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CHARM-EU Knowledge Creating Teams: an introduction to transdisciplinary alliances

30 June 2020

Last June 15th 2020, over 170 academics and researchers from CHARM-EU partner institutions – all Coimbra Group members – took part in the pilot European Universities CHARM-EU’s first induction session for potential staff aimed at bringing multiple disciplines together to face global challenges.

The webinar introduced CHARM-EU’s innovative new approach to inter and transdisciplinary alliances: The Knowledge Creating Teams (KCTs). KCTs are collaborative groups of academics and non-academic actors formed around a common expertise/interest related to a sustainability theme. KCTs bring multiple disciplines together to face global challenges and are organised not by discipline, research or educational activity but by key themes that bridge all these activities to build a pilot master’s programme together. The creation of the CHARM-EU KCTs with academics will be complemented with professionals from the business sector and the civil society.

The response to this first call to action was overwhelmingly positive and over 170 staff have now signed up to one or more of the three themes that are being designed for the CHARM-EU’s first pilot masters programme: Life & Health, Water, and Food. The introductory webinar was delivered by Dr Tim Savage, CHARM-EU Trinity College Dublin Project Director; Gemma O’Sullivan, CHARM-EU Research Associate, Trinity College Dublin; and colleagues from Utrecht University’s CHARM-EU team, Jan Haarhuis and Sanne van Vugt, respectively leader and co-leader of WP teaching and learning of CHARM-EU.

Once established, the KCTs are participating in content-creation workshops to develop the CHARM-EU’s pilot Masters in Global Challenges for Sustainability, one of the main expected outputs of the alliance. KCTs will help to design and deliver innovative, transdisciplinary modules and programmes, form transdisciplinary research networks, potentially raise funding and lead commercialisation projects, and develop a shared thematic, inter-European research community.

KCTs have two levels of membership: Core and Expanded Network.

· KCT Core: research, design, develop and teach challenge-based content in the pilot masters programme

· KCT Expanded Network: inform curriculum design and join and build trans-institutional research communities and communities of CHARM-EU stakeholders connected to thematic challenge areas.

Through engagement with CHARM-EU, participants will be supported to build research networks with academic and non-academic actors from across Europe and to focus their research efforts within thematic challenge areas. They will receive training in transdisciplinary approaches to teaching/learning, as well as research and novel pedagogies including challenge-based learning.

About CHARM-EU Initiative

CHARM-EU is one of 17 European universities funded by the European Union through the first call of the European Universities initiative. CHARM-EU represents a Challenge-driven, Accessible, Research-based and Mobile university and its mission is to bring together a new generation of creative Europeans enabled to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines to address societal challenges and skills shortages in Europe. It will design and test a new European University concept through the creation of a pilot masters delivered across all partners and aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

CHARM-EU’s Alliance members are University of Barcelona, Trinity College Dublin, Utrecht University, Eötvös Loránd University and University of Montpellier. The Coimbra Group is an associated partner to the CHARM-EU alliance.

All European Universities in the alliances share a long-term strategy and promote European values and identity. They will also contribute to the sustainable economic development of the regions where they are located, as their students will work closely with companies, authorities, academics and researchers to find solutions to the challenges their regions are facing. For further information on the KCTs, check out CHARM-EU website https://www.charm-eu.eu, or contact info@charm-eu.eu

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