Skip to main content

The challenge-based ECIU University is born

Published on 12.11.2019
Tampere University
ECIU University kick-off was hosted by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, ECIU’s Spanish member.
Celebrating the status of European University given by the EU, 11 members or the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) met in Barcelona on 7 November to mark the official kick-off of their innovative university model.


Launch in Barcelona 

ECIU University was one of 17 international initiatives selected by the European Commission, after it announced a call for European Universities as part of the EU Erasmus+ programme. All 17 university alliances convened in Brussels on 7 November to discuss the transformative role of the European Universities initiative for higher education. Tibor Navracsics, European commissioner responsible for higher education, and European ministers responsible for higher education, attended the event.  

Later that day, the official ECIU University kick-off was hosted by Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, ECIU’s Spanish member. Using its facilities at the Bellaterra campus and the UAB Casa Convalescència in Barcelona, the ECIU University Board met for the first time on 7 and 8 November.  

A new education concept 

The project will receive 5 million Euros in funding over three years. The objective is to establish a new concept of international university, going beyond what is Erasmus mobility programmes and international relations, with new academic, research and transfer methods which are more flexible, international and based on the resolution of real-life problems. 

Education will be based on solving challenges, embedded international mobility and collaborations among universities. Learners will get micro-credentials for short, very specialised training courses, and a competence “passport” which will provide an individualised account of what each student has learned and the skills acquired.  

- The creation of the ECIU University is perfectly in line with the development of education at Tampere University and therefore offers us a natural international dimension. It is an excellent example of how the development of higher education requires bold ideas and the ability to think outside the box, says Director, Continuous Learning Heli Harrikari. She serves as the principal investigator of the ECIU project at Tampere University.  

 - The future of higher education is not something to be envisioned and reshaped by higher education institutions alone. The ECIU University is not a project that has a beginning and an end. Instead, it is here to stay, Harrikari says.  

 With regard to research and knowledge transfer, a series of living labs will be created in both physical and online spaces where university researchers will work directly with businesses and institutions in the definition and monitoring of projects.  

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 students, industry and public organisations.  

The ECIU University Innovation Hubs will be used as physical and virtual locations for innovation. 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.  


ECIU websites