Unite! fosters a European wide collaboration on teaching of space-related topics

The Space Tech Unite! project run by Professor Jaan Praks has received funding from the Unite! university alliance. The objective of the project is to create a collaboration network for the teaching of space-related subjects within the Unite! universities.
Havainnekuva tiedesatelliitti Foresail-1:stä maapallon yllä.

The space sector is experiencing a strong revival, while simultaneously undergoing a major transformation of its structure and business models, driven by easier access to space through the development of smaller launchers and satellites, faster and at a lower cost.  

The role of traditional actors, including the national space agencies and large industrial groups, is being redefined, and new actors in academia and other research institutions, and small and medium sized enterprises, have emerged. Rapid growth and profound changes have led to expanding opportunities on the labor market, requiring novel responses from educational organizations. 

Professor Jaan Praks

”These rapid changes are also impacting teaching of undergraduate and graduate level students by providing new opportunities, in particular in the engineering sciences. At the same time, many companies are struggling to hire employees with the required skill sets. The network we want to establish will enable the different partners to learn from each other, as well as to mutualize teaching resources," explains Professor Jaan Praks from the School of Electrical Engineering at Aalto University, who acts as the project coordinator.  

During this 18 month project, the team will work together to develop shared seminars towards collective course activities, create a platform for shared hybrid teaching, monitor learning experiences of students and develop assessment strategies and inclusion of hands-on elements to hybrid teaching. The team will also start planning for a European Space Summer School.  

“New wave of innovative space technology is helping us to tackle the global challenges and build a more sustainable world. European wide collaboration platform in education allows us to reach higher orbits, both figuratively speaking, but also in direct sense,” says Professor Praks. 

Project Partners  

The core of the project community consists of Unite! members. It is extended with the addition of other European universities and other stakeholders in the Space technology education field.  

  • Prof. Jaan Praks, Department of Electronics and nanoengineering, School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, Finland  
  • Prof. Erik Kerstel, Centre Spatial Universitaire de Grenoble (CSUG), France  
  • Prof. Mathieu Barthelemy, Centre Spatial Universitaire de Grenoble (CSUG), France  
  • University Lecturer Mykola Ivchenko, Division of Space and Plasma Physics, EECS, KTH, Sweden 
  • Prof. Leonardo Reyneri, Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, Politecnico de Torino, Italy  
  • Prof. Adriano Camps, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, UPC-BarcelonaTech, Department of Signal Theory and Telecommunications, Spain 
  • Prof. Rodrigo Ventura, Institute for Systems and Robotics, Instituto Superior Técnico, ULisboa, Portugal 
  • Prof. Mihkel Pajusalu and Prof. Andris Slavinskis, Faculty of Science and Technology, Tartu Observatory, University of Tartu, Estonia 
  • Senior Lecturer, Victoria Barabash, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Kiruna Space Campus, Sweden 
  • Prof. Rene Laufer, Luleå University of Technology, Kiruna Space Campus, Sweden 
  • Samuli Nyman, CTO, Arctic Astronautics Ltd., Finland 
  • Ing Francesco Mosca, CEO of SpaceMorionery s.r.l., Italy 

What is the Unite! Seed Fund? 

Unite! offers financial boost for innovative ideas from teachers, researchers and students across the Unite! alliance of nine European universities. With this funding Unite! wants to activate the co-creation of e.g. joint research projects, study offers, blended intensive programmes, long-term collaborations in teaching and/or research units as well as extra-curricular or intercultural activities by students.

Applications for Teaching & Learning and Research & PhD seed fund

  • must include at least three Unite! member universities
  • up to 10 000 Euros for "exploration" activities like for establishing contacts and formulating collaboration ideas
  • up to 80 000 Euros for development activities like building blended/joint courses or developing joint research proposals

The next round of Unite! Seed Fund applications for categories Teaching & Learning as well as Research & PhD takes place in spring 2024. Seed Fund for Student Activities is open until 15 December, 2023. 

Read more about the Unite! Seed Fund (goes to Unite!'s website)

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