Towards an European University



The European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) is determined to change the way of delivering education from degree based to challenge based. ECIU’s proposal to the EU suggests a ground-breaking and innovative educational model on a European scale.

On February 28, the consortium submitted its proposal for the EU's European Universities call. The 13 member universities and associated partners jointly introduce a concept which focusses primarily on solving challenges provided by industry and society.

The initiative is dubbed the ECIU University. Victor van der Chijs (the University of Twente and President of ECIU) says: ‘With this proposal ECIU shows that it is ready to truly innovate Europe’s higher education landscape, being entrepreneurial and challenging conventional thinking.’

The ECIU University

Universities have to reinvent their relationship with society and the challenges surrounding them. The ECIU University responds to the serious challenges the world is facing. Challenges we can only solve together.

Our universities have the research, knowledge and people. We know the industry and society stakeholders, including their needs. Therefore, the ECIU University will bring the needs of students and stakeholders together and change our way of delivering education from degree based to challenge based.

Challenge based

In order to solve challenges, ECIU universities will assemble teams of regular students and people from industry and society, including lifelong learners. All learners have different backgrounds and thus different needs for knowledge and skills. This is exactly what the ECIU University, its partners, and its stakeholders will cater to.

Solving challenges in this way will provide solutions for stakeholders and new knowledge for the learners. Some learners will use this knowledge for their degrees, others document it in a competence passport.


The plan for the ECIU University is co-created with industry, public organisations, society, academics, future and current students at stakeholder events all over Europe. ‘What should the university of the future look like?’ was the key question during these meetings.

The input is brought together in our application for the European Universities call of the European Commission. All ECIU Member Universities are committed to the vision described in this application. The universities industry partners and almost all regional public authorities also support the creation of the ECIU University. Supporting industry stakeholders are Airbus, Cisco, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica SpA, Ericsson AB, Hella, Intel, Lietuvos Energija, Lyse Group, NXP, Ponsse, Sandoz Industrial Products S.p.A. Gruppo Novartis, Sick AG, and Suez Environment.

“ECIU member universities have always been entrepreneurial. We are convinced that challenge-based education on a European scale, is the future of higher education, and crucial for the international competitiveness of European universities”, concludes Victor van der Chijs.

The start-up phase

If funded, the ECIU University project will kick-off in November 2019. The first phase of the project will last for three years, during which the concept will be developed further. In the first year, the ECIU University will start with several small transnational challenges that last for only a few days or weeks, involving stakeholders, students, teachers and researchers.

This will scale up to bigger, so-called ‘strategic challenges’, that will require work of 6 months or more. The whole process will be organised in such a way that all stakeholders are involved in developing the activities.


Members of the ECIU are Aalborg University, Denmark. Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Dublin City University, Ireland. Hamburg University of Technology, Germany. Linköping University, Sweden. Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. University of Nottingham, UK. University of Stavanger, Norway. University of Trento, Italy. Tampere University, Finland. University of Twente, the Netherlands. Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

Siehe auch: ... nnovative-universities.html

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