get to know eciu
in brussels

ECIU is a strong advocate in Brussels for innovative universities. We believe that close collaboration across Europe between cities and regions, businesses, and citizens, coupled with bold educational innovations are essential for our learners, teachers, researchers and society in general.

ECIU works together with European stakeholders, policy makers, politicians and opinion leaders to further develop innovative universities. e.g. in European knowledge programmes, like Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe.

ECIU has an office in Brussels, headed by Olga Wessels, to closely follow-up on all the latest EU programmes and R&I Policy developments. In addition, we also have an expert group on R&I Policy and Programmes' with our institutional experts. Within the network, ECIU members seek joint action towards the European institutions to influence the debate on European funding programmes and policy. Here, ECIU with its specific profile can offer a unique view on the needs for modern and innovative universities.

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Olga Wessels

The ESEU-project

The ESEU-project, of which all ECIU members and many of their national authorities are a partner, will test a possible European legal status for higher education institutions to simplify international cooperation and advice European policy-makers about shaping future policies in this field. The project will report on the legal implications, benefits, challenges and feasibility of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC), the European Cooperative Society (SCE), the Societas Europea (SE) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

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cofunded by the european union logo

ECIU University:
A European University

At the core of the ECIU University is the challenge-based approach where multi-disciplinary teams work on real-life challenges and co-develop ideas and solutions. ECIU University adopted a challenge-based approach cross-cutting activity in Education, Research and Innovation, a novelty at the European level.

In the pilot phase (2019-2022), we have sourced over 160 cases for European wide challenges from over 100 providers. More than 600 learners worked on challenges on real-life problems, and more than 150 teachers co-created the ECIU University offers.

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Our Engagement

Joint Consortium Responses and Position Papers

Expert Groups

The ECIU Expert Group R&I Policy and Programmes (R&I Group) represents all member universities and is open to all research managers and administrators providing research and innovation services, i.e. funding, in ECIU.

The current members are: 

  • Ulla Egidiussen Egekvis, Aalborg University
  • Luísa Fernandes, University of Aveiro
  • Nuria Claver, Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Sophie Ball & Amy Hall, Dublin City University
  • Monica Schofield, Hamburg University of Technology
  • Laure Fabre & Alina Holcroft, INSA Group
  • Vilma Karobliené, Kaunas University of Technology
  • Agnieszka Tiele and Agnieszka Dybala-Defratyka (Chair), Lodz University of Technology
  • Agneta Jansson, Linköping University
  • Antonio Pita Szczesniewski, TEC de Monterrey
  • Kyrre Aas, Stavanger University
  • Jörg Langwaldt, Tampere University
  • Francesca Tomasi, University of Trento

The ECIU Expert Group Educational Cooperation Policy and Programmes (EduCo Group) is open to all Erasmus+ managers and administrators working on external funding support from member universities of ECIU.

The current members are:

  • Sophie Ball, Dublin City University (Chair)
  • Siri Elisabeth Haug, University of Stavanger
  • Xavier Biarnés, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Laure Fabre, INSA Toulouse
  • Kirsi Hasanen, Tampere University
  • Viviana Caldara, University of Trento
  • Nicole Frei, Hamburg University of Technology
  • Alves Ruben & Angela Espinha, Universidade de Aveiro
  • Sophie Ball, Dublin City University
  • Vilma Karobliene, Kaunas University of Technology
  • Nils Peter Terp Uhre, Aalborg Universitet
  • Dorota Piotrowska, Lodz University of Technology
  • Tiny Luiten, University of Twente
  • Montoya Bayardo Miguel Angel, Tec de Monterrey


The aims of both groups are to:

  • Foster best-practice exchange (in R&I and in Educational Cooperation)
  • Support ECIU initiatives related to EU affairs 
  • Strategic foresight and proactive identification of funding opportunities and coordinate joint proposals
  • Gain and share intelligence
  • Support bottom-up initiatives of academic staff members of ECIU Universities for research /educational proposals or initiate project applications for calls that are using ECIU as a framework

Strategic European Projects Office

What is SEPO

SEPO is a platform to pool expertise for all external grants and funding opportunities relating to ECIU University priorities and needs according to the Vision 2030 and the ECIU thematic action plans.

It is composed of:

  • Members of the Research & Innovation (R&I) Group and of the Educational Cooperation Policy and Programmes (EduCo) Group[PL(S1] ;
  • European Funding Adviser.
  • It has a SEPO core team, composed of the European funding adviser, the two chairs of the ECIU expert groups R&I and Edu, and the head of the ECIU Brussels office. The latter links the operations of SEPO with the Brussels networks and the European Commission through lobbying and information-sharing efforts.
Graphic explaining SEPO

Aims of SEPO

SEPO has the following aims:

  • to pool expertise for all external grants and funding opportunities relating to ECIU University priorities and needs according to the Vision 2030 and the ECIU thematic action plans
  • to scout for funding opportunities
  • to provide strategic support decisions for project development, and lead initiatives for R& I and educational project proposals in line with the Vision 2030 and the ECIU thematic action plans
  • to provide a competence centre for training, capacity building, and project management communities
  • to act as a lobbying mechanism towards the EU and national level regarding funding and financial investments, in close cooperation with the ECIU Brussels office.
  • Through the R&I and Edu group, to support bottom-up initiatives of academic staff “making use” of the ECIU as a framework and using it to prove the sustainable, long-term collaboration of the project, and for projects which support the research or education agenda

For information, please contact laura.paternoster@eciu.eu

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