Past controversies have highlighted the need for technical universities to increase their focus on societal responsibility, inclusion, and diversity. But how can we ensure these missions move beyond the written word and are translated into meaningful action?

19 participants across TUM, DTU, TalTech, L’X, CTU and TU/e met to discuss pathways on how to support co-creation to enhance collaboration with society in engineering education. It was great to see so much enthusiasm and interest from representatives at pedagogical units, scientific managers, the Collider challenge team, and scholars within public governance and Science and Technology Studies (STS).

After a presentation from Corinna Voll on the “Roadmap for co-creation teaching for responsible engineering education”, the participants discussed in breakout rooms and in plenary together with Monamie Haines, Carlos Cuevas, Shobhit Shakya and Lukas Fuchs. There was a shared agreement that co-creative practices must be more deeply institutionalized within technical universities. Introducing micro credentials as a method for incorporating co-creation might be a promising start, yet it might, in a very real sense, offer only “micro solutions”. The discussion prompted the question: What about a broader, more unified approach towards responsible co-creation with society?

The discussion came up with the following suggestions:

Advocating for structural change: Pushing for changes at the institutional level to formally integrate co-creation within the curriculum can help overcome the issue of these approaches being seen as add-ons. This involves not only curriculum design but also policy adjustments to recognize and support innovative teaching methods.

Focused training for educators and boundary actors: Developing specialized training programs for educators on facilitating interdisciplinary and co-creative learning experiences can address the overwhelm teachers face. This could include workshops, mentorship programs, and collaborative platforms for teachers to exchange ideas and strategies. At the same time, there need to be clear responsibilities and tasks for boundary actors who initiate contact to external stakeholders.

Shared resources and best practices: Establishing a shared database of co-creation challenges, including successful case studies and strategies for framing these challenges. This would enable educators to learn from each other’s experiences and apply proven methodologies in their contexts.

We are also excited to continue the discussion on how to bridge Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) and Co-creation to see how to both foster individual student growth and broader societal impact. Considering the critical perspective from Science and Technology Studies that emphasizes participatory and inclusive methods for engaging the public in science and technology, the suggestion emerged to bridge the conceptual space between Co-creation and CBL. This entails developing a framework or set of practices that not only focuses on the individual learning experiences of students, as CBL traditionally does, but also actively incorporates the principles of societal transformation, inclusion, and reciprocity characteristic of co-creation. Such an integrated approach could lead to educational initiatives that are both personally enriching for students and transformative for society, fostering a deeper synthesis of learning objectives and societal engagement.

Thank you to all participants for sharing your expertise!