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Join international teams, gain new skills and solve real-life challenges

ECU University is 13 European universities working together to reinvent the way you learn. On our brand new platform, you can discover and join learning opportunities to boost your skills and competences, and work on real-life problems with people across Europe.
  • Challenges are learning opportunities that engage diverse teams to solve real-life problems using a novel and practical method of challenge-based learning (CBL). ECIU University picks challenges that the communities and organisations face at this very moment.
  • Micro-modules are short learning opportunities that support learners to fill their knowledge gaps and boost their capabilities to successfully engage in ECIU University challenges.

At the moment we offer 4 main topics: Circular economy, Energy and sustainability, Resilient communities, and Transport and mobility. In addition to these themes, we also focus on the theme of entrepreneurship, technology and innovation as well as developing competencies, such as language learning.

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ECIU University campaign image showing students working togehter

Why ECIU University?

Gain international experience

The possibility to study at different European universities the way you want. Go on short-term exchange, meet up for a few days or participate online.

Collaborate with companies and organisations

Grow your network of connections and work with business, public organisations or NGOs.

Make a real impact

Gain first-hand experience and a possibility to contribute to real societal change.



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learning opportunities on our new platform.


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challenges and micro modules.


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learning opportunity.


  • Be an enrolled student of one of the 13 ECIU University member institutions
    while having completed at least 120 ECTS during higher education studies ((exemptions may apply when possible))
  • Have a B2 level of English language proficiency (Self-assessment, CEFR of languages)

If you are not an enrolled student of one of the ECIU University members and you are interested in ECIU learning opportunities, then please contact us via this contact form. Explore frequently asked questions here.

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“We worked on helping the city of Enschede to transition to the circular economy, our role was to advise the policy writers and the municipality. I had interviews with experts and met a lot of great people. I learned a lot about sustainability in general, and I also gained some practical knowledge. That is actually how I even got a current job offer – skills and knowledge acquired while solving the challenge were the positive triggers in my application”

Ivona Glisic
Ivona Glišić
Student University of Twente

“This challenge gave me a fantastic opportunity to work with students from a diverse range of backgrounds.  We had the opportunity to examine Stavanger’s architecture and spaces from a different perspective and experience it differently, so that we could understand specific local challenges. Following a city tour and CBL based planning sessions our team came up with an idea of a vertical community garden. Our idea was that this could be located in an empty grain silo and incorporate different services so the unused space becomes a real asset to the community of Stavanger”.

Portrait Tim
Tim Marshall
University of Stavanger

“I consider challenge-based learning as an “out-of-box” thinking and the great way to develop the entrepreneurial mind-set that strongly deviates from traditional learning. I had an opportunity to connect with local businesses, to know their needs. Our team had weekly meetings with challenge providers and building owners to guide us towards the result”.

Potrait Armin
Armin Shahab
University of Stavanger

“What I liked is that challenges are about real life, real issues, not something made-up. It gave me a unique experience to acquire both soft and hard skills, not only learn about the problems you are solving but also to practice public speaking, idea mapping, negotiation, project management and teamwork skills. We also had very interesting speakers, providing their experience and great ideas”.

Portrait Ruta Peliksiene
Rūta Pelikšienė
Kaunas University of Technology

“I mastered new skills and I learned new things both through online classes and group-work exercises. What I got the most out of it? To learn to work in a group. We must divide tasks, present as a fully-fledged group to other individuals, meet the deadline on time, and try to find a collective solution to our challenge.”

Portrait Frederica
Federica Tagliavini
University of Trento

“It was a good learning opportunity. You work hands-on and learn in practice. We have worked in an existing environment with experts. That is a big difference compared with fictitious cases. This was much more awesome. In these few weeks, I have got to know many people, worldwide, developed new skills, and met the real work field.”

Portrait Robin
Robin Ross
University of Twente



Information on funding opportunities and health and welfare services during your learning experience in ECIU.
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Travel information and advice on how to find suitable accommodation when travelling to an ECIU institution.
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Are you a professional learner interested in participating in ECIU and ECIU University activities? Learn about the ECIU University offer to professional learners and consult our contact points at each ECIU institution
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Please contact us via our contact form.
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Flexible learning pathways title

Flexible Learning Pathways inspire learners to find solutions  to challenges arising from real-life socioeconomic problems confronting  Europe and the globe  while learning new skills and competences in a personalised way.  

Flexible Learning Pathways allow learners to customise their learning  and have control of their learning records. Learners can adapt their learning journey  based on their needs, interests, and circumstances at different stages of  life. Flexible Learning Pathways offer different lengths and depths of learning experiences with the  flexibility to choose challenges and micro-modules.

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How does it work?

graphic about flexible learning pathways

Do a self-assessment to understand which  topics or competence and skill you like to develop further.  


Choose a challenge or  micro-module, that intrigues you. You can choose to deep dive into specific skills or develop a wide  range of different skills.   


Your learning pathway is being designed to offer flexibility while  providing a structure to the learning based on your competences and interests.  

Why engage in flexible learning pathways?

  • Solve real life challenges and  contribute to real societal change.  
  • Gain in-depth competences in  your chosen path.
  • Experiment and learn in a  self-customised learning path.
  • Engage and learn in challenge-based  learning setting in inter-cultural and multidisciplinary teams.
  • Connect to and expand your  networks
  • Gain digital credential  certificates recognised by 13 European universities
  • Align your skills with  future labour market needs.

Questions? Please contact us via this contact form. Explore frequently asked questions here.

    About ECIU university offers


At ECIU University learners, teachers, researchers, representatives of businesses and public organisations - join forces across a variety of disciplines to solve real-life problems, using the challenge-based learning (CBL) education model.

The challenges are provided by a city, region or business stakeholder of the ECIU University. Then each member university selects several challenges provided by their region, city or community and invites learners and students to explore join the challenge-solving team.
Graphic explaining challenge based learning
CBL is a learner-driven method, where learners take ownership of their challenge, define the problems they want to work on, and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to solve the challenge. Teachers guide and facilitate team culture, help students to manage the tasks and enable students to move towards innovative thinking.

The ECIU University’s challenge-based learning approach follows a specific structure consisting of three main steps: engage, investigate and act.

Engagement: The basis for motivation is to be working on a “Big Idea”. This might be anything within a social, economic, or environmental theme such as health or public transportation. All the participants, teachers, students and external partners make sure that they agree on the final challenge to work on.

Investigation: All the team needs to ensure that they all understand the challenge and can contribute towards solving it with their knowledge and skills. Teams can take micro-modules to fill in the knowledge gaps or gain new skills that might help them solve the challenge.

Action: partners can use their shared knowledge to design, evaluate and prototype new solutions. Teams might deliver their proposed solutions further – which may include services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.
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Micro Modules

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Micro-modules are short learning experience that supports learners to fill their knowledge gaps and boost their capabilities to successfully engage in ECIU University challenges.

How does it work?
While working on the challenge, the participants may find out that they lack certain knowledge or skills to solve the challenge. They will be given an opportunity to participate in micro-modules related to the challenge they are working on.

In addition to this, learners from ECIU member universities can take any micro-module, even if they are not participating in the challenge.

Micro-modules can be of different types:

  • Micro-modules that widen the knowledge related to a specific field, for example, Communication and transport systems, Energy and sustainability, Circular economy.
  • Micro-modules that help to develop transversal skills, for example, intercultural communication or project management.
  • Foreign language micro-modules.

Exchange and Mobility


When you are taking part in an ECIU University challenge or micro module, online or at one of the ECIU institutions, or going on an exchange semester to one of the ECIU institutions we support you in preparing your learning experience.
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The ECIU Minor programme allow groups or individual learners to spend a semester at a likeminded ECIU partner university. Learners can choose their host university themselves, as each of the partners offers different courses and specialisations completely in English. The ECIU Minor programme is a fixed set of preapproved courses of 30 ECTS. They fit into the curriculum set of courses at the home institution. Credits will be fully recognised.


Are you looking for an inspiring way to spend your summer? The ECIU Summer Schools offer you a number of high-quality courses to choose from.
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