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ECIU University: challenge-based learning and innovation

UiS is part of ECIU University, the first European university where learners and researchers cooperate with cities and businesses to solve real-life challenges.

Publisert: Endret:

The ECIU alliance





Common goals

Entrepreneurship, innovation and societal impact

ECIU University: The future of education!

The ECIU University is an initiative of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU alliance) that creates a ground-breaking and innovative educational model on a European scale. Through the initiative, ECIU alliance builds the ECIU University with open and flexible system, an entire new concept of the European University for the future.

Ultimate goal of ECIU University project is to establish a true European University where learners, researchers, business, public organizations and citizens are enabled to create relevant innovative solutions for real life challenges with real societal impact.

Ground-breaking and innovative University model

ECIU University is determined to change the way of delivering education from degree based to challenge-based. It brings to life true European university where learners and researchers cooperate with cities and businesses to solve real-life challenges.

Taking on a challenge from the building industry

A unique learning experience

Masoumeh Shahverdi

The ECIU University represents a unique example of a European University creating, testing and evaluating not only an educational pedagogy but also a whole innovation system, steering all the university activities, from education to research, from administration and support to innovation and valorisation.

The ECIU University is an ambitious undertaking, with distinctive features that makes it unique:

Societal impact by solving challenges

At the ECIU University learners – students, researchers and employees from partner universities, partner companies and public organisations – join forces across disciplines to solve problems. Knowledge is offered through relevant academic courses, as and when needed, as well as through cutting-edge research. In this pilot phase the ECIU University focuses on challenges related to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

Flexible, diverse and tailored education

ECIU University is based on learning modules of high academic standard that are offered by partners from industry and society. New, open and easily accessible micro-credentials are created in collaboration with stakeholders. A Competence passport tailored to the learners' needs, instead of offering a fixed “one-size-fits-all” degree the increased flexibility to enable life-long learners to access education more easily.

Challenge-based education

ECIU University will set up Innovation of Education Labs – physical and virtual spaces where teachers can innovate and deliver classes, meet peers and share best practices. Innovation in education is fostered in-creation with learners, industry and public organisations.

Challenge-based research and innovation

The ECIU University Innovation Hubs will be used as physical and virtual locations combining open innovation methods. The necessary impact is generated organising people from different disciplines and professions, with different knowledge, skills and experience. This will also foster global interaction among scientists, regional and international stakeholders.

Embedded mobility

Physical, virtual and blended mobility of learners, academic staff and staff of stakeholders is seamlessly integrated into all ECIU University activities. Staff and learners mobility is a core aspect of the challenge-based approach, allowing ECIU University can draw on the benefits of international diversity. Bringing together learners and teachers from many cultures with varied work experiences and different perspectives and approaches strengthens the European competitiveness by placing innovation at its core.

‍Societal impact by solving challenges

The increased number of complex local, as well as global challenges, makes it evident that there is a need for a new pedagogical approach to higher education – a construction of a learning and training process based on real life situations. The approach that that makes a difference and proposes a deep, engaging, meaningful and purposeful way of acquiring and developing the knowledge and skills needed for the future. The concept will be not limited but connected to research and innovation, making it challenge-based as well.

Universities are Europe’s keys to solving grand societal challenges. Innovative universities are not only connectors but also drivers of innovation ecosystems. They provide systemic change with the results of excellent research and their contributions to social transformation. Therefore challenge-based learning proposed by ECIU University is putting this role into practice.

At ECIU University learners, researchers and employees from partner companies and public organization join and solve problems working together and combining cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary way. Challenges are posted by industrial and societal stakeholders. Knowledge is offered on a need, just in time, basis.

The challenge-based model offers flexible and open education that:Engages different stakeholders to identify a challenge and form trans-national and trans-sectorial teams to work on that specific challenge. Select challenges focusing on research, societal or innovation questions. Develop relevant education pathways, e.g. micro-credentials, around the specific challenge. Allow teams and individuals to participate in the educational activities and deliver outputs: services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.

In this pilot phase ECIU University focuses on challenges related to UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 „Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable“.‍

‍ECIU University for You

The challenge-based method provides learners and researchers with innovation skills and entrepreneurship attitude, as it puts together collaborative partnerships of different actors, with diverse background, coming from different sectors and disciplines (learners, researchers, industries, research & technology organizations, public authorities, academia’s staff). Different categories of people will then work together to identify European challenges and find relevant solutions, bringing to the discussion table different talents, backgrounds and expertise.

Learn more about ECIU University for learners, teachers, researchers, companies and public institutions on the ECIU University website.

Contacts at UiS:

Astrid Birgitte Eggen

ECIU University board member

Bjarte Hoem

ECIU local coordinator and ECIU University ambassador

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