ECIU University:
A European University

The ECIU University will change the way of offering education from being degree-based to being challenge-based. Our learners and researchers will contribute to solving climate crises and other urgent challenges that Europe will face. The ECIU University will constitute be a real European university where learners, teachers and researchers cooperate with cities and regions, businesses, and citizens to solve real-life challenges in a unique and, flexible way. Furthermore, the challenges will focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities. This means learners at ECIU University will be tackling real and important problems in society and help shape a better world.

We are the largest European University alliance with 12 members and extensive European coverage. Today, we see the European Universities initiative as a historical opportunity. For ECIU, building a European University is a fundamental change and a long-term process, not a project.

View the ECIU University Vision 2030

About European Universities Initiative

Already in 2017, the ECIU Board members, staff and students of the ECIU Universities started to discuss the future of innovative Universities in Europe. Within the ECIU network, first ideas on a joint and future-proof European university were developed. In September 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed the idea of the creation of networks of European universities as “drivers of educational innovation and the quest for excellence”. The EU education and mobility programme Erasmus+ became the central programme for the implementation of the initiative.

ECIU was involved in the process of developing the call by participating in stakeholder consultations and published a position paper, and, later on, the call for proposals for the first pilot in October 2018 to which the ECIU network with all its partners submitted the ECIU University project. In June 2019, it was announced that ECIU got the three-year funding to pioneer with the ECIU University.

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The ECIU University Work packages and deliverables

WP1 | Management of the project and governance

 The following topics are covered and assured in this WP:

  • focus on project scope
  • integration and change management
  • project deliverables
  • governance
  • reporting
  • finances and legal issues
  • internal communication between the members of the alliance

WP 1 Lead 
Project Manager
Mari Andela
University of Twente

WP2 | Challenge-based research

  • WP2 develops joint research structures and policies in support of the overall work plan of the alliance, focussing on UN SDG 11 during this pilot phase
  • WP2 contributes to the overall ECIU University goal of strengthening links between participating universities and developing new strategies to work in a more unified manner
  • WP2 is instrumental in further integrating university research into third-level education and providing a model for other universities to follow

WP 2 Lead 
Greg Hughes
Dublin City University

WP3 | Challenge-based education

  • WP 3 organizes the set-up of teams of learners, teachers and other stakeholders to work on challenges provided by WP5
  • WP 3 works on the assessment of challenge-based learning schemes
  • WP 3 provides educational support in the Innovation of Education Labs
  • WP 3 develops a challenge-based joint Master degree

WP 3 Lead 
Andrea Brose         
Hamburg University of Technology

WP4 | Open and flexible learning (Micro-credentials)

  • WP 4 identifies of most critical current educational offerings related to challenge-based learning and creates new additional offerings, including an ECIU University MOOCs of Micro-credentials practices
  • WP 4 sets the framework for micro-credentials and competence passport to store and exchange micro-credentials
  • WP 4 looks into the recognition of CBL in existing educational structures

WP 4 Lead 
Henri Pirkkalainen 
Tampere University

WP5 | Challenge-based innovation

  •  WP 5 creates a challenge-based innovation system for the alliance, through the establishment and the management of partnership arenas and Innovation Hubs (co-creative physical/virtual environments for the engagement of relevant stakeholders, the definition and revision of challenges) and the identification of a new model for the valorisation of results
  • WP5 includes four activities designed to support the formulation of relevant challenges for education and research purposes, as well as to support the innovation output of these processes

WP 5 Lead 
Jan Axelsson
Linköping University

WP6 | Mobility

  • WP 6 sets out the activities and tasks that the alliance undertakes in its pursuit of the mobility objectives set out in the ERASMUS+ Call for Proposals and in its endeavour to put into practice a vision of a European Education Area, in particular “to encourage the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study". The target group in this work packages is not only learners but also teachers, researchers, different support staff and external stakeholders.

WP 6 Lead 
Artur Silva
Aveiro University

WP7 | Joint support services and structures

  • WP 7 provides a solid platform for the implementation of the alliance activities
  • WP 7 looks at the status of institutional and programme accreditation and traditional course design at partner universities; the Admission and selection of students and staff for CBL across the alliance
  • WP 7 sets up a Strategic European projects administration and a Student guidance and welfare services
  • WP 7 works on IT platforms to manage and transfer micro-credentials

WP 7 Lead 
Trym Holbek
University of Stavanger

SMART-ER Seed Programme Guidelines

WP8 | Make the ECIU University a reality

  • WP8 lays the foundation for an obstacle-free environment to operate in as European university. This is done in a co-creation process with the learners and other relevant stakeholders
  • WP 8 pilots an Ethical framework for stakeholder engagement

WP 8 Lead 
Heli Harrikari
Tampere University

WP9 | Dissemination and sustainability

  • WP 9 is responsible for dissemination of information on the project. Also the alliance seeks to achieve sustainability and longevity in its structure and activities. For this reason, a Sustainability strategy is developed and adopted

WP 9 Lead 
Giedrė Šadeikaitė
Kaunas University of Technology

Contact us

Katrin Dircksen

Katrin Dircksen

ECIU Secretary General

Sander Lotze

Sander Lotze

ECIU University Project Director

Olga Wessels

Olga Wessels

Head of ECIU Brussels Office

Laura Paternoster

Laura Paternoster

EU Funding Advisor

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