The Open Innovation Challenge

What is it?

The Open Innovation Challenge is the embodiment of EUTOPIA’s will to transform universities into actors of societal change through students, fostering international and regional collaboration with public and private partners. It aims to test a new approach for universities:

  • Promoting student-centered ideas;
  • Allowing them to empower themselves and to orient them toward the contemporary challenges that our partners face;
  • Providing learning opportunities that take advantage of the plurality, potential, and international vision of Europe.

How does it work?

Step One: Identification of the challenges (from October 2020 to March 2021)

The first step is the identification of the challenges that our local partners face. This step runs through two main options: through events organized by the EUTOPIA (WeDiscover DaysEUTOPIA Week, among others). The second step is through local visits with the partners (virtual during lockdown).

Identifying a challenge means looking for problems that have a tangible impact on our regions and that have a direct effect on our life. Some of the universities have chosen areas linked to the SDGs:

  1. Climate emergency
  2. Decarbonated transport and mobility
  3. Healthy food / Green food production and consumption
  4. Social inclusion / Fighting inequality
  5. Making cities and human settlements safe, resilient, and sustainable

The idea is to identify current local problems that affect our local and global society and to work with teams of like-minded students to find future solutions. The aim is to develop projects from a local to a global level, i.e, glocal. (see infra “How do I participate ?”).

Students teams to developed projects around one of the challenges and present them, with the support of the Pool of Partners, during the WeDiscover Week Brussels, organized by the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

Step Two: Open Innovation Challenge (March 2021 – June 2022)

At WeDiscover Week Brussels, a jury evaluated the projects from all student teams and picked two themes, that are common and relevant to all universities in the alliance, that students will focus on; People, and Partnerships.

During the spring of 2021, the teams worked on these challenges to propose appropriate solutions. All solutions were presented in a student peer-to-peer meeting in June 2021, and one team per university was chosen as the 'local winner' of this part of the Open Innovation Challenge.

The next step is a Hackathon that will be organized by the University of Gothenburg in February 2022. The theme of the hackathon is innovative procurement, where the student teams will utilize an innovative methodology to enrich public procurements. Innovative procurement is a trending and expanding opportunity for how universities can be actors of societal change through regional collaboration, and interaction with public and private partners

The Finals of the Open Innovation Challenge will take place at the University of Warwick in June 2022.

Step Three: Prize and Opportunities
A jury made up of the EUTOPIA Pool of Partners (PoP), international experts, and Eutopia staff,  will decide which project has identified the best challenge and solution, with a view of the winning team being able to develop their project beyond the pilot, and work on a regional scale implementation of their solution. The achievement of the Open Innovation Challenge is to prove that universities and, first of all, students, are capable of becoming driving forces for societal change.

How do I participate? (applications closed)