Research Group Focus Map


Research at ECIU

The ECIU University has developed a joint long-term research strategy on smart regions, building on the rapid development of digital infrastructures across Europe to address common research challenges related to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) topics.

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Our four Challenge Based Research themes are

Energy and sustainability
Circular economy
Resilient communities
Transport and mobility

Two cross-cutting themes that underpin the ECIU University approach to addressing these challenges are

Human capital development
Co-creation, including interdisciplinarity
See full strategy here
ECIU Smart-er logo
The ECIU University Research Institute for Smart European Regions (SMART-ER) is a research, innovation and education strong alliance, enabling all 12 ECIU University member institutions to jointly address complex societal challenges under the framework of the UN SDG11 (Sustainable cities and communities).

The SMART-ER is a new model of research and innovation, based on a virtual collaborative environment, will call scientists and researchers of the member universities for joint research initiatives and project activities. The SMART-ER together with diverse stakeholder groups at a local, national and international level, will promote the dialogue with society and will work according to a shared Research and Innovation (R&I) Agenda.

Jointly, the institutions will pilot capacity building programmes (Seed Programme and SMART-ER Academy) and citizen science initiatives that will be used as a testbed to put into practice all the mechanisms and structures built.

The SMART-ER project is implemented under the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 part “Science with and for Society” (SwafS).

Strategic SMART-ER initiatives

Develop a common research and innovation agenda and convergence action plan, in synergy with education strategies and regional engagement, sharing infrastructures and resources
Develop and implement strategies for strengthening human capital and collaborations in research and innovation.
Contact your local ambassador to learn more
Promote and integrate dialogue with society in research and innovation activities of SMART-ER

SMART-ER Academy

The SMART-ER Academy aims to offer a novel approach of training-capacity programmes that goes beyond the conventional praxis and comfort zone. This will involve researchers from all their professional stages (from R1 to R4) in stimulating training, based on the ECIU University challenge-based learning approach (CBL), focusing the activities on relevant topics and addressing genuine local and regional challenges.

Under this framework, the task aims at generating a knowledge cloud, equipping researchers and other research staff with a combination of training skills, forward-looking competencies, Open Science skills, research integrity, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial competencies. It also includes further development in non-academic settings with the collaboration of non-academic experts.

Two training programmes will be designed under the SMART-ER Academy:

Online PhD Training Programme.

This fully on-line programme aims to train PhD researchers with the skills needed to face an unpredictable and changeable future. It will include skills in alignment with the EC Innovative Doctoral Training Principles (IDTP), the New Skills Agenda and the Modernisation Agenda and based on the challenge-based learning approach.

Open Science & Leadership Blended-Training Programme.

The programme combines on-line interaction and traditional placed-based activities. It will provide SMART-ER researcher-leaders with the skills able to tackle the challenges of leading multidisciplinary research teams and networks of researchers. Training will also be provided to upgrade researcher-leaders’ skills in preparing project proposals, in holding workshops with the possibility of “pre-proposal preparation” events or “pitch-the-project-idea events”, and also to draw up a specific lists of potential project-funding programmes beyond the upcoming Horizon Europe.

Research Maps

Click on a research area to get more information on the topics and the contact person for each.


The aim of the RUNIN network program is to train researchers on how universities contribute to innovation and economic growth in their regions. We do this through research, seeking to examine how universities fulfil their third mission in relation to regional industry and their engagement with regional firms and institutions.
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ECIU is a partner in the Erasmus+ project Towards a European Framework for Community Engagement in Higher Education (TEFCE). The main result is the TEFCE Toolbox, an institutional self-reflection framework that supports universities to improve how they address societal needs through partnerships with their external communities.
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Citizen Science

Citizen Science, together with the integration of the stakeholders in the different processes of the research cycle, is a fundamental pillar of the SMART-ER project. 

Particularly, SMART-ER devotes a whole work package (WP5), which defines specific actions to develop a strong community of Citizen Science in the ECIU University. These actions are distributed in 3 tasks:

The development of a platform for supporting Citizen Science projects.
The coordination of 2 pilots onCitizen Science with the participation of the ECIU universities during the length of the project, starting in Spring 2022.
The definition of a document for recommendation and guidelines for the development of Citizen Science projects.

In order to help consolidating a strong Community of Citizen Science, the ECIU Consortium will organize a number of open webinars from September 2021. These webinars will showcase the state-of-the-art of Citizen Science projects in the different Universities of the ECIU Consortium, and it well contribute to approach common challenges and topics of interest with the view on the identification of potential joint efforts for the pilots.

New: SMART-ER Series of Webinars on Citizen Science

Engaging the Community of Citizen Science researchers and practitioners at ECIU University.
The webinars will be recorded and published, and they can be accessed through this page to the general public. You can find all the recorded webinars at the bottom of this page.
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