Ways to Participate

There are several ways for business and societal partners to join the ECIU University activities:
We now see a shift in the paradigm towards an economy, funded on the basis of co-creation, creativity, innovation, and design skills that tackle the complex global challenges society faces. The models of technology and knowledge transfer are progressively shifting into societal impact visions. For the ECIU University this translates into the concept of a challenged-based approach; a model where learners, and researchers cooperate with cities and businesses to solve real-life challenges. 

We understand that established and regular connections between businesses, public institutions and universities are vital to the innovation processes, bringing fundamental knowledge and an interdisciplinary approach. The challenge-based approach at the ECIU University can help organisations to design fast and flexible solutions. In doing so, it allows learners researchers and potential employees to continuously learn and to acquire specific skills and in-depth knowledge. It also strengthens the value in the relationship between partners.
Solve Challenges Typography

Why participate?


Enable ECIU University students and teachers to work on your provided challenge. The interdisciplinary and international teams might provide you with an entirely novel solution. 
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Solving your provided challenge helps the ECIU University learners gain much in demand problem-solving, teamwork and creative skills. 


Working together with the brightest and most active minds across Europe gives you the opportunity for cooperation and links with prospective employees and business partners.


Participation provides you with an opportunity to find solutions to the most pressing current issues within social, economic, and environmental challenges. In addition, joining the ECIU University, gives you an opportunity to co-create one of the first European Universities to be developing the new way for education on the European scale.
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Local Partnership Arenas

Contacts for the ECIU University Local Partnership Arenas
  • Aalborg (Denmark): Morten Dahlgaard, mda@adm.aau.dk
  • Aveiro (Portugal): Filipe Teles, filipe.teles@ua.pt
  • Barcelona (Spain): Iván Martínez, Ivan.Martinez@uab.cat
  • Dublin (Irland): Deiric O'Broin, deiric.obroin@dcu.ie
  • Hamburg (Germany): Sascha Diedler, eciu@tuhh.de 
  • INSA (France): Marie-Agnès Detourbe, detourbe@insa-toulouse.fr 
  • Kaunas (Lithuania): Mindaugas Bulota, mindaugas.bulota@ktu.lt
  • Linköping (Sweden): Jan Axelsson,  jan.axelsson@liu.se
  • Stavanger (Norway): Troels Jacobsen, troels.jacobsen@uis.no
  • Tampere (Finland): Pauli Kuosmanen, pauli.kuosmanen@tuni.fi
  • Trento (Italy): Roberto Napoli, roberto.napoli@unitn.it
  • Twente (Netherlands): Marike Boertien, m.boertien@utwente.nl
Through the twelve Local Partnership Arenas, set up by the ECIU University initiative, contemporary challenges for the advancement of a future viable society are sourced, discussed, refined and eventually posted as defined challenge-based learning opportunities for ECIU University learners and teachers. The challenges are later published in the ECIU University challenge platform for participants to apply and engage in.The Local Partnership Arenas are built on quadruple-helix settings, involving private, public, as well as civic partners, and academia. An ECIU University Challenge Partner is not only the supplier of the challenge but is also actively involved in the progress of the work. Sometimes participating in (part of) the project challenge-solving process as an external specialist, or maybe as the most preferred adopter of results or even as a co-learning member of the development team.

If you want to know more how the ECIU University Challenge work, please contact our Local Partnership Arenas.

The challenge-based approach

The challenge-based approach starts with the challenge: we welcome businesses, city and regional governments to provide the challenge for the ECIU University teams to solve. 

Once the teams of learners and facilitators are formed, they begin working with the challenge provider, investigating the challenge and proposing a set of possible solutions, using the challenge-based learning methodology. 

During the process, a team can select relevant learning micro-modules from ECIU member universities to help them gain knowledge or skills needed to solve the challenge. 

Finally, teams deliver their set of solutions to the challenge - which may also include services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.
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The ECIU and its members have close ties to local businesses, SME's, NGO’s and the regions. Because of this, we have initial commitment to the ECIU University from the following business and public stakeholders in a wide range of diverse industries and European regions.

Our partners


Airbus, aerospace sector, Germany
Cisco, networking hardware and software, The Netherlands
Sandoz Industrial Products, S.p.A. – Gruppo Novartis, healthcare company, Italy
Intel, Technology, Ireland
Ericsson AB, technology and service provider to telecom operators, Sweden
Ignitis Group, Energy company, Lithuania
Lyse Group, Energy and telecommunication, Norway
Ponsse, Production and sales of forest machines, Finland
Suez Environment, Water and waste sector, Spain
NXP, Semiconductors, Germany
Engineering Ingegneria Informatica SpA, Information, Technology sector, Italy
Sick AG, Sensor Intelligence, Germany

Public StAkEholders


Autonomous Province of Trento
Municipality of Trento
Confindustria Trento, Employers’ Association
Hub Innovazione Trentino, Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Agency


Barcelona City Council
Cerdanyola del Vallès City
PIMEC 2030, Public stakeholder, SME and craft association


City of Enschede
Oost NL , Regional Development Agency


City of Hamburg, Germany


City of Stavanger


City of Tampere
Tampere Region


Danish Minister of Higher Education


Fingal County Council


Inter-Municipal Community of the Region of Aveiro(CIRA)


Kaunas City Region
Kaunas District Municipality, Lithuania


Region Östergötland

Contact us

Katrin Dircksen

Katrin Dircksen

ECIU Secretary General

Sander Lotze

Sander Lotze

ECIU University Project Director (on leave)

Olga Wessels

Olga Wessels

Head of ECIU Brussels Office

Laura Paternoster

Laura Paternoster

EU Funding Advisor

Mireía Gali

Mireía Gali

ECIU University Interim Director

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