Strengthening & connecting regions – WP5

Strengthening and connecting regions through a European University: Regional development within and between European regions

The core belief of EPICUR is that Europe’s diversity is a source of strength. The objective of work package 5 is to develop activities which bring the European regions closer together. To achieve this goal, EPICUR aims at three directions: research, business, and education.

At the level of research, EPICUR will organise its regional university networks in a meta-network.

At business level the goal is a common entrepreneurial ecosystem.

At the level of education, EPICUR will establish research internships for students with partners from academia, business and civil society organisations, design Master labs, and develop intercultural trainings.

Activities

Building bridges between different regional university networks

BOKU leads the activities to foster a fruitful cooperation leading to a European University which brings students and researchers closer together and enables to share experiences, competences, resources, and best practices to tackle societal challenges. EPICUR will raise the visibility of the university networks through developing a common database of connections.

Connecting regions through entrepreneurship

KIT supervises the entrepreneurial activities within EPICUR and also leads the overarching work package. Entrepreneurship is borderless and therefore profits from the diversity of the partner´s regions – also it is an important channel for universities to impact their region. We want to connect the diverse innovation ecosystems and promote entrepreneurial thinking among students through student entrepreneurial labs. Future start-ups will have an international orientation from the beginning, enabling easier access to markets in all regions. 

Linking regions through research internships and Master labs

KIT leads the activities in establishing Master labs and research internships.
The Master labs address advanced Master students who pursue a career in research and intend to continue with a PhD project. Transdisciplinary, research-oriented teaching in blended-learning courses will include the partners and research institutes outside of university.
PhD students will do research internships at the partners or at research institutes outside of university. Only the 8-week pilot will be at KIT. The internships are custom-tailored to each researcher, include access to specific research infrastructures, and aim at generating joint research projects.
Students shall gain work-based experience in the partner universities´ region at a research institute, private enterprise or civil society organisation to heighten the employability of graduates, broaden their horizon and enhance their intercultural competence. Internships at civil society organisations will be accompanied by service learning courses.

Bridging the regions through intercultural skills

The UHA is in charge of several intercultural aspects of the EPICUR project. The long-term goal is to train trainers who will provide intercultural trainings to students and staff of each EPICUR university. The trainings will help them to collaborate with ease in the European environment. The UHA and its Centre for cross-border skills NovaTris (ANR-11-IDFI-0005) will implement a multi-stage process with surveys and trainings in order to create a handbook of methodology for intercultural issues.

Organisation

The work package 5 is coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (BOKU), and University of Haute-Alsace (UHA) are task leaders.

All partners will contribute to rolling-out the different activities.

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