University of Rijeka – Rijeka, Croatia

The official name of the program is the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (ED&I) initiatives at the University of Rijeka (UNIRI). The program is guided by principles of inclusion, academic integrity, and public accountability. The institutional model of enhancing ED&I at the UNIRI is a result of a strategic orientation of UNIRI and its historic orientation towards access to education, ensuring equal opportunities for all, caring for vulnerable and underrepresented groups, promoting diversity, and every person’s inclusion and dignity as fundamental principles that, alongside heightened academic integrity and public accountability, enhance research and education authentic quality and contribute to justice in society. UNIRI shares Young Universities for the Future of Europe Alliance (YUFE) vision for diversity and inclusivity: – to become, and be recognised as leader in diversity and inclusivity – to be a place of positive and open discourse around diversity and inclusivity – to have inclusive systems, structures, policies and procedures – for the diversity in society to be reflected at all levels of institution – for all staff and students to be advocates for diversity and inclusivity and to inspire others to share the YUFE values. The program focuses on supporting students/staff from sensitive social groups, including persons with disabilities, low-income students, first generation students, students/staff with a refugee or migrant backgrounds, underrepresented (fe)male, students of different underprivileged status. These equity groups were proposed by university’s internal policies, students, and suggested by community, citizens and other external stakeholders.

The program encompasses a range of activities to promote equal access, inclusion, and diversity:


  • Support and counselling for students and university staff,
  • Lectures, workshops, seminars for students, faculty and non-teaching staff,
  • Training courses for peer educators,
  • Public promotion (e.g. production of media content such as podcasts),
  • Improving physical accessibility,
  • Improving digital accessibility,
  • Gender Equality Awards scheme
  • Roar festival


Each of the listed activities had a great impact. In addition to activities to support inclusion, the program implements binding policy (legislation), strategy/action plan, recommendations/guidelines, preventive programs as well as awareness raising activities to counter exclusionary and discriminatory practices at the university.

The most innovative practices/tools implemented are the ROAR festival GE Award scheme.

The motivation for establishing the ED&I initiatives at UNIRI stems from the institution’s strategic orientation and its historic commitment to access to education, equal opportunities, and caring for vulnerable and underrepresented groups. The purpose of the program is to create a university environment that embraces diversity, fosters inclusion, and upholds the dignity of every individual. It aims to contribute to research and education of authentic quality while promoting justice in society. Division of resources, responding to perpetuating challenges internally and externally, and ensuring sustainability are key factors that make this program successful.
UNIRI’s leadership and governing bodies, along with designated officers, play a significant role in decision-making regarding program design and other activities. Diversity, inclusion, and equality are explicitly mentioned both in the program and in the university’s strategies, policies, work plans etc. The program is a member of local, regional, national and European networks, which provides access to funds and knowledge sharing, inspiration from best practices, learnings from fighting pushbacks,etc.
UNIRI has policies and frameworks in place, such as the UNIRI Code of Ethics, Statute, and Gender Equality Plan, that support the promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusivity within the institution.
The program is funded through various sources, including EU funding, The Government of UK, Canadian embassy, public funding, etc. It also relies on its own resources and partnerships with external organizations and entities. The main concern is related to the uncertainty of receiving EU funds.
The programme has a formal evaluation process. To gauge its success, a combination of quantitative and qualitative indicators is employed. These indicators include reporting on the implementation of various strategies , Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R), quality assessments, satisfaction surveys, and workshop evaluations. The evaluation data is collected through institutional reporting procedures and institutional research methods, ensuring a comprehensive assessment. Following the evaluation process, the findings are disseminated both internally and externally. They are shared with the Senate, working bodies, student bodies, and various external stakeholders, including regional partners, national ombudspersons, and the European University Association (EUA), etc.

University of Rijeka, Croatia

Rijeka, Croatia