Page updated 13.12.2018

CARPE Conference 2017 in Hamburg - joint project proposals and teacher network development

The biennial conference of the international CARPE network was organized on 15–17 November 2017 in Hamburg under the theme of "Let’s Talk about Impact – Fostering Collaboration in Research, Innovation and Education".

The conference gathered some two hundred professionals together to work on joint project proposals and develop a peer network for higher education teachers.

Photos: Oliver Blang / HAW Hamburg

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This time, the CARPE Conference was arranged around parallel group working sessions.

What is CARPE?

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CARPE is a strategic alliance of European higher education institutions. The abbreviation CARPE derives from the Consortium of Applied Research and Professional Education. Established in 2011 by the initiative of Utrecht, the purpose of CARPE is to create a strategic network of institutions of higher education. The strategic collaboration aims at promoting exchange and collaboration in European research, developing joint study programmes and increasing student and staff exchange (including non-academic staff members). The network also cherishes collaborative research projects and arrange joint academic activities.

At the moment, the CARPE alliance involves six higher education institutions, namely, in alphabetical order by country, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), the University of Debrecen (Hungary), the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (the Netherlands), the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) and Manchester Metropolitan University (the UK). The newest CARPE partner is the University of Debrecen, the promotion of which from the Associate Member level to a Full Member was announced in the recent conference in Hamburg.

The CARPE conference is organized every two years by one of the CARPE members. Each conference focuses on a specific theme. To date, there have been four CARPE conferences taking place in Utrecht (2011), Manchester (2013), Turku (2015) and Hamburg (2017).

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Members of CARPE Steering Committee and CARPE Support Group.

International projects and popular exchange destinations

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"TUAS has been a CARPE member since the network was established", says Anu Härkönen, Head of International Affairs at TUAS.

According to Härkönen, the higher education institutions in the CARPE alliance have been popular exchange destinations during the past few years.

"For instance, in the academic year of 2016–2017, the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht was the most popular student exchange destination at TUAS, with altogether 30 outbound Erasmus exchange students. During the same academic year, the Polytechnic University of Valencia was the most popular destination of teacher and staff exchange at TUAS, and Manchester Metropolitan University was the third most popular exchange destination."

Altogether over 300 CARPE students and nearly 200 CARPE teachers or experts have either left TUAS for exchange or arrived at TUAS during the past few years. However, as Anu Härkönen reminds, CARPE is about much more than just student and staff exchange:

"In addition, TUAS has participated either as a coordinator or a partner in 21 CARPE projects of all the 24 CARPE projects that have been implemented during 2011–2017."

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A joint dinner for the conference guests was arranged at Hamburg Rathaus.

CARPE conference 2017: joint project proposals and TEACHER HUB development

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One of the key focus areas of the Hamburg CARPE conference was to prepare proposals for Horizon 2020 joint projects in pre-determined working groups. The conference provided the participating professionals from the partner institutions with an excellent framework for creating and developing interdisciplinary and international RDI collaboration in altogether 15 working groups.

"At the beginning of the conference, keynote speakers Monica Schofield (TuTech Innovation GmbH) and Ana-Cruz Garcia (UPV, CPI2020) introduced the audience to the challenges of Horizon 2020 programme and to the Horizon strategy drafted by UPV as well as the means to support staff with drafting applications for the funding programme", explains Johanna Krappe, Head of RDI Services at TUAS.

"After the introductions by Monica and Ana, the conference guests were divided into numerous workshops that used different facilitated methods to go deeply into the call for proposals by Horizon 2020 and to plan future projects."

After participating in the conference, TUAS is now a partner in at least three Horizon project preparations. During the conference, Rectors of the CARPE partner institutions made a decision that both ongoing and already ended joint projects, the number of which is almost 30 by now, will be evaluated from the viewpoint of impact and influence in the future.

Another key focus area of the fourth CARPE conference was to further develop the TEACHER HUB network. TEACHER HUB takes to continue what was started in the 2015 CARPE conference in Turku and in the CARPE Summer Learning Lab in 2016. The aim is to create an international peer network for teachers for discussing topics around teaching and learning, and for sharing experiences, ideas and best practices.

In the CARPE conference 2017, TEACHER HUB was carried out in four tracks, concentrating in group sessions on four themes, i.e. digitalization, RDI and education, internationalization, and enhanced teacher exchange.

"As of 2018, the plan is to carry on with TEACHER HUB by arranging alternately webinars and workshops in cooperation", explains Minna Scheinin, Head of Future Learning Design at TUAS.

"TEACHER HUB will also start utilizing the Padlet platform, with which teachers can find colleagues in their own field and plan joint implementations or teacher exchange."

Read a short report on TEACHER HUB here.

The conference also offered a framework for organizing the closing seminar of the FINCODA project. The international CARPE project FINCODA, 2014–2017, has focused on developing the assessment of innovation competences.

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On a couple of occasions between teamworking in parallel sessions, the audience gathered together for presentations and keynotes.

TUAS received recognition

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The conference provided an opportunity to officially welcome the University of Debrecen, previously an associate member, as a full member of the CARPE network. In addition, during the conference TUAS received a recognition for the highest numbers in international exchange of all the CARPE members. Another point worth recognition was the number of projects by TUAS, which was also the highest comparing with the other CARPE members.

"We are glad to notice how actively we’ve been able to benefit from the CARPE network", states Vesa Taatila, TUAS Rector and President.

"Through CARPE, we have had the opportunity to utilize the European financial instruments more extensively than earlier. At the same time, TUAS clearly acts as an active member of the international higher education community."

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The President of HAW Hamburg Micha Teuscher (on the right) hands Vesa Taatila (left) a CARPE award. The Vice President of HAW Hamburg Thomas Netzel is in the middle.

More information about CARPE is available here.

The next CARPE conference will be arranged in 2019 in Valencia, Spain.