Centre for cross-border skills

Image Centre de compétences transfrontalièresNovaTris, the Centre for cross-border skills (ANR-11-IDEFI-0005) is a department of the Université de Haute-Alsace (UHA), whose mission is innovation in the cross-border and education field by providing intercultural support and advice. The Centre was founded in March 2012 by Prof. Serge Neunlist and Florence Duchêne-Lacroix, and certified as an Excellence in Innovative Training Initiative (IDEFI) by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as part of the Investments for the Future Programme. Its current director is Vera Sauter, who works closely with Serge Neunlist.

Dare to go beyond borders!

Image NovaTrisThe geographical location of the UHA, at the confluence of three countries, languages and cultures, enables it to operate in a distinctly cross-border regional economy. NovaTris is an interdisciplinary department that is therefore vital for its integration in the Upper Rhine.

NovaTris provides various forms of support for both students and UHA personnel, to encourage cross-border mobility and cooperation between the Eucor – The European Campus educational establishments in the Upper Rhine area. The Centre also brings its experience to bear in providing intercultural support and advice in the context of the European University project, EPICUR. In July 2019, it won the tender for European universities pilot projects, initiated by the European Commission as part of the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 programme: “Skills Alliance”. The project brings together the UHA and 7 other European universities.

The Centre’s motto – Dare to go beyond borders! – should be taken in its broader sense, not being restricted by national borders, but also applying to interpersonal, interprofessional and interdisciplinary limits.


The activities undertaken by NovaTris to encourage mobility, educational innovation, research and provide project support aim to promote intercultural skills development, which has become vital in the 21st century for enhancing self-knowledge and improving interactions with others.

The cross-border setting encourages students to experiment and develop this skillset on a daily basis. The courses offered combine living together in bi-national or tri-national groups and within various different cultural contexts. They encourage active participation and support an interdisciplinary approach.

The Centre offers a broad range of support and training that enables learners, irrespective of their field of study and their professional and personal experience, to acquire or develop skills that will ensure they are comfortable in a cross-border environment. Its work encourages active participation and supports an interdisciplinary approach.


For NovaTris, academic learning must go hand in hand with practical operational skills: multicultural teamwork, diversity management, organisation of international meetings, conflict transformation, etc.

To be comfortable in a multicultural environment, it is essential to have sound knowledge and understanding of oneself and others. NovaTris believes its broad range of approaches, contexts, tools and discussions provides valuable opportunities to realise vast potential for creativity and personal and professional development.

The NovaTris team and network include teachers, researchers, students, and economic and social players, who share this same conviction. The Centre takes a (self)-critical and interdisciplinary approach, respecting diversity of opinions and perspectives. This approach encourages challenging and divergent thinking.


Contact details

Université de Haute-Alsace, Maison de l’Étudiant
1 rue Alfred Werner
F-68093 Mulhouse Cedex

Tél : +33 (0)3 89 33 61 33
Courriel : novatris@uha.fr

Photo credit : Victoria Harster