28 June 2019

LiU is a member of the consortium of universities that has been awarded funds from the European Commission to form the virtual university of the future – ECIU University. The education provided is to be challenge-driven, interdisciplinary and contribute to solving contemporary challenges.

Sustainable cities
A three-year pilot project will focus on sustainable cities and communities. borchee


“We are delighted that our application has been granted and it’s obvious that there’s a lot of prestige in being involved and creating one of the first European universities”, says Jan Axelsson, director of collaboration at LiU.

The European Consortium of Innovative Universities, ECIU, has received EUR 5 million for the ECIU University, which will initially be a three-year pilot project that is the first to offer challenge-driven education in a European context.

Jan Axelsson has been involved from the start, from the first vague sketches on a serviette at a dinner in Lithuania to the application, which has been successful in the face of tough competition. Of 49 applications submitted in response to the European Universities call for applications, 17 were granted. The 17 projects have received a total of EUR 85 million.

“We plan to concentrate during the pilot project on offering exciting and innovative courses within one of the UN’s sustainable development goals: Sustainable cities and communities. Of course, LiU already has several courses that can be brought in under a completely new context, not least the Ingenious course, which we have given for several years now”, says Jan Axelsson.

Innovation hubs

LiU’s role within the consortium is to take responsibility, together with companies and other actors in society, for finding the challenges that students are to work towards solving. Three “challenge innovation hubs” will be created in Linköping, Hamburg and Barcelona.

“It’s our job to coordinate the hubs and receive challenges from the world around us, and to ensure that functioning innovation systems are available to deal with the ideas and knowledge that arise”, says Jan Axelsson.

Other universities are to work with the development of course packages and teaching methods, etc.

The project will open on 1 November 2019, and the period between now and then will be spent designing the new organisation, not only at LiU but also at the other universities who are members of ECIU.

“It’s possible that we will be able to offer the first course packages in the autumn of 2020, and it is one of our goals to increase mobility between the universities within ECIU – for students, teachers and researchers”, says Jan Axelsson.

Deep commitment

Thirteen universities are member of ECIU and involved in the ECIU University: 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.

Many companies are also involved in the ECIU University, among them Ericsson, Airbus and Cisco.

More information
Press release from ECIU
Press release from the European Commission

Translated by George Farrants


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