'We are really really proud of achieving this’

| Michaela Nesvarova

The ECIU University will be launched in 2020. The project, coordinated by the UT, just received the full funding of €5 million from the European Union. Thanks to that, learners from all over Europe can soon sign up for this new European university, which aims to offer brand-new type of education open to everyone and focused on solving challenges, not on getting a degree.

Photo by: RIKKERT HARINK
Sander Lotze

ECIU UNIVERSITY

The new European university involves all thirteen ECIU (European Consortium of Innovative Universities), including the University of Twente, that all together submitted a call within the EU Erasmus+ programme. Today it was announced that the application was granted the full funding. The project will officially launch in November 2019 and from 2020 anyone - students, employees and external collaborators – will be able to participate.

The ECIU University’s type of education is open to everyone, including lifelong learners, and is not about getting a diploma, but about solving real life challenges, offering a challenge-based instead of degree-based education as a traditional university.

‘We are very excited,’ says Sander Lotze, Manager of International Affairs at the UT and the 'ECIU University' project leader. ‘It is a bit surreal. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy on developing this idea and we got a lot of positive feedback from our partners. That just builds up the pressure and expectations, and so receiving the funding adds to the joy.’

‘It is about setting the agenda for the future’

‘It is a complex project. It is not only about education, or research or innovation. It is about the entire broad spectrum that a university covers. On top of that, there are twelve other partners involved,’ continues Lotze. ‘It gives us the opportunity to experiment with new forms of education. It’s like a playground. For the University of Twente, it is about more than just getting the money. It is about setting the agenda for the future.’

The ECIU University will not be a ‘physical’ university in the traditional sense, but will be based on collaboration of all thirteen participating universities. The university’s metaphorical doors will open in 2020, when also learners from the UT can enroll. ‘We will set up various challenges in which anyone can participate,’ says Lotze. ‘First, we need to establish ECIU infrastructure and launch after the summer. For now, we are just really really proud of achieving this. It was a good team effort from the ECIU family. We are happy that they gave us the trust to write the proposal and coordinate the project.’