Challenge based learning collaborations

Primary challenge owner: University of Utrecht

Secondary challenge owner(s): None



In recent years, universities have become increasingly aware of their social role and are taking this more seriously. This shift is reflected in transdisciplinary education initiatives, where students collaborate with researchers, companies and social partners work together to find solutions to complex issues as part of their education program. This form of cooperation can initiate a valuable process of co-creation based on reciprocity. Students learn to collaborate and deal with the complexity and unpredictability of complex problems, additionally they are given the opportunity to make an impact. On the other hand, Public and private partners and businesses get access to the brainpower of young people, professionals and academics for their challenges.


Within Utrecht University (UU), various initiatives of transdisciplinary education are developing. Transdisciplinary education in the form of challenge-based learning is the leading educational concept in both the national alliance of TU/e, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht and the European university CHARM-EU, in which UU is a partner.  The organisation of these educational practices is relatively new for universities. They are not equipped to organise education with external partners, which is also the case for the UU. Therefore, it is currently difficult for the initiators of this type of education and social organisations and companies to find each other. U-Collaborate in Education is a program of Utrecht University that aims to organise this ‘match-making’. It is aiming establish long-term strategic collaborations and collecting issues that can land in the right place internally by use of an intake and templates. In this project, we are asking for help from startups to simplify the process with the help of EdTech.


The question/ the challenge to startups

Develop a solution that enables the connection between external partners and challenge-based learning initiatives within the Utrecht University to link societal challenges to multidisciplinary student teams.



  • The product meets the security and privacy (GDPR) requirements of both Utrecht University and external organisations.
  • In the context of interoperability, it is important to take into account the communication of the software application with the learning environment and possibly other applications.
  • The solution is not a database for internships.
  • Search and filter functions are available.
  • The solution is designed to be used by lecturers and students of the Utrecht University as well as representatives of external organisations.

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