About Eurl3A

What is the Eurl3A project?
What are the Eurl3A objectives?
What are the major outputs and results?
Innovative educational character
The Eurl3A work program

What is the Eurl3A project?
In order to realize the European goals on reducing the emission of green-house gasses and in order to reduce the dependency of scarce base materials and fossil energy sources one of the most complex challenges is the transition towards a sustainable and Near Zero Emission (NZE) built environment. In facing this challenge both the educational as the business sector encounter following barriers in implementing sustainable and NZE building and retrofitting technologies:

– the number of ‘technical’ students, crucial for this transition, is decreasing dramatically
– the fragmentation of knowledge necessary for this transition;
– the skills of today’s delivered students do not match with the needs of the business sector in this field.

The EURL3A project wants to tackle these barriers by improving technical education, making education more efficient and making it more attractive by a dynamic integration of practice and theory by the so called Real Life Learning Lab Concept.

In Real Life Learning Labs multidisciplinary teams of students and young entrepreneurs, under mentorship of professionals from universities and industry work on Real Life assignments from the business sector and on developing new enterprises. During this process relevant theoretical knowledge is educated just in time. The Real Life Learning Labs are centred in regional knowledge alliances in which mobility and exchange programs are active. The regional knowledge alliances are coupled as one European network of knowledge alliances for easy accessible knowledge and research capacity and an exchange program on an European level.

The EURL3A project develops the concept in three European countries as a start for a European network of Real Life Learning Lab Alliances.

The envisaged impact is:
– More and better educated and trained engineers on relevant technologies and competencies for the sustainable NZE built environment
– Support for enterprises in developing and innovating products en services to enter this market of tomorrow
– An easy accessible network of knowledge and research capacity on an European level including an exchange and mobility program to support business growth
– A contribution in speeding up the transition to a sustainable NZE built environment with respect for economic growth on a European level.

What are the Eurl3A objectives?
The EURL3A project addresses 4 main pillars, i.e.:
– INNOVATION by introducing a new innovative teaching method and approach in integrated energy design for the built environment and working in multidisciplinary teams
– PARTNERSHIP by collaboration with business partners in the Real Life Learning Labs, offering a place for testing and training platforms and hosting incubators for fostering and encouraging new green entrepreneurs in a permanent learning and research environment
– BOTTOM-UP APPROACH by addressing the market (i.e. business sector) needs
– EMPHASIS ON DISSEMINATION AND OUTREACH by exchange and mobility programs within as well as in between the knowledge alliances

The specific objectives of EURL3A are:
– To educate competent experts, trained in the newest modern manufacturing concepts, and that will have knowledge which will support competitiveness of present and future industry.
– To deploy, adapt and expand the IDES-EDU (www.ides-edu.eu) curricula and other relevant curricula with direction into modern manufacturing concepts.
– To present practical solutions that support dynamic technological changes inside the entire integrated business cycle.
– To develop and offer real ‘physical’ real life learning lab buildings and objects as testing and training platforms together with the buildings sector and as incubators for fostering and encouraging new green entrepreneurs in a permanent learning and research environment
– To transfer technologies and information, through student activities, young entrepreneurs activities, project teams and pilot solutions, from partner enterprises and local environment.

What are the major outputs and results?
1. Implementation of innovative teaching and training methods for students and post graduates/experts in practice by implementing the Real Life Learning Labs concepts at three universities.

2. Adaption of the base curricula from IEE IDES-EDU to meet the specific need for knowledge of technologies for the regional transition to an integral sustainable built environment in general and customized to the specific needs of the business partners in the alliances. The adjustments are realized in consultation with the regional businesses.

3. Within the curricula students work in multidisciplinary teams on assignments and tasks provided by regional enterprises allowing the students to get practical experience during their study and help the regional enterprises with their business making innovations.

4. Realization of assignments in which professionals and teachers work together within the multidisciplinary teams, thus creating an ideal mix of knowledge and experience.

5. Establishment of pilots for Business Incubators, in operation by the end of the project. New ideas, often created within the multidisciplinary teams, are being helped to grow to a viable business. Young entrepreneurs hit the ground running during their study.

6. The establishment of surrounding networks for the real life learning labs, formed by cooperating entities asking for and bringing knowledge and experience. An open innovation environment.

7. Establishment of a portal for the developed courses and to share results and experiences of the EURL3Aproject during the creation of the real life learning labs, and the establishment of a knowledge brokerage centre for new green entrepreneurs. Best practices are adopted, with respect to the own regional environment and situation. The blueprints of this innovative approach are made available for other European Universities. Primarily for the IDES-EDU partners, but also for others.

8. The coupling of the regional networks of the EURL3A partners to create an international network of knowledge, supported by a web portal. This network will expand with the networks of the universities participating in a next phase.

9. The realization of a mobility and exchange programme between teachers, students and new green entrepreneurs including a framework for expanding the exchange program on an European level.

Innovative educational character
A barrier slowing down the transition towards a Near Zero Energy built environment is the way the education process is organized. In today’s situation after a pupil starts at an engineering University it takes about 8 to 10 years before engineering competencies are at a level bringing a substantial contribution to business. It is a general conviction that engineering theory and engineering taste are realized at the University and the real engineering practice is being realized in industry.

However, the fact is that it is hard to form an engineering taste only in a school environment, since universities create with great difficulties a real production environment, where students could develop practical skills. On the other hand, industry does not emphasize this engineering taste enough, because industry believes this to be the task only of universities. This resulting in a longer period transforming young students into competent professionals in the new markets. A period longer than we wish for.

A solution to eliminate this barrier is a new innovative approach for the dynamic integration of theory and practice in Real Life Learning Labs. The concept of the Real Life Learning Labs is to integrate the classroom within a professional environment, where learning and teaching is combined with practical work experience and exposure to the needs of industry. Research, innovation and education activities integrated in an open innovation setting, where students, teachers and professionals work together on new technologies.

By introducing an industrial and professional environment within the curricula the theoretical body of knowledge of a study is better aligned with the needs of enterprises. By combining theory with practical cases innovation is supported by the latest knowledge and the curricula are adjusted continuously to the markets demands. Students can develop their competencies by working on real life practical cases in an increasing part in their activities and with greater responsibility during their study. First exploring, later with responsibility for result.

This will result in:
– A decrease of the period students need to developed themselves as competent professionals, profitable for the regional economy.
– Education of competent professionals, knowing the newest technologies, who will support competitiveness of present and future businesses
– Existing curricula expand with direction into new technologies that contribute to a the transition into a integral sustainable society
– Practical solutions are developed to support dynamic technological changes inside the entire integrated business cycle
– Through students activities, project teams and pilot solutions knowledge, technology and information transfers from partner enterprises and local environment.

The participating universities are investing in real life laboratories where knowledge and innovation needs of enterprises meet students en researchers working on solutions the world of tomorrow needs.

The Eurl3A work program
The approach to realize the objectives is the establishment of knowledge alliances based on a collaboration and partnership within the triangle Business, Research and Education. Such alliances can initiate and accelerate the necessary innovations for a transition to a sustainable and green built environment. In this way the EURL3A project aims for a bottom-up approach, i.e. addressing the specific needs for knowledge and training from the market (building sector), thus paving the way towards the ambitious vision for the zero energy performance of European Built Environment. A unique opportunity is that universities can share and disseminate the in-house knowledge, skills and experience in collaboration with the business sector, by involving the building sector in their education and research programs as well as involving the sector in training programs. Industry and universities sharing knowledge in practical projects and education will pave the way to a widespread market adoption. In addition, the building sector faces a number of barriers that could be solved together with the educational sector.

In the project three knowledge alliances will form a consortium which will work together on following common distinguished key actions:

1. Implementation of the multidisciplinary curricula developed in the IEE IDES-EDU project, as well for master students as for building professionals/post graduates

2. Realization and exploitation of actual real life learning lab buildings as:
– testing and training platforms for new innovative products, together with the business sector
– incubators for fostering and encouraging new green entrepreneurs in a permanent learning and research environment

3. Organization of exchange and mobility programs between the alliances, of teaching staff, students and new young entrepreneurs, for students like internships in companies
The work is elaborated in following work packages:
WP 1: Management and coordination
WP 2: Development and deployment of curricula
WP 3: Development f the Real Life Learning Labs
WP 4: Exploitation of the Real Life Learning Labs
WP 5: Organisation of exchange programs and structured mobility
WP 6: Communication, dissemination and training