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Real Life Challenges 

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.

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.


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

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. 


  1. 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, some might combine physical mobility, as stated in the challenge description. All ECIU University challenges are offered in English.
  2. Learner registers to the Challenge platform and then applies to any challenge she or he finds intriguing. Challenges that are open to the application can be filtered in the menu above. One participant can apply up to four challenges per semester. Application criteria are listed below. The application deadline varies depending on the start of the challenge.
  3. After the approval of applications, international or/and multidisciplinary teams are formed and include other learners and a team facilitator, called a “teamcher”.
  4. 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, shorter challenge up to 4 weeks in duration or the challenge stretching up to the semester length.
  5. 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. Micro-modules are open to all students from ECIU member universities, even those not participating in challenges.
  6. After successful completion of the challenge, all learners will receive a Certificate of Participation. In addition to the certificate, learners will also receive a Challenge Supplement mentioning more details for the work carried out, which can be used for purposes of recognition. For earning ECTS credits, learners should contact student administration services at their university. Each challenge offers a different amount of credits depending on the duration, depth and learning objectives.
  7. Finally, teams might deliver their proposed solutions further – which may include services, products, research questions, start-ups and spin-offs.


  • Students 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.


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. 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.

New skills and competence 
Develop problem-solving and team-work skills, widen your knowledge and fill in gaps in various thematic areas. 

Inter-cultural and multidisciplinary environment 
Work in multi-disciplinary and/or international teams, build up inter-cultural competence, exchange practices and ideas, and increase your network of expertise.

Recognition and opportunities

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!


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