Learning for Tomorrow, Today: Future Fit Universities for 2040

An innovative future-focussed Higher Education Symposium bringing together students from more than 10 universities across Europe will take place in Brussels in early November. The main objective of this free symposium (only a few places remaining) is to explore different scenarios for Higher Education by 2040 and help shape futures thinking with a strong learner perspective on new models and approaches to teaching and learning. In addition to a strong student presence, the symposium has been designed for rich dialogue between educational leaders, policy-makers and industry stakeholders.


Why a Focus on 2040

A child born today will not graduate from a European university until around 2040. The question is what type of university education will they experience in another 20 years from now? How will universities have responded by 2040 to the major challenges and forces of change facing our societies, and the Higher Education sector in particular? The student voice is central to this unique future-focused symposium as we discuss ‘learning for tomorrow, today’. Students will feature throughout the event as we look to challenge conventional institutional thinking and to reimagine the teaching and learning experience for better futures – for all.


Brussels, Dutch House of Provinces
Rue de Treves 59


Programme Outline – Tuesday 6th November

10:30 – ECIU Student Summit (Students Only)

12:30 – Lunch

‍13:00 – Welcome from Moderator

13:05 – Welcome from Rob van Eijkeren (Head of Office Dutch House of Provinces)

13:10 – Introduction to ECIU and the Big Questions by Professor Mark Brown

‍13:20 – Student Insights – Teaching and Learning in the University of 2040

‍13:50 – World Cafes – Exploring the Big Questions (led by students)

15:00 – Refreshment Break

15:20 – World Cafes Report Back

‍15:45 – ECIU Response to the World Cafes

‍16:00 – Stakeholder Panel Discussion

– Adam Gajek (European Students’ Union),
– Thérèse Zhang (European University Association),
– Vanessa Debiais-Sainton (European Commission),
– European Parliament (TBC)

16:45 – Summary Comments

16:55 – Close of Event

‍17:00 – Networking with Refreshments

Event Host

The Symposium is being hosted by the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) under the leadership of the Steering Committee for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, chaired by Director of the NIDL.

Further Information

You can register and find more information about this event on the ECIU’s website:


If you have any further questions about this event, then please do not hesitate to contact Olga Wessels in ECIU’s Brussels office:


Promoting Innovations in Teaching and Learning

The National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) values the opportunity it has to actively contribute to promoting innovation in teaching and learning through Dublin City University’s membership of the European Consortium for Innovative Universities (ECIU). The ECIU has a collective mission of ‘challenging conventional thinking’ through a collective emphasis on promoting innovation, creativity and societal impact, driving the development of a knowledge-based economy.


A week or so ago members of the Steering Committee for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, chaired by Professor Mark Brown, met in Copenhagen to review a range of activities over 2017 and plan a number of new initiatives for the year ahead.  This meeting took place at Aalborg University alongside the annual meeting of ECIU Rectors and Presidents and therefore brought together some of the leading and most influential innovators in European higher education.


The Steering Committee supports activities ranging from regular masterclasses, leadership initiatives, exchanges for sharing of innovative practice, awards for innovations in teaching and learning, and scholarly activities which promote a strong nexus between research and teaching. With a common focus on fostering innovation the following teaching and learning statement encapsulates the shared understanding of ECIU members:

“We believe that teaching in higher education really matters. Therefore, our members share a commitment to the development of high quality educational practices which promote innovation and the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning. As ECIU partners, we value a strong nexus between research and teaching in order to fulfill such a vision. We strive to provide a modern, engaging and research-intensive learning environment, which builds on the diversity and collective strength of our respective institutional cultures, our approaches to teaching, and our students.

The ECIU has a specific interest in seeking out creative, learning-centred and future-focused teaching approaches that foster social entrepreneurship and smart use of technology. We aspire to create the conditions for developing critical responsible citizenship for inclusive and diverse societies. Our members foster real world competencies and make this possible by engaging our students with industry, professional bodies and community partners.

In summary, the ECIU represents a leading international cluster of technological and comprehensive universities who are committed to a bold mission of “Challenging Conventional Thinking” for tomorrow’s world, today.”

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In late November 2017, the annual Team Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning will be presented in Brussels. Importantly, this award recognises that most successful and sustainable innovations involve a team of educators working towards a common goal. In 2018, the Steering Committee also plans to host a special ECIU event once again in Brussels to explore the future of teaching and learning in the wider context of the modernisation of European universities. Accordingly, it follows that our own NIDL team looks forward to contributing to this event as supporting new models of digital learning and teaching is likely to feature prominently in the programme.