Design thinking applied to education and training

About the project

D-Think, Design Thinking Applied to Education and Training is an initiative of 7 partners from 6 different European countries that has the support of the Erasmus+ Program of the European Commission.

Design Thinking is founded on the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and match solutions to the context. D-Think suggests the application of Design Thinking to HEI and VET Education as a response to the need for change in the provided curricula from Academic and Business Education.

Project objectives and goals

D-Think’s goal is to promote a wider use of Design Thinking as a transversal learning tool by developing and making available a digital course supported on mobile learning, for education professionals and professional trainers. Through this, the project aims to:

  • Stimulate HEI´s and VET providers to renew their learning approaches and methodologies.
  • Foster the cooperation between HEIs and the labor market for the training of human resources able to innovate and stimulate growth.

Project Methodology

  • Clarification of the concept of Design Thinking and identification of the top 10 Design Thinking principles for innovation in HEI & VET, through an extensive research. The research methodology is based on a Constructivist Design Research approach, using itself a Design Thinking model.
  • Introduction of the role of Design Thinking in HEI and VET Education, as an alternative to the traditional learning/teaching methodologies together with relevant examples, tools and approaches.
  • Creation of the D-Think toolkit and a mobile-learning course for trainers based on the research results.
  • Validation of the m-learning course and of the toolkit through pilot trainings organized by the partners around Europe.


Advancis Business Services
Akademia Humanistyczno-Ekonomiczna w Lodzi
Fondazione ISTUD
Vaasa University of Applied Sciences
Venture hub

EFMD is involved in most of the activities including the organization of a pilot course, its monitoring and evaluation.

For more information on the project please, visit the project’s website at You can download the research report here

TNE_QA: Promoting quality and recognition of transnational education in Armenia and Georgia


About the Project

TNE_QA is a EU-funded project under the TEMPUS (Trans-European Mobility University Studies) programme's sixth call for proposals. TNE_QA aims at establishing internal and external quality assurance mechanisms in line with OECD/UNESCO guidelines to further enhance quality and promote regulation and recognition of the transnational education provided in Armenia and Georgia.


Objective and Goals
The main project objective is to develop and integrate quality assurance mechanisms in the institutions that provide transnational education (TNE).  
The specific objectives target at:
  • Building on the capacity of the Armenian and Georgian HEIs and external quality assurance bodies to effectively manage quality assurance of TNE.
  • Developing and integrating quality assurance mechanisms at the institutions that provide TNE.
  • Developing and integrating quality assurance standards and procedures for external quality assurance systems to effectively manage the quality assurance procedures at universities providing TNE.
  • Ensuring regulation, quality assurance and recognition of TNE provisions in Armenia and Georgia.

Project Content and Methodology

The project consists of the following three main activities:  
  • Capacity building (training kit, training sessions, workshops, case studies, plan and template for the development of QA units at HEIs).
  • Formulation of internal and external QA procedures for TNE providers.
  • Pilot accreditation of TNE providers (institutional and academic programme).

The principle outcomes and outputs include:
  • Well-prepared staff at HEIs and external quality assurance agency/Ministry to provide quality assurance of TNE.
  • Established/revised functions of internal quality assurance units at HEIs.
  • Nationwide standards, procedures, indicators and benchmarks for external quality assurance of TNE providers in Armenia and Georgia.
  • Institution-wide internal quality assurance Procedures Handbook for HEIs in Armenia and Georgia.
  • Legitimate and sustainable quality assurance system piloted and operationalised in Armenia and Georgia.
The HEIs, participating in the project, are from the Eastern European Neighbourhood – Armenia and Georgia. It allows deeper understanding of the needs of developing systems and customisation to specific country and institutional priorities. The EU partners bring in the richness of experience in TNE quality assurance.

The TNA_QA Partnership
Armenian partners

Georgian partners

EU partners

EFMD coordinates the formulation of internal and external quality assurance standards and procedures for providers of transnational education.

 Download the TNE_QA Standards and Procedures guidelines

MIRRIS: Mobilising Institutional Reforms in Research and Innovation Systems


About the Project

MIRRIS is a three-year project, co-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme’s Coordination and Support action.

It aims at encouraging a better exploitation of European research and innovation programmes and the participation in the European Research Area of thirteen target countries by setting up a process of analysis, dialogue and mutual learning among key concerned stakeholders, namely research, innovation and institutional actors.

Project Content and Methodology
Europe as a whole must advance significantly in research and innovation performances in order to make the EU the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy, as foreseen in the Europe 2020 strategy. There are countries that are particularly legging behind in the effectiveness of exploiting EU funded programmes in the field of Research, Development and Innovation. The obstacles can be sought among local conditions, resources and assets faceting a specific system.

To analyse and tackle this issue, MIRRIS  focuses on 13 target countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

In order to allow these countries to better exploit the European research and innovation programmes, MIRRIS sets up an extensive policy learning exercise to identify barriers and to point out how innovation systems can better address the participation in the European research area. Through a process of policy dialogues the project attempts to understand how innovation systems can better address the participation in the European research and innovation area and enable innovation, competitiveness and openness. To serve this purpose the consortium builds on the engagement of a network of key players within Research, Development and Innovation and co-ordinates contributions based on a multilevel approach: ranging from policy makers down to implementation bodies and operational actors.

More in details, MIRRIS co-ordinates a process of analysis, dialogue, learning and outreach based on:

  • Sharing the general conceptual framework and creating a common base of understanding
  • Involvement of key actors to identify performances, gaps, needs, common patterns and relevant practices in Europe via dialogue and desk research
  • Engagement of stakeholders to deepen analysis, validate findings and shape lessons based on gaps identified in the target countries for a more efficient exploitation
  • Contribution of peers to foster implementation of preliminary selected actions through coaching
  • Reaching out a wider audience of key players and rising awareness on institutional reforms and change using events, web channels, social networks

The project foresees the organisation of three rounds of policy dialogues in each country involving relevant stakeholders from three levels: decision makers, implementation institutions and operational structures. Through sharing, discussing and enriching findings among relevant stakeholders, policy recommendations for institutional reform will be shaped and actions for the implementation validated for a successful uptake.

The MIRRIS Partnership

EFMD is associated to all project activities, but its particular role is to identify relevant stakeholders among its members and partners who can play a part in the policy dialogues as well as to contribute to the organisation of these dialogues.
For more information please visit the project website:

OI-Net: European Academic Network for Open Innovation

About the Project
The European Academic Network for Open Innovation (OI-Net) is a three-year project co-financed by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme, aimed at establishing a network of stakeholders interested in Open Innovation (OI) and promoting cooperation among higher education curricula and institutions. OI-Net is designed to facilitate cooperation by outlining and exchanging up-to-date concepts and good practices in open innovation and open innovation education.

Project Objectives
Open Innovation has been recognised as one of the most important factors in societal development and for European competitiveness. It accelerates the exchange of knowledge and technology within Europe, creating new business opportunities. Despite this, the few curricula on Innovation Management that have been created so far are not sufficiently targeted and complete.

This project develops from the need, emerged from the analysis by various practitioners and research networks, to include OI as a full teaching discipline in order to meet the job market needs for skilled employees and therefore increase the competitiveness of European enterprises. This problem is especially critical to the SMEs, which cannot afford big innovation management teams with specialised skills and which need the specialists who have a holistic understanding of open innovation processes and activities.

OI-Net tackles the following specific objectives:
  • Fill the gap in terms of structured open innovation in Higher Education
  • Demonstrate the integration of the European open innovation curricula
  • Develop a European Community of Practice on open innovation observatory/think-tank
  • Implement support actions to open innovation in Higher Education
  • Build sustainability, shape the future of Higher Education
  • Implement dissemination and supporting facilities from the very start and promote open approaches

Project Methodology
The methods used in the project involve business needs analysis conducted in every participant country, comparing and developing compendia and curricula, preparation of teaching materials, preparation of teaching guidelines and training of teachers. OI-Net will define a Common Curricula Framework (CCF) on OI in Higher Education (HE) to be implemented into pilot courses using an on-line Platform for OI in HE (OIP) where all participants can contribute in an enhanced wiki approach (e.g. modules, cases, multimedia elements, etc.). This OIP enables a-la-carte education to fit the multiple learning outcomes and pedagogical guidelines and needs of the target groups.

An important part of the project management is devoted to quality control and assurance (WP6), under EFMD’s lead and comprising quality assurance and improvement cycle, planning, implementation, evaluation and assessment as well as review/revision. These steps are ensured by constant on-going evaluation of the results. Outcome Mapping methodology will be implemented (with the identification of Progress Markers depending on the various Boundary Partners of OI projects/cases) to support evidence building of the role of OI in HE in terms of impact towards the societal challenges. It will be re-used to support exploitation plan and recommendations to policy-makers to the HE governance.

Project Partners
  • Leader: Finland - Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • Albania - “Marin Barleti” University
  • Austria - WIFI - Vienna Chamber of Commerce; FH Wien
  • Belgium - University of Namur; MAC-Team aisbl; EFMD
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - University of East Sarajevo
  • Bulgaria - New Bulgaria University
  • Croatia - University of Zagreb
  • Cyprus - University of Cyprus; EU Association of Erasmus Coordinators
  • Czech Republic - University of Economics
  • Denmark - Aarhus University
  • Estonia - University of Tartu; Tallinn University of Technology
  • France - France Business School; Actif-Europe
  • Germany - University of Erlangen-Nuremberg; iNNOWiSE; Aachen University
  • Greece - Athens University of Economics and Business-Research Center
  • Hungary - IMCRC University of Miskolc; University of West Hungary
  • Ireland  - Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, National University of Ireland
  • Italy - Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna; TTP Lab, Technology Transfer Program & Laboratory/Studio ing. Giordani; Politecnico di Milano
  • Latvia - Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration
  • Lithuania - Kaunas University of Technology
  • Luxembourg - CRP Henri Tudor
  • Macedonia - Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje
  • Malta - University of Malta
  • Netherlands - Strategie en Organisatie; Fontys University of Applied Sciences
  • Norway - Norwegian School of Economics; NTNU Social Research AS
  • Poland - Technology Partners; University of Economics in Katowice
  • Portugal - INESC Porto, University of Porto
  • Romania - University of Transilvania
  • Serbia - University of Novi Sad
  • Slovakia - Technical University of Košice
  • Slovenia - University of Ljubljana; University of Primorska
  • Spain - Instutute de Empresa, IE UNIVERSIDAD; EADA
  • Sweden - Linköping University
  • Switzerland - Geneva School of Business Administration
  • Turkey - Middle East Technical University
  • United Kingdom - ISPIM; University of Exeter

EFMD is associated with all project activities, but is in particular, in charge of leading the Quality Assurance work package.
For more information, please visit the project website:

IRIS: Fostering academic international relations in Israeli colleges


About the Project

IRIS is a EU-funded project under the TEMPUS (Trans-European Mobility University Studies) programme's fifth call for proposals. IRIS is a three-year project, bringing together eighteen Israeli and European partners. Israeli partners include peripherally and centrally situated academic institutions, engineering and social sciences colleges, educational training colleges and Arab colleges.

Objective and Goals
The main project's objective is to promote international and intercultural policies, skills and culture in Israeli public academic colleges, and thereby to strengthen the colleges' capacities for education and research and improve their academic quality and standards.  

Among the project's goals:

  • Developing strategic plans for internationalisation in participating colleges
  • Encouraging international activities among academic and administrative staff and students
  • Creating departments for international relations in the participating colleges
  • Initiating international academic activities and creating a network of Israeli and European partners.

Project Content and Methodology

To achieve its wider objectives the project employs a comprehensive plan directed at the target audiences of faculty, administrators and students and addressing a full spectrum of internationalisation objectives, including raising awareness, increasing the visibility of internationalisation within the college culture and the establishment of a functioning International Relations Office at each partner college. The project undertakes further advocacy efforts among policy makers and non-participating colleges to promote a more comprehensive introduction of internationalisation throughout the Israeli system of public academic colleges.

The project consists of three interacting levels of activities:  

  • Introduction of practices for internationalisation management
  • Introduction of internationalisation competencies to faculty, administrators and students
  • Dissemination and exploitation of project results.The successful planning and implementation of the IRIS project elements aim to result in the development and consolidation of a comprehensive programme that can be disseminated throughout Israeli public academic colleges in order to improve the higher education system.

The IRIS Partnership
Israeli Colleges

Other Israeli Partners:

European Partners

EFMD contributes with its expertise to the internationalisation activities as well as to the project dissemination.

For more information, please visit the project website