Interreg POCTEFA - EmPACTi3 project launch event another step towards Employability with imPACT

The first meeting of the EmPACT i3 "Employability with imPACT" project was held on Friday 21st June at FICOBA, Irun, between teaching staff and public and private entities from the Basque Country and New Aquitaine.


EmPACT i3 is a cross-border project co-funded by the Interreg POCTEFA VI Programme (2021-2027), led by Euskampus Fundazioa and developed jointly with the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and the University of Bordeaux (UB) within the framework of their Euskampus Bordeaux Campus strategic alliance. Its aim is to develop knowledge and skills in professionals of the future to address the challenges of transition in the cross-border territory between New Aquitaine and the Basque Country.

The project is based on the Challenge Based Education approach, and focuses on three main areas:

  • health and sustainability of oceans, focusing on plastic pollution,
  • marine renewable energies and energy transition in general,
  • circular economy.

This first meeting was attended by 40 people who have been working virtually since January 2024 to define collaborative projects between entities and universities based on real issues and needs of the territory. It was an opportunity to get to know each other, raise awareness of their role in the EmPACT i3 community and move forward in the challenges and projects that will be proposed to students from different disciplines as of the start of the 2024-2025 academic year.

The teaching staff already working on the project are from the UPV/EHU,UB, ESTIA School of Engineering Sciences-Po Bordeaux and they come from a range of backgrounds and disciplines (Fine Arts, Education/Pedagogy, Nursing, Psychology, Biology, Arts, Social and Communication Sciences, Chemistry, Sports Management, Energy Transition Governance, Engineering, etc.).

Entities that are already proposing the topics that are the basis of the collaborative projects include the Gaia Cluster, the Albaola, Emaus, Tecnalia, Gureak, Surfrider España from the Basque Country and the Communauté de Communes Maremne Adour Côte Sud (MACS), the Communauté d'Agglomération Pays Basque, , the GIS Littoral Basque (Basque Coast Scientific Interest Grouping), the Ramsay Santé Polo Aquitaine Group, Rivages Pro Tech-Suez Environnement, Compositadour, Resak and Libreplume from New Aquitaine.


Image: Workshop EMPACT i3 in FICOBA.

On this occasion, representatives of the POCTEFA programme from the Basque Government and the Departmental Council of the Atlantic Pyrenees (CD64) also attended. Through various dynamics, they succeeded in getting to know each other in depth, becoming aware of the group they belong to and shaping different projects related to sustainability that they will jointly develop over the coming months.


Image: Illustration of the EMPACTi3 project scope.

At the start of the workshop, an ice-breaking activity was carried out to foster intercultural understanding and empathy, using the three official languages (Basque, French and Spanish) and English. The project fosters linguistic, cultural and disciplinary diversity as a source of wealth in the community and in the joint projects that are developed.

After a working session in project groups, the cross-border teams made up of teaching staff and regional authorities presented in a plenary session the challenges and project ideas that they will propose to their students and which will be developed within the framework of their education over the coming academic year. In order to promote cross-border employability, the challenges proposed by actors from the Basque Country will be addressed by students from New-Aquitaine and those proposed by actors from New-Aquitaine by students from the Basque Country. Each student will have the opportunity to carry out a short-term mobility in the collaborating entity.

At the end of the day, the Coordinator of the UPV/EHU Educational Counselling Service, Idoia Zarrazquin, presented the recently inaugurated permanent laboratory, CBEi3lab (Challenge Based Education i3), to which EmPACT i3 contributes with its challenge-based approach.

As a result of this half-day of work, a series of projects have been proposed and the possibility of raising new challenges with other entities and teaching staff who wish to join this transdisciplinary, intercultural and cross-border community, committed to the challenges of transition in the territory, remains open until September.

More about EMPACTi3.

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