EELISA Grand Meeting at FAU – our student representative shares his insights

Depicted is FAU president Joachim Hornegger, standing on a stage. From May to November 2024, FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger holds the chair for the EELISA Governing Board. (Image: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli)
From May to November 2024, FAU President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger holds the chair for the EELISA Governing Board. (Image: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli)

One alliance, eight countries, ten universities – they all came together at the EELISA Grand Meeting at d.hip, the Digital Health Innovation Platform in Erlangen, from May 22 to 24. More than 70 students, researchers, employees and presidents came to FAU for three days and met up in different working groups. Together they participated in workshops, planned action steps for the next year, welcomed the Ukrainian partner university KNU as new member of the alliance, and ended they event with a joint visit to Bergkirchweih. Among them: Jonathan Kolb, EELISA Student Representative at FAU.

How was the Grand Meeting? And how does one join EELISA?

Jonathan Kolb is EELISA Student Representative – an introduction:

My name is Jonathan and I am 27 years old. Since the fall of 2021 I am studying International Information Systems at FAU for my master’s degree. The program combines business and informatics subjects to prepare students for the various challenges of the future job market. 

How did you become an EELISA Student Representative?

In my first semester, I participated in the EELISA course Innovation and Leadership. Afterwards, I kept in touch with other participants and engaged with EELISA through events and short-term mobility. When my predecessor Judith asked me to run as student representative, I was immediately excited to represent the FAU students in the alliance. On February 28 the FAU student parliament elected me and I am thankful for their trust.  

Portrait von EELISA Student Representative der friedrich-Alexander universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Jonathan Kolb
EELISA Student Representative Jonathan Kolb (Image: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli)

What does that mean exactly?

The student representatives from all EELISA institutions meet online every second week. There we discuss current developments, we plan events together, and decide on how to best represent student interests. We give students a voice in the various groups and processes of the university alliance. Like the past few days in Erlangen, we also meet twice a year in person to deepen relationships and stay in sight of the bigger picture.  

With EELISA, I had the opportunity to attend a seasonal school at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa on the intersection of data, AI and law. As a student representative I am happy that I could share my experiences of how EELISA fosters internationalization at the FAU Diversity Day. As for the student council, I helped shape the future structure and roles with my ideas and proposals.  

Leute unterhalten sich beim EELISA Grand Meeting 2024
Image: FAU/Giulia Iannicelli

How did you enjoy the EELISA Grand Meeting?

My favorite thing about the EELISA Grand Meeting was getting to meet others in person. Coming together in one place, I really felt the sense of community in the student council but also beyond by getting to know staff and researchers from across the alliance. Also, I could feel the excitement for the second phase of EELISA which started this year. Both the student council and the alliance at large want to scale up their efforts. This also means that there will be more exciting opportunities for students. In the future, it should be easier to find courses and go abroad. For me it is always exciting to meet new people from abroad and I hope that as many students as possible can experience these meaningful connections through EELISA.  

By the way: Jonathan also answered some questions on social.

Watch the video about the EELISA Grand Meeting here!

For this EELISA Grand Meeting Erlangen was chosen as location for a reason: From May to November 2024 FAU president Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger is taking over the chair for the EELISA Governing Board – the highest board of the alliance where all the partner universities are represented through their presidents.


EELISA is part of the FAU strategy which is to internationalize education, academic studies, research, administration and our ecosystem. The goal of the EELISA team at FAU is to connect the right people of different universities with each other, e.g. to enable discussions and exchange regarding innovative education formats, to open international study programs for each other, to support the networks and partnerships of joint EU projects, to learn from each other when it comes to digitalization, and to grow stronger by sharing ressources.

Could I do this, too? Learn more about your options to join EELISA!

For students

For an international experience during your studies, join different workshops, seasonal schools or challenges held at the EELISA partner universities in Madrid, Paris, Zurich, Pisa, Bukarest, Budapest or Istanbul. EELISA will cover the expenses for your travel and accommodation. Visit the EELISA website to learn more about the EELISA offers and how to apply.

For researchers

In order to start new collaborative EU projects, EELISA has a funding budget of up to 18,000 euro per year available to finance research retreats. FAU scientists can apply during a yearly call. More information is available on the EELISA website.