exchange ideas, and offer creative solutions for the future of the European Union. This year’s participants can take part in workshops on policy brief writing and public speaking. The group also created a podcast, The Visionary, which interviews researchers, policymakers and students on topics related to the competition.

The competition was initiated in the academic year 2020/21 by a group of Hertie School students. Its founders were five students in the Hertie School’s Master of Public Policy and Master of International Affairs programmes, who came up with the idea while out one evening back in 2019. From their brainstorming over drinks came last year’s event involving 39 teams, made up of 123 students across Europe.

“As a team, we strive to offer students an opportunity to present their vision on their European Union of the future and offer them a platform in which they can present, debate, and disseminate their ideas,” says Francesca Minetto, a founder who did her master’s degree at the Hertie School and is now a PhD researcher. Minetto is just one member of a management team that has grown to 11 members who run futurEU.

The project received strong support from the beginning from the Hertie School, the Jacques Delors Centre, and the CIVICA alliance. It is financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Find more about futurEU on the website

Written by Ellen Thalman (Hertie School)