INSPIRED (International Project Week for Interdisciplinary Research-Oriented Digital Learning) is a TU Darmstadt initiative that welcomes students from all over the globe and promotes interdisciplinarity, team collaboration, and mentoring through an international project work.
INSPIRED builds on a long tradition of international and interdisciplinary projects at TU Darmstadt. The program addresses the challenges of space travel and exploration through cooperation between the disciplines of aeronautics, mechanical engineering, materials science, and biology. In 2020, INSPIRED was for the first time held under the umbrella of the European University alliance, UNITE! (University Network for Innovation, Technology, and Engineering).
In its preparatory phase, INSPIRED offers a wide range of online lectures and materials via the Moodle open-source learning platform. These summarize the fundamentals and core competencies of the disciplines involved in the project, giving the participating students of diverse academic backgrounds an overview of all the relevant fields of study. This ensures that all participants can comfortably engage in discussions during the main team project event. The e-Learning materials are accompanied by dedicated quizzes in order to evaluate the students' progress. Passing these is required for successful completion of the preparatory course and qualification for participation in the Team Project phase.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, welcoming students from the partner universities to Darmstadt for the face-to-face summer event was not possible. Instead, an alternative, fully digital program offer was developed: a variety of tools and structures were established to ensure smooth communication and user-friendly virtual teamwork environment, as well as to give an impression of the city of Darmstadt and its most important research institutions.
Following the three-week project event, the students have to present the results of their work to all participants and a panel of jurors. The presentations are followed by Q&A sessions, during which the experts have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss some aspects of the proposed scientific solutions in detail. Based on the jury's assessment, the team awarded the most points is then announced as the winner.
Still in doubt? Watch these testimonials from students who participated last year in the INSPIRED project.