Run the EuroTeQ Collider

Table of Contents

The EuroTeQ Collider is one of the key elements of the EuroTeQ2030 project. The Collider is a challenge-based learning activity linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It builds on co-creation within our ecosystems to tackle societally relevant challenges across Europe while developing 21st century skills.

With the Collider, we aim at: 

  • Developing a robust and flexible format with engaging and innovative learning experiences for our Collider participants.

  • Including a wide variety of stakeholders to increase partners diversity and interdisciplinarity within participant groups.

  • Continuing a co-creative approach to tackle new and relevant challenges (related to the SDGs), connecting cutting-edge research and hands-on learning to work toward a more sustainable Europe. 
  • Serving as a key element to deliver EuroTeQ’s mission and to trigger a positive impact on society towards greater sustainability. Enhancing entrepreneurial thinking even further on our campuses, and guiding the transition from innovative ideas into scalable technologies and business. 


During the collider, we invite participants to explore different aspects of the challenge they have chosen, develop solutions, test and validate tools, and create prototypes of their solutions. In doing so, our participants will work together in interdisciplinary (and international) teams.  

Here is a quick overview of how we create the collider and make it work

Shared Definition of the Learning Format & Principles

As mentioned in the introduction, the Collider is a robust and flexible format. It is robust in the sense that all partners share the same definition of the learning format or at least some specificities of the learning format, such as the following:  

  • Study load 

In all formats, we aim for the study load of the local collider experience to be around 5 to 6 ECTS or 140 to 168 hours). 

  • Learning outcomes 

Although there will be local differences, after completion all participants will be able to: 

  1. Select and apply appropriate design, engineering and business approaches and tools to create an innovative and science-based solution to a real-life challenge.


  2. Develop a profound interpretation of a complex, real-life problem and its context using a system – thinking approach, considering multiple perspectives.


  3. Develop a problem-driven, creative and integrative design, demonstrated by a concrete prototype that balances desirability, feasibility and viability.


  4. Use disciplinary knowledge and expertise in an inter-disciplinary team to develop an innovative and scientifically sound solution in a European context.


  5. Communicate your ideas, at different levels of elaboration, via several media in an international context to a diverse set of stakeholders.


  6. Define and regularly reflect on personal and team development. 
  • Tools 

There is also a need to develop techniques and tools to support co-creation. Students, stakeholders, WP3 members, and staff need tools or techniques to facilitate group work in this particular context (Google Drive, MS Teams space, Slack, Zoom, etc.). 

  • Comment on the time frame  

We note that the period from January to June seems to allow for an easier organization of a Collider than the period between September and December since the challenge collaborators (people offering challenge for the Collider) are more available and this leaves more time, according to the academic calendars, to adapt to the constraints of each institution. This should not prevent institutions from organizing their collider activities throughout the academic year if it makes more sense. 

  • WP3 organization 

We chose to have weekly meetings with one representative from each partner. During these meetings, we share practices and updates on how things are organized. It is essential to inspire each other and to allow for the search for the best practices for each institution. It is also a way to continue to build our shared vision of the Collider frameworks. 

Developing, coordinating, and implementing the collider format within EuroTeQ is very time consuming. In order to develop common elements for each collider, we have to go back and forth between the WP3 team and the persons involved in the development of the collider (teachers, challenge collaborators, other EuroTeQ WPs, etc.). Their solicitation implies unimaginable delays in response and decision. This explains our wish to have only one collider per year rather than two and to have one theme every two years, rather than one per year. It also allows us to work on the preparation of the collider together without having the constraint of the two summer months when everyone is on vacation for several weeks.

Call for Ideas

  • Overall process and communication. 

For the first edition, the call for ideas took the form of an online questionnaire that was widely distributed to students, institution staff, and any person outside the institution interested in giving their point of view, such as the members of the Local Advisory Boards (external partners supporting EuroTeQ) for example. The questionnaire was distributed at each university in cooperation with WP6 members (Outreach) and was also disseminated in the universities’ eco-systems. We also tried to target people outside of EuroTeQ through our existing channels and social media. This questionnaire had been prepared for one month and was open for one month. In parallel, some institutions organized workshops on site to attract participants and to be able to discuss more the proposed answers. We had planned two months for the analysis of the results, the choice of the theme, and to allow us to contact the companies and work on the challenges.  

The whole process took place between September and December 2021 to prepare the spring 2022 collider. We aimed at a total of 120 responses globally (equivalent to 20 responses per university) to have a sufficient solid number of relevant data. We reached almost 170 responses: 119 from the online form and 45 from an onsite DTU workshop Focus Group. For the second edition of the collider, we have chosen not to open another call for ideas for several reasons. The reason was mostly the very time-consuming process, but also because the obtained result was broad enough to be reused. 

  • Shared analysis of the results 

Our methodology for clustering can be described as an inductive approach, where after collecting the data (respondent forms), we aim to analyze and reflect upon the data, allowing themes and concepts to emerge. Instructions were sent to each university to guide the analysis and create alignment. 

  • Use of the call 

The survey outcome was very rich and insightful but our use of it was relatively limited. As we already defined an overall theme, the survey was mainly used to broaden our definition of it and to identity sub-theme, which we used for the EuroTeQaThon.  

However, this process is essential. To remain relevant to our partners and stakeholders, it is crucial to understand their expectations and needs. This requires constant communication and adaptability to address their diverse interests. Building and maintaining strong relationships with partners and stakeholders is key to the success of the Collider program. 

In our opinion, a shorter version of the survey would be a good compromise. 

Challenge Collaborators

  • Diversity of profile in the challenge collaborators 

Within each university, collaborators who were interested in working together with staff and students were again encouraged to present societal-relevant challenges for scoping a EuroTeQ challenge. During the first and second Collider processes, working group meetings were held to develop terms and templates that would support conversations between universities, industry professionals, and academics. 

The Collider program encompasses a wide range of project types, each with its own requirements and objectives. Recognizing and accommodating this diversity is essential to foster creativity and innovation within the program. Whether it is supporting start-ups, fostering in-company collaborations, or advancing scientific research, the Collider program should encourage a variety of project outcomes, and thus also challenges. 


  • Flexible Collider settings 
  1. Implementation. The collider can be implemented on top of existing courses. The teaching method and the overall topics must be aligned with our shared definition of the collider and its theme (Leave no waste behind). Alternatively, it can be a new course that students can take as an extracurricular learning opportunity. The first option makes it easier to target a large population of students, since they have to take the course anyway. 

  2. Length. The collider can have two different formats. It can either be a long-term course that runs for several weeks with activities and work spread on different days. Alternatively, it can be run more intensively with every activity and work condensed in a short period of time. The first option allows for more in-depth reflection and gives students an opportunity to reach out to people outside the institution. The second format makes it easier for students to engage themselves.  

  3. Activities. Here again, there is not one pattern but several options: lecture, workshop, on site, remotely, etc.


  4. Modalities. The colliders were offered either on site or a combination of online and on site.    

Several different combinations have been tested out through the first and second editions, and the best practices depend on each institution. 

  • Shared activities 

It is essential to create opportunities for contact between the colliders. Whether it is between WP3 people, students or teachers. This is one of the reasons why we are actively reflecting on how we can share more collider activities. It is also for this reason that organizing a EuroTeQaThon as a physical event, at one location is very important.  


  • Our struggle for inclusivity 

The difficulty of integrating diverse profiles is one of our struggles. Lifelong learners and vocational learners have very different incentives, expectations and availabilities than our students. We did not focus on them in the first project, but we need to get to know this target audience better to achieve our goals for the second one.

  • Selection for the EuroTeQaThon 

Each university sends their three best teams to the EuroTeQaThon. The selection process differs from one partner to the other but we all use the shared EuroTeQaThon evaluation criteria to ensure a certain degree of homogeneity among the selected teams.  


  • One place with everyone (justification for our choice) 

The first EuroTeQaThon was organized in tandems and worked out well, but we still ended up spending a lot of time online when we could have been together. During the second edition, the students really valued and appreciated the gathering. There was much more energy and incentive for them to engage and improve their pitch. They also used the time they had together to network. 

During the first EuroTeQaThon TUM hosted the recording and streaming of the event but every other location had to manage the technical aspects by themselves. During the second one, it was very comfortable and smooth to have a team working on that and guide us.  

Based on our experiences after the second collider, which included the EuroTeQaThon and a trip to Brussels for the three winning teams, we discussed scenarios for the future editions. In line with our ambition of reducing waste and in accordance with the theme Leave no waste behind, we believe that this combination produces an excessive amount of travelling traffic. Therefore, we envision two main options for the organization of the EuroTeQaThon in the next phase of the project: one of the partner institutions or Brussels. For practical reasons, it was decided that the EuoTeQaThon will take place at a different partner location each edition. 

  • Comments on the prizes, pillars and type of projects/teams 

It quickly appeared during the selection for the EuroTeQaThon that not all teams had the same ambition (becoming a start-up for example). Some teams just invested time and effort because it was a mandatory course, while other challenges were more research or company-oriented. This made it difficult to identify the appropriate reward for the winning teams. During the second edition, the reward was a trip to Brussels to meet with representatives of the European Union. However, some teams would still appreciate a support system that we do not have at the moment. It should be developed. 

  • Composition of the jury  

The final presentations were evaluated in front of a high-level jury consisting of representatives from industry, NGOs, and the EuroTeQ Advisory Board. Originally, we planned to have members from every EuroTeQ Partner represented in the Jury. Due to planning difficulties, we were able to assemble only five member jury.