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Climate neutral Campus in Europe – The ECIU University’s Strategic Challenge

Unique Master’s thesis opportunity

ECIU University seeks for learners who take responsibility and shape a sustainable future with new mindsets, behaviours, ways of learning, thinking and working in support of new solutions, technologies and innovations. The big idea for 2024 is to develop a concept for a climate neutral campus.


The UN’s eleventh sustainable development goal (SDG-11) aims at creating sustainable cities and communities. ECIU University supports this goal, and wants to contribute to a more sustainable future. Climate change is one of the major challenges facing global society. Extreme weather, such as droughts and heavy rain, are expected to increase with climate change, and as recent events show, expose unforeseen vulnerabilities. ECIU University can contribute to realizing the SDG by reducing its carbon footprint, and by providing technological solutions that help increase resilience to climate and weather extremes.

Big Idea

Reducing the impact of climate change is a very important issue and one of the most discussed questions in politics and society. While climate change outpaces the current scientific understanding, new technology can offer opportunities to face the impact of climate change as well as contributing to making a more climate neutral world. The big idea is to develop a climate neutral campus with innovative ideas and bold solutions and thereby, advance climate protection and reduce CO2 production. Participants are to develop a concept and/or build a prototype that enables their home university or any other university to have a climate neutral campus in the future.

Strategic Challenge – Call for Master’s thesis

The strategic challenge is a six-month challenge that offers master students a unique learning experience. It involves writing a Master’s thesis (expected workload of about 900 hours or about 30 ECTS) that is somehow linked to the topic of the challenge. The maximum of 30 ECTS includes both the writing of a Master’s thesis and the work on the challenge, since both are assumed to be of mutual benefit. Examination and grading are conducted according to home university guidelines and regulations. Start is in winter 2024.

According to ECIU University’s Challenge-Based -Learning (CBL) framework, the strategic challenge includes three phases:

  1. Phase of engagement: Students from 13 different European universities enter the challenge team, narrow down the topic, develop essential questions, and define their precise team challenge. Alongside the actionable team challenge the students develop their individual Master’s thesis topics.
  2. Phase of investigation: Research and activities are done to define a solution to the challenge. Though each student works towards his or her own Master’s thesis ways of collaboration within the challenge team will be created in this phase.
  3. Phase of action: Solutions are prepared and Master’s theses are written. The challenge team opens the findings for society (includes implementation / delivering a product).

Continual reflection, documentation will accompany all three phases as well as pursuing opportunities to share with the wider community.


  • 7th + 8th February 2024: Strategic Challenge Kick Off
  • 19th + 20th March 2024: Milestone Meeting at the University of Twente (two-day face-to-face event)
  • 18th June 2024, 15-16:30 h: Strategic Challenge Closing Event (incl. final presentation)
  • June 2024: Submission of the team reflection report by the challenge team

Benefits for participating students

  • You work on a „real life problem“, a „Big Idea“ and shape a sustainable future.
  • You work in an international, intercultural and interdisciplinary team.
  • You work with stakeholders of the industry.
  • You get the chance to travel to other ECIU universities for collaborational research and work. The ECIU provides financial means for student and staff mobility.
  • You become part of the ECIU Community. You get the chance to network across Europe and set the ground for future cooperation.
  • You get ready for the job market by developing transversal skills
Further information

You can watch a learners’ video by University of Barcelona to learn more about ECIU University

… and a challenge.

Read a summary or watch a short video on the first ECIU strategic challenge 2022

Two participants in the first ECIU strategic challenge 2022 share their experiences in interviews:

University of Stavanger and Linköping University


Dr. Nadine Stahlberg
Phone: +49 40 42878 4677

This informational webpage about Challenge-Based Learning is part of an Innovation of Ecucation lab of ECIU university and a product of workpackage 3.

The European Commission’s support for the production of the ECIU University content does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.