Teaching & Learning Lab



Looking back on the Inspiration café – Charm EU

This time, the Inspiration Café was hosted by Annet van der Riet, Annisa Triyanti, and Ádám Tóth. At the start, we were introduced to CHARM-EU: the Challenge-driven, Accessible, Research-based, Mobile European University. This University Alliance currently spans across eight different countries, and is aligned with nine universities. It began its journey three years ago with a vision to redefine higher education. The main goal of this innovative programme is to educate Master students to become both domain experts, and thematic generalists.


Mission and vision

This world is driven by experts who excel in their specific field. But what do you get when you ask experts from different fields to work together on large, societal sustainability challenges? This question inspired CHARM-EU: To create a program where Master students are shaped into experts who are also holistic thinkers capable of addressing complex, interconnected challenges. Through transdisciplinary models, students are immersed in the world of sustainability while honing their individual skills. This approach isn’t just about imparting knowledge; it’s about nurturing a mindset of innovation and collaboration.

One of the core elements of CHARM-EU’s success is its emphasis on professional development. Through peer learning, reflective practices, and personalized consultations, students are guided towards unlocking their full potential. The international community within CHARM-EU is a testament to its inclusive nature, valuing intercultural skills, high motivation, and a drive for innovation.


Project: sustainable cities and communities

Teacher experiences refer to the common motivation and interest as driving factors of the project. One of the teachers, Ádám, shares about these experiences, and uses the MSc in Global Challenges for sustainability as an example. In this master, students with different backgrounds all related to water; chemists, economists, lawyers, historians, and water recycling specialists, all face challenge-based issues. By making use of individual knowledge and skills, students work towards smart solutions to improve the situation.

One of the challenges that these students have worked on, was the investigation of the interaction between water and the city of Dublin. The goal was to create sustainable cities and communities. The team included experts in different fields: An educational scientist, a water recycling specialist, an hydrologist, as well as an economist. They combined their knowledge about water systems to discuss the challenges of maintaining water quality, and ended up with an innovative solution to communicate the state of the water to the public through the colour of two water towers.


Source: CHARM-EU.


Capstone phase

The final phase of the master is the capstone phase, which takes up about five intensive months. Annise explained that this is the most challenging part of the programme she engaged with, given the workload in this phase. Students need to tackle group and individual master thesis projects rather than only one of the two, which at times can be difficult. While challenging, this phase exemplifies CHARM-EU’s goal of pushing boundaries and fostering growth.


The future of CHARM-EU

Looking ahead, CHARM-EU envisions expanding its horizons, delving into active learning spaces like Lili’s Proto Lab, where ideas materialize into tangible solutions. Challenges persist, from bridging cultural differences to harmonizing work ethics in group settings, but these are seen not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth and understanding.

As CHARM-EU evolves, so do its ambitions, with talks of a new PhD program on the horizon. The journey of CHARM-EU isn’t just about education; it’s about inspiring a generation of change-makers who approach problems with curiosity, collaboration, and a relentless drive to make a difference.


More information about CHARM-EU can be found here.