Going on a mission: 25 EPICUR students kicking off the EPIC Mission 2022-23 in Vienna
From 22-26 August 2022, 25 students from eight of the EPICUR universities convened at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna to embark on a six-month journey. Their mission? Tackle real-world challenges on behalf of external stakeholders from across the continent. They are supported by Mission Guides, academic staff members who advise them on their journey.

External Stakeholders and Challenges in the EPIC Mission 2022/23 European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS): A 21st Century Education for EuropeansSocial City Wien (Austria): Education and communication measures for climate, nature, and sustainabilityLa Nef des Sciences, Mulhouse (France): Energy transition and citizenship: reinventing the link between energy and way of life Solare Zukunft e.V., Freiburg (Germany): House of Sustainability Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe (Germany): Tackling today’s challenges together: How can museums foster debate and collaboration? City of Thessaloniki (Greece): Transformation of an urban stream section

After a Welcome Dinner on Monday, on Tuesday, the six interdisciplinary student teams from across the EPICUR alliance eagerly delved into their challenges. The mission began with each team meeting their stakeholder. This year, three groups met their stakeholder online, while two other stakeholders travelled to Vienna to attend the meeting in person at BOKU. Our Vienna-based stakeholder, Social City Wien, hosted the participants at their offices giving them the opportunity to look at the place targeted by the challenge.

After the initial excitement and fascination, each team settled into a work mode that they characterised as inspiring, productive and fun. This was strengthened by former EPIC Mission participants who joined the event to provide helpful advice to their successors regarding how they can successfully complete the EPIC Mission.

Following the farewell celebration on Thursday night, Friday marked the end of the kick-off event. Now the EPIC Mission will go into space – and the students will have to continue their collaboration online to provide the stakeholders with results that will help them tackle their challenge. The final reports and presentations to the stakeholders are due in January.

The next few months will reveal how well the students tackle their respective challenges, but it is already clear today that they have an exciting and fruitful learning experience in front of them.