Innovation Blog

Three challenges for SOI students

by Roberto Napoli

Games for Synthetic Biology, smart communication in the Italian tanning industry and the future of cultural objects: those intriguing topics will be addressed during the three challenges organized in the first semester 2022-23 at the SOI-School of Innovation in the framework of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU).

Three challenge providers, namely the MUSE-Science Museum of Trento, UNIC-the Italian Tanners’ Association, and the Museo degli usi e costumi della gente trentina enthusiastically engaged with SOI students in order to address and solve one specific problem each, called challenge.

A diverse team of challengers

Students reacted promptly, stimulated by the possibility to interact with scientists, managers, companies, and have a flavor of what happens out in the real world: indeed, out of the approximately 70 students who applied, the final group of 50 challenge-enthusiasts is composed of 21 students enrolled at the University of Trento and 29 coming from 18 different European Universities. Diversity in the students’ disciplines (30 different degrees represented) further ensures a sparkly atmosphere, where creativity is stimulated and transformed into sound projects that solve the proposed challenges.


Students are mentored by experienced “teamchers”, who facilitate teamwork and help them implement their good ideas into actionable plans. Students are further involved in side activities, pretty different from their daily university life: it might be through an intensive hackathon (24 hours of continuous activities over the weekend organized in the first challenge), or company visits (the tannery tour is organized in the Italian tanneries district of Vicenza for the second challenge), or continuous interaction with managers of the Museum to co-design smart solutions to enhance access to cultural objects (in the third challenge).

Stay tuned

The three challenges will be further narrated by reporting student activities “in the making”. Stay tuned for the next episodes!

Learn more about

Challenges: real-life problems, identified by challenge providers (Companies or institutions) and launched to students as challenges to be solved
Challenge providers: open-minded companies or institutions who are willing to involve a diverse group of students in their daily life and interact with them to find creative solutions to their daily business.

Challenge-based learning: CBL is a pedagogical approach in which it is much up to the learner’s own responsibilities to drive the learning towards some self-governing and internalized learning outcomes (ECIU University).

ECIU: European Consortium of Innovative Universities, an ambitious project in the framework of the European University aimed at spreading CBL as a teaching methodology for high-level education

The three challenges:
The challenge providers: MUSE-Science Museum of Trento, UNIC-the Italian Tanners’ Association, the Museo degli usi e costumi della gente trentina

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