Thirteen student teams start with twelve sustainable challenges within and beyond Europe

Poster master's three people around a blue circle

New and innovative step in the CHARM EU Master's programme with the New European Bauhaus as an inspiring framework.

On 6 September 2022, the kick-off of the Capstone, the final phase of the Master's programme Global Challenges for Sustainability took place. Invited guests were of course the students who will start the Capstone, but also the students who begin the Master’s programme this year. Societal stakeholders involved in the Capstone, Capstone supervisors, and CHARM-EU staff members were also present. During the Capstone phase, students work collaboratively with their peers, academic staff, and extra- academic actors on an authentic sustainability challenge which is based on the student’s original disciplinary field.

Incorporating the New European Bauhaus into CHARM-EU’s educational model

Marcos Ros Sempere, member of the European Parliament, opened the meeting with an inspiring presentation on the New European Bauhaus Initiative in which CHARM-EU is an official partner. Marcos Ros: "The democratising spirit of the original Bauhaus has been revived in the European Union. It is time to transform buildings, neighbourhoods and cities to improve the lives of all."  Marcos Ros expresses the hope that students will incorporate the ideas of the New European Bauhaus in their challenges. There are plenty of opportunities, since Capstone challenges are already aligned with the New European Bauhaus principles: a focus on local and global dimensions of sustainability, citizen participation, transdisciplinarity and leaving no one behind with a focus on inclusivity.

Co-creating the future of education

Doris Alexander, Associate Director of European Engagement (Trinity College Dublin), outlined the development process of CHARM-EU and gave a glimpse of the future European Education Area, in which an important role is reserved for the European University Alliances. Currently, there are 44 European University Alliances, with the aim to increase this number to 60 by 2024. Doris Alexander emphasizes that the students of CHARM-EU play an important role: “You are co-creating the future of education, others will benefit from your perspectives and feedback.”

A fully fledged European university

Meritxell Chaves, CHARM-EU Alliance Manager (University of Barcelona), gave the good news that CHARM-EU has received funding for the next 4 to 6 years. This will allow the number of partners to be increased to eight; to expand the current Master’s programme and add other Bachelor, PhD and professional programmes; to increase professionalisation and expand the non-academic network. CHARM-EU’s ambition is to become a full-fledged European University as testbed for innovation in education and research, both for its partners and beyond.

Students' contributions are essential

Marjanneke Vijge, Assistant Professor at Utrecht University and coordinator of the Capstone, concluded with some insights about the importance of the capstone phase. She mentioned, among other things, that the work of the students is important to develop and test educational innovations, expand and strengthen our non-academic network; strengthen links between education and research; address challenges for sustainability and to contribute to Open Science. Marjanneke concluded: ‘In short, your contributions are crucial for the further development and expansion of CHARM-EU!’

Until February 2023, 13 teams across five universities will be working on 12 Capstone challenges within and beyond Europe. In February, a festive finale of the challenges is planned.