07 March 2019

LiU is one of thirteen European universities behind an application to the European universities call of the EU Commission. The objective is to forge a common and innovative university, dedicated to solving contemporary challenges.

Thor Balkhed

“We want to reform our education to become challenge-driven and more flexible. Students from different countries and disciplines will be given the opportunity to solve together some of the challenges facing society. We have chosen to concentrate on the latter part of a student’s education, at master’s level”, says Jan Axelsson, director of collaboration at Linköping University.

The 13 European universities that are members of ECIU, The European Consortium of Innovative Universities, have united to submit a common plan for an ECIU university. An application has been submitted to the EU Commission and the consortium has high hopes of it being approved, despite stiff competition (54 applications have been submitted, of which a maximum of 12 will be approved).

Entrepreneurial university

“The time is ripe to start an entrepreneurial university to challenge conventional thinking about education”, says Victor van der Chijs, chairman of ECIU and vice-chancellor at Twente University, in a press release.

The idea is to base the model on InGenious, the innovative courses that have been given for some years now by Linköping University, among others. Students from different disciplines join to solve problems defined by companies, county councils, municipalities and organisations.

At Linköping University, Jan Axelsson and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Peter Värbrand have so far been most deeply engaged in the work with the ECIU university.

“We have contacted the university faculties, the county council and industries, and received a strongly positive response”, says Jan Axelsson.

If the application is approved, more people from both the faculties and the county council will become involved.

Defining challenges

“LiU is leading a working group to organise and coordinate receiving challenges from the world around us, and defining, verifying and ensuring the quality of the challenges we focus on. Several large companies have undertaken to contribute, including Ericsson, Airbus and around 10 others, so this will be a truly exciting project”, says Jan Axelsson.

The LiU-led working group includes representatives for different parts of Europe, from the south to the north.

“Many county councils are interested, and we are sure that they have common challenges that can be solved using an international and interdisciplinary approach”, says Jan Axelsson.

If innovative solutions are developed that have the potential for commercialisation, as the ECIU universities hope, the innovation offices of the various countries will become involved.

“This is also within our area of responsibility”, says Jan Axelsson.

The application has just been submitted, and if it is approved, the project will start on 1 November.


The universities that are members of ECIU, The European Consortium of Innovative Universities, and that have jointly submitted the application 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, Great Britain. University of Stavanger, Norway. University of Trento, Italy. Tampere University, Finland. University of Twente, the Netherlands. and Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

Video from ECIU




Pressrelease from ECIU



Latest news from LiU

Three people behind a drill

Their project must stand up to a space trip

The students from LiU were given a dream assignment: develop a pressure-resistant device. A device that contains an experiment. And is to be launched into space.

young man taking a break from running.

Physical fitness in adolescence linked to less atherosclerosis later

Men who were physically fit when they were young had a lower risk of atherosclerosis almost 40 years later. These findings suggest that atherosclerosis is one of the mechanisms behind the link between physical fitness and cardiovascular disease.

Two female student, dissasembling an Ikea product.

Students disassemble Ikea products

This is part of a research project in which LiU students get to collaborate with the Swedish furniture giant. The students document possibility of repairing, replacing and reusing.