This project received funding from the HE programme under the G.A number 101079219.
One of the key strategic orientations of Horizon Europe is to build a more inclusive, sustainable, prosperous, and democratic European society and unlock the full potential of the European Research Area by reducing the wide gaps that exist between national research systems. The BRRIDGE project will contribute to these goals by twinning Matej Bel University (UMB), an emerging Slovak public university located in a country that is struggling to improve its research and innovation performance and within a region with one of the lowest R&I levels in the EU, with three top-class partners across Europe — Central European University, European University Institute, and the National University of Ireland Galway. BRRIDGE aims to build research excellence in the domain of democracy and policy at UMB, as well as to advance the research management and administration capacity of UMB, while generating knowledge that contributes to the quality of democracy in Slovakia and in Europe as a whole. The project focuses on four specific objectives: strategic networking, building capacities, strengthening excellence in research, and fostering democracy through community and policy engagement. Together, these four form the basis for the work plan, project achievements, and desired impacts. Building on the vast potential of strategic networking of the consortium to generate excellence, the project will raise the reputation and attractiveness of UMB nationally and internationally by enhancing its research capacity through joint collaboration, knowledge transfer, exchange of best practices, and networking. In addition to this, BRRIDGE will lead to higher engagement of a broad group of various stakeholders in research processes through the creation of the Democracy Living Lab in the Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region (Central Slovakia).