The ECIU University to receive†Horizon 2020 funding for research and innovation

Logotip ECIU University

The objective of the Horizon 2020's call "Support for the Research and Innovation Dimension of European Universities (SwafS)" is to contribute to the research and innovation of "European universities", in line with a joint and integral, long-term strategy in synergy with its educational dimension. With this support, the ECIU University will be able to go even further through the creation of an online institute focused on smart regions and, specifically, on the four main identified sectors.


The ECIU University will be granted two million euros by the Horizon 2020 programme to strengthen its research and innovation mission and lay down the foundations of the SMART-ER: ECIU University Research Institute for SMART European Regions.

The SMART-ER Research Institute will design, develop and implement research; re-evaluate and deliver solutions to the complex societal challenges found under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal no. 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG11), and identified by the ECIU University. Thus, the goal is to set a new barrier-free research and innovation model which at the same time fosters dialogue with society, overcoming any limitations in disciplines, sectors and countries, and based mainly on an online collaborative environment. Jointly, the institutions will pilot a capacity building programme (Seed Programme and SMART-ER Academy) and citizen science initiatives that will be used as a testbed to put into practice all the mechanism and structures built.

Activities will be implemented by bringing together scientific and management research capacities at 12 ECIU University member institutions (Aalborg University, Dublin City University, Kaunas University of Technology, Linköping University, Tampere University, Hamburg University of Technology, Universidade de Aveiro, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, University of Stavanger, Università degli Studi di Trento, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées).

The challenge-based approach adopted by the ECIU University allows engagement of societal stakeholders and learners (from any age and background) in creating and working on challenges and exploiting results. The SMART-ER Research Institute, together with diverse stakeholder groups at a local, national and international level, will work according to a shared Research and Innovation Agenda. To move towards the vision, the ECIU University will align research capacities and will bring together researchers as an example of how to overcome the limits of each single institution.

The UAB, leader in implementing living labs

The UAB has pioneered the development of open innovation ecosystems, with a systematic co-creation approach among its users, such as researchers, private enterprises, civil society and public administrations (the elements of the Quadruple Helix innovation model). 

For this new project, the UAB has offered its experience in implementing new tools in product evaluation, technology poerfection and experimentation activities. An example of this are the living labs, innovation spaces open to regional individuals and groups from the private and public sector, who collaborate through the use of digital technologies to co-create knowledge and solutions than can meet the needs of society. 

It is thanks to this outstanding experience that the UAB is leading the proposal and will be the one to coordinate the implementation of the project.  

Birth of the ECIU University

The ECIU University is one of the 17 international initiatives selected after the European Commission announced a call for European Universities as part of the EU Erasmus+ programme, and has received 5 million euros in funding.

On 7 November 2019, the UAB hosted the institutional launch of the ECIU University, , an initiative by the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), which aims to offer an innovative university educational model reaching across borders and providing a response to today's social challenges through innovative training and research methods.

More information: ECIU University

This information is related to the following SDG

  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Quality education
  • Sustainable cities and communities

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