Training students on the importance of raw materials in the transition to circular cities

Future generations will face challenges due to scarcity of raw materials and the impact of policy decisions related to the management of (critical) raw materials on sustainable urban development.

CircuCity international summer school gives students thorough insights into the role of raw materials in the transition to sustainable cities. The aim is to stimulate them to find creative alternative solutions to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ambitious and yet successfully executed plan was to run the summer school in parallel on three different locations in Europe. Students were challenged  to find innovative solutions for global sustainability issues, meanwhile stimulating their creativity and raising awareness on the role of critical raw materials therein.

Creative solutions towards sustainable circular cities

The summer camp makes students aware of the need for critical metals and mineral raw materials in the development of sustainable circular cities. They are challenged by thematic experts to find creative alternative solutions to reach sustainable development goals taking into account unforeseen events and policy decisions.

Enthusiastic students and the diversity of participants originating from a wide variety of countries are key ingredients for creativity. Both the students and the lecturers involved, familiarised with innovative learning techniques, such as blended learning and challenge-based education.

Award-winning training

On the occasion of the Ghent University Education and Internationalisation day in November 2021, CircuCity was rewarded for its innovative,  activating, and interdisciplinary learning approach. Prof. Gijs Du Laing and Elise Meerburg received the award from Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Educational Director of Ghent University.

The development of circular cities and more sustainable societies requires multi-perspective thinking. A couple of years ago, I started understanding the great potential of letting students from multiple backgrounds work together on the same challenge.

Prof. Gijs Du Laing, Project Coordinator at Ghent University

EIT RawMaterials provided the leverage and financial support and brought its network’s value: EIT RawMaterials Academy actively supported the promotion of the summer school and the dissemination through the Alumni network. The EIT knowledge triangle approach was strongly embedded in the project: The key partners represented Universities (Ghent University, Belgium and MONDRAGON, Spain), researchers (Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (MEERI), Poland) and industry (ERION, Italy). The mix of non-academic and academic experts giving training sessions and acting as mentors provided a unique knowledge base.

The most exciting outcome from this summer school was the multidisciplinary approach towards the problems that the cities nowadays are facing to be more sustainable and circular.

Dajana Disha, Student

The summer school will continue

The legacy of the project will be financial sustainability. The go-to-market strategy focused on developing a handbook for the organisation of the summer school and its city district redesign tournament. The consortium promotes the summer school among external parties that may be interested in organising the same summer school in the future. The project team will facilitate this on the condition that the necessary resources (subsidies) are available to organise the summer school.