Engaged European Citizens

Arqus Challenge Based Learning Programme

ARQUS220 is a new, threefold course bringing together students from different part of Europe. We hope that through this course we will critically engage the participants as European and global citizens, in thinking about how to study and respond to the grand challenges facing Europe today.


The course ARQUS220 runs in three broad phases which together make up the Arqus Collaboratory:

  • The winter school (22nd-26th February 2021): This is a one-week intensive session for a sub-set of students enrolled in the course at the seven universities, to kickoff the research projects and invest these students with some of the concepts, methods and competences for leading transdisciplinary research on the theme of changing climate risks in their own cities. It maps climate risks in each Arqus city.


  • The challenge-based learning programme: Following the winter school, students form research groups at their home universities, to conduct research projects over the semester. As on-going support to this project work, groups at all Arqus universities will access short, recorded lectures and other resources on a common Moodle online learning platform, about the theme of climate risks, and methods and tips for research. !is will also be a platform for student groups to compare and review each other’s projects across Arqus universities.


  • The student-led forum: As student groups come to finish their research projects, we will facilitate a platform where students can compare #ndings and distil key lessons for engaged European citizenship around climate risks.


There are four key principles around which this course is designed:


  • Engaged citizenship: This course starts from the idea that abstract notions of European citizenship are being activated and made  more concrete around challenges, which provide tangible discussions of the rights and responsibilities of European citizens. For example, under the COVID-19 Pandemic, responsible citizenship is tied to adhering to government recommendations on wearing masks or keeping physical distance. How we engage with the grand challenges of our time helps de#ne citizenship.


  • Challenge-based research: This course engages with social challenges by enabling you as students to conduct group research projects into how challenges take shape in the places they live. !is is a mode of research that begins from the complex, uncertain and politically contested nature of these challenges, rather than pushing these things to the side. It adopts a critical perspective for making sense of what is going on, and a normative perspective for thinking what should be done to address the challenge.


  • Transdisciplinarity: The complexity and interconnectedness of the challenges facing Europe, and the signi#cant uncertainties they pose, mean that no one scienti#c discipline or #eld can claim to have the overview. We can more comprehensively and fairly make sense of these challenges by bringing together complementary perspectives – from formal scienti#c disciplines but also other knowledge systems like traditional knowledge – to develop creative research frames and methods.


  • Student-led: This course is designed to support you as students in your groups, to enable you to conduct your own independent, transdisciplinary research project. In this way, you will have the opportunity to steer your own learning according to your interests and needs in conceptualizing, carry-out and completing a piece of research.