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Call for Applications: ENGAGE.EU Expedition @UNWE

About the ENGAGE.EU Expedition

The ENGAGE.EU Expedition is a one-week intensive program and learning experience for students who work together with experts and mentors on finding solutions to real-life problems. It is a collaborative program, which focuses on creating value for society and uses the framework for inno-preneurship as guiding principle.

By engaging in this international co-design program, you will contribute to real-life societal transformations. You will work with other students in teams on challenges presented by the societal partners of University of National and World Economy (UNWE) and ENGAGE.EU. Throughout the program, you will be guided towards knowledge-based and mission-oriented solutions by using design-thinking principles.

About the Challenge

Sustainable cities are the key to a prosperous and inclusive future. They are designed to optimize resource efficiency, enhance infrastructure, promote social equity, and foster a high quality of life for all residents. The Sustainable Cities Challenge invites participants to think critically and creatively about the pressing issues facing urban areas and explore how sustainable practices can be integrated into their design, planning, and governance. Tourism plays a vital role in the economic growth and cultural exchange of cities around the world. However, it also poses unique challenges to the environment, local communities, and infrastructure. Participants will be encouraged to develop solutions that can be adapted and applied to other cities and communities, maximizing their impact and creating a ripple effect of positive change.

The challenge owners for ENGAGE.EU Expedition @UNWE are the Sofia municipality and the National Association of the Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB). Sofia is the capital and the largest city of Bulgaria. It is the home of the executive, legislative and judiciary bodies of the country. Sofia generates approximately 30% of the national GDP and hosts around 1.5 million tourists per year including digital nomads. NAMRB (est. 1996) is an association of all Bulgarian municipalities that represents voice of local authorities in front of the central government and support them in executing their powers.

Expected Impact

For students: Students, as part of a diverse and international team, will develop an understanding of the challenge by connecting with local stakeholders. They will gain insight on how local stakeholders have addressed the challenge so far and will integrate their knowledge into the process of developing solutions to the challenges. Students will also move beyond the walls of the classroom by going to field visits and interacting with experts and practitioners to understand the challenge from a practical perspective. In addition to specialist knowledge, students will develop numerous other skills such as research, cooperation, dealing with uncertainty, solution-oriented thinking, organisation and communication. 

For stakeholders: Stakeholders can have interdisciplinary and international student teams work on their challenges. They can expand their professional networks, e.g., through contact with other challenge owners, UNWE and the European University Alliance. Visibility and publicity are generated for their work environment, projects and topics. Innovative solutions to challenges are developed.

Format of Challenge

Group work in the format of design thinking in interdisciplinary and international teams.

Students should be able to attend the program in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 15 October (Sunday afternoon) to 20 October 2023 (late evening).


Selected students may receive scholarships for participation in the ENGAGE.EU Expedition Week. Details will follow from the home university after being selected for the expedition week.

Additional Activities

You will have the opportunity to join a rich social and cultural program in Sofia. We will organise a city tour and many other exciting activities during the program. There will be time to socialize in the evening and explore the city’s (night)life.


The University of National and World Economy will offer options (hostels and hotels) nearby the university. Please note, you will be sharing your room with other students. If you would like to make use of this opportunity, please indicate below. Possible other arrangements need to be made by yourself. Please note that the expedition lasts until Friday late evening. 

Your Profile

The ENGAGE.EU Expedition@UNWE edition is targeted at bachelor’s and master’s students. Students of any citizenship and any field of study who are enrolled as of October 2023 in an ENGAGE.EU partner university are welcome to apply.

If you want to learn more about this experience, watch the video of the ENGAGE.EU expedition at Tilburg University:


To apply for the ENGAGE.EU Expedition you should provide:  

  • A short letter (max. 300 words) explaining your motivation for applying to the ENGAGE.EU Expedition@UNWE,
  • Curriculum vitae (education, work experience, language skills, study/work abroad, other relevant skills and experiences),
  • Academic records (transcript of records).


Submitted applications are evaluated by the academics and staff working in the ENGAGE.EU Labs. Candidates will be evaluated based on their motivation letter and CV. In order to ensure equal participation among students from the different partner universities, the selection committee will aim at choosing three to maximum five students from each partner university. Final decisions also consider a range of criteria for cohort composition, including but not limited to disciplinary balance, institutional diversity, and demographic diversity.

Additional Details

In order to complete your application, you will have to fill in the application form below and upload your CV, academic records and motivation letter (in Word or PDF format), together with: 

  • Copy of international passport or European identity card – to be uploaded in PDF;
  • Passport photo in JPG format.

Applications must be submitted by 6 September 2023, at midnight CET. All documents must be in English, except for the academic records (which can be in any language of the partner universities). 

Results will be communicated by 15 September 2023. 

For questions, please send an email to