MaKe a real

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Join international teams, gain new skills and solve real-life challenges

Dear students, ECIU University invites you to join challenges and micro-modules. It’s a unique opportunity to gain relevant skills for your future, develop ideas in an international environment and get in contact with business companies and public organizations.

Challenges are courses that engage diverse teams to solve real-life problems using a novel and practical method of challenge-based learning (CBL). Business and public partners provide real-life problems and are involved in the learning process. Themes circle around UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 Sustainable cities and communities.

Micro-modules support learners and help them fill the knowledge gaps, for example, widen their knowledge on strategic planning or sustainable development. Part of micro-modules also help foster entrepreneurial, inter-cultural communication, foreign language and other skills.


The core of the ECIU University is the challenge-based approach – a model where learners, teachers and researchers cooperate with business and society to solve real-life challenges.
  • Work in multidisciplinary and international teams.
  • Engage with business companies and societal partners across Europe.
  • Tackle local, national and global problems with a help of a novel, challenge-based learning model.
Any questions regarding participation in the challenges? Please write to us:  Explore frequently asked questions here!
Explore and apply to the challenges
  • Fill in the skill and knowledge gap in a particular area, for example, energy and sustainability, circular economy.
  • Develop transversal skills, for example, intercultural communication.
  • Learn foreign languages.
Learners can take micro-modules together with challenges or separately.

Even those learners who do not participate in any particular challenge are invited to take a micro-module in the area they are interested in.
Explore and apply the micro-modules
We opened several exciting challenges for professionals and lifelong learners and invite you to join our teams.
  • Participate in challenges which enable you to gain experience of open community culture and agile ways of working.
  • Gain insights and perspectives from experts and learners from different European universities and join a network of people with the diverse professional, cultural backgrounds and expertise.
  • Be able to acquire or deepen your knowledge in the area you are interested in and practice critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and entrepreneurship skills.
Explore our challenges for professionals
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How it works:

The ECIU Transnational Innovation Vouchers (TIV) can help teams develop innovation projects reaching out for knowledge and creating impact. The teams working on a challenge can now apply for a grant to cover costs for activities such as travel costs, communication activities, prototyping, using external services, etc. More information about vouchers can be found here.

Any questions? Please write to us:
Explore frequently asked questions here!
The challenge is provided by a city, region or business or public stakeholder and is entered onto the ECIU University Challenge Platform. The majority of the challenge and micro-modules are held online and are offered in English.
Learner registers to the Challenge platform and then applies to any challenge she or he finds intriguing. Applicationcriteria are listed below. The application deadlinevaries depending on the start of the challenge. If the challenge or micro-module is held onsite, at the member university, please check the mobility options at your university.
After the approval of applications, international or/and multidisciplinary teams are formed and include other learners and a team facilitator, called a “teamcher”.
The team works with the challenge provider (and other participants), engages and investigates the challenge, and proposes solutions using the challenge-based learning methodology. Challenges can vary in length, from one or two-day challenge, for example, hackathon or the challenge stretching up to the semester-length.
During the process, the team or individual participants can select micro-modules from ECIU member universities that help them gain additional knowledge or skills that are needed to solve the challenge. Learners can also take any micro-module separately from the challenge.
After successful completion of the challenge, receive a Certificate of Participation.
Finally, teams might deliver their proposed solutions further – which may include services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.
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  • Be a student in one of the 12 ECIU University member institutions.
  • Enrolment in a master’s, or a final year of a bachelor’s degree programme.
  • Completed 120 ECTS of higher education studies at the undergraduate level.
  • English language proficiency: B2 (Self-assessment, CEFR of languages).
  • Some challenges may have some special requirements,
    so make sure to look in the challenge description for any special extra criteria.


  • Enrolment information is provided in the micro-module description. Enrolment and admission to micro-modules is handled on a local level by the offering University, therefore specific admission criteria and additional enrolment steps might be required.


If you are a professional resident in one of the ECIU member’s countries with a Bachelor Degree and you have a curious personality, you are the perfect fit for our ECIU challenges.  All lifelong learners that are eager to create value in an area of interest and want to have an innovative experience can join our challenges. A good command of English is necessary as all challenges are held in English due to the international environment.

Any questions?

Please write to us:

Why participate?

Real Impact

Gain first-hand experience and a possibility to contribute to real societal change. The ECIU University challenges are the ones that communities and organisations face at this very moment. Participation in challenges gives a “first hand” experience and a possibility to contribute to real societal change: the community, city or region. ECIU University challenges evolve around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal no. 11 “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.


Challenges are provided by ECIU University stakeholders: business companies and public partners. Grow your network of connections and work with other learners, teachers, government, experts, business companies, and societal organisations from different backgrounds.


Working in the ECIU challenge is similar to the experience in a real job: working in teams, using innovative models and tackling real-life problems. During the process, participants exchange practices and ideas, develop problem-solving, team-work, communication skills, and, of course, practice English language.


ECIU challenges are international: for example, the problem comes from one municipality in Europe but students and experts gather from different countries to work together. Though the majority of challenges are held online, some of them might have physical mobility options, providing the students the possibility to go abroad, brainstorm, create and experiment in person.


Gain a Certificate of Participation after successful completion of the challenge. Proposed solutions to the challenges might be developed further, resulting in services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.


Grab an opportunity to experience and experiment with a new way of learning, and in doing so, help to co-create the ECIU University: the new way for education on the European scale.


“We worked on helping the city of Enschede to transition to the circular economy, our role was to advise the policy writers and the municipality. I had interviews with experts and met a lot of great people. I learned a lot about sustainability in general, and I also gained some practical knowledge. That is actually how I even got a current job offer – skills and knowledge acquired while solving the challenge were the positive triggers in my application”

Ivona Glisic
Ivona Glišić
Student University of Twente

“This challenge gave me a fantastic opportunity to work with students from a diverse range of backgrounds.  We had the opportunity to examine Stavanger’s architecture and spaces from a different perspective and experience it differently, so that we could understand specific local challenges. Following a city tour and CBL based planning sessions our team came up with an idea of a vertical community garden. Our idea was that this could be located in an empty grain silo and incorporate different services so the unused space becomes a real asset to the community of Stavanger”.

Portrait Tim
Tim Marshall
University of Stavanger

“I consider challenge-based learning as an “out-of-box” thinking and the great way to develop the entrepreneurial mind-set that strongly deviates from traditional learning. I had an opportunity to connect with local businesses, to know their needs. Our team had weekly meetings with challenge providers and building owners to guide us towards the result”.

Potrait Armin
Armin Shahab
University of Stavanger

“What I liked is that challenges are about real life, real issues, not something made-up. It gave me a unique experience to acquire both soft and hard skills, not only learn about the problems you are solving but also to practice public speaking, idea mapping, negotiation, project management and teamwork skills. We also had very interesting speakers, providing their experience and great ideas”.

Portrait Ruta Peliksiene
Rūta Pelikšienė
Kaunas University of Technology

“I mastered new skills and I learned new things both through online classes and group-work exercises. What I got the most out of it? To learn to work in a group. We must divide tasks, present as a fully-fledged group to other individuals, meet the deadline on time, and try to find a collective solution to our challenge.”

Portrait Frederica
Federica Tagliavini
University of Trento

“It was a good learning opportunity. You work hands-on and learn in practice. We have worked in an existing environment with experts. That is a big difference compared with fictitious cases. This was much more awesome. In these few weeks, I have got to know many people, worldwide, developed new skills, and met the real work field.”

Portrait Robin
Robin Ross
University of Twente


At ECIU University learners, teachers, researchers, representatives of businesses and public organisations - join forces across a variety of disciplines to solve real-life problems, using the challenge-based learning (CBL) education model.

The challenges are provided by a city, region or business stakeholder of the ECIU University. Then each member university selects several challenges provided by their region, city or community and invites learners and students to explore join the challenge-solving team.
Graphic explaining challenge based learning
CBL is a learner-driven method, where learners take ownership of their challenge, define the problems they want to work on, and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to solve the challenge. Teachers guide and facilitate team culture, help students to manage the tasks and enable students to move towards innovative thinking.

The ECIU University’s challenge-based learning approach follows a specific structure consisting of three main steps: engage, investigate and act.

Engagement: The basis for motivation is to be working on a “Big Idea”. This might be anything within a social, economic, or environmental theme such as health or public transportation. All the participants, teachers, students and external partners make sure that they agree on the final challenge to work on.

Investigation: All the team needs to ensure that they all understand the challenge and can contribute towards solving it with their knowledge and skills. Teams can take micro-modules to fill in the knowledge gaps or gain new skills that might help them solve the challenge.

Action: partners can use their shared knowledge to design, evaluate and prototype new solutions. Teams might deliver their proposed solutions further – which may include services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.
Explore and join the challenges!

Micro Modules

Explore micro-modules

Micro-modules are short learning experience that supports learners to fill their knowledge gaps and boost their capabilities to successfully engage in ECIU University challenges.

How does it work?
While working on the challenge, the participants may find out that they lack certain knowledge or skills to solve the challenge. They will be given an opportunity to participate in micro-modules related to the challenge they are working on.

In addition to this, learners from ECIU member universities can take any micro-module, even if they are not participating in the challenge.

Micro-modules can be of different types:

  • Micro-modules that widen the knowledge related to a specific field, for example, Communication and transport systems, Energy and sustainability, Circular economy.
  • Micro-modules that help to develop transversal skills, for example, intercultural communication or project management.
  • Foreign language micro-modules.

Exchange and Mobility


When you are taking part in an ECIU University challenge or micro module, online or at one of the ECIU institutions, or going on an exchange semester to one of the ECIU institutions we support you in preparing your learning experience.
Learn more


The ECIU Minor programme allow groups or individual learners to spend a semester at a likeminded ECIU partner university. Learners can choose their host university themselves, as each of the partners offers different courses and specialisations completely in English. The ECIU Minor programme is a fixed set of preapproved courses of 30 ECTS. They fit into the curriculum set of courses at the home institution. Credits will be fully recognised.
Learn more


Are you looking for an inspiring way to spend your summer? The ECIU Summer Schools offer you a number of high-quality courses to choose from.
Learn more

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