Mobility Powered by Youth

The CIVITAS Initiative supports the youth contribution to transport and mobility through the CIVITAS Educational Network and the Fresh Brains programme.

Fresh Brains Illustration



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CIVITAS Educational Network

The CIVITAS Educational Network enables cooperation between educational institutes active in the field of urban mobility. The creation of the Network was inspired by the results of a survey conducted by CIVITAS in 2021, which indicated the value of such a network for allowing greater structural cooperation among universities. Launched in early 2022, the CIVITAS Educational Network has rolled out activities in three main domains:

  • Student exchange
    Student exchanges enable both students and academic staff to discover unique approaches to urban mobility, thereby strengthening the students’ position in the international labour market. Exchanges can take place in a variety of forms, but generally focus on the facilitation of cooperation in the urban mobility field.
  • Knowledge exchange
    Educational institutions worldwide generate outputs of their teaching and research activities, such as methodologies, results and instruments. An exchange of knowledge between institutions help promote the discovery of new approaches to urban mobility challenges. Such exchanges can consist of guest lectures, curriculum exchanges, and more.
  • Joint Master programmes
    By exploring the opportunities and interests between institutions, the Network aspires to establish joint Master programmes. Such programmes are advantageous for students because they provide exposure to an international curriculum and foster multicultural skills; whereas participating faculty have the opportunity to learn about other teaching and learning methods, as well as student diversity in the classroom.

The desired long-term outcome of this initiative is to have a self-sufficient network of cooperating universities, which pursues an interdisciplinary and international approach to urban mobility education. At the end of 2022, a guide will be published that provides a complete overview of opportunities for interested students and universities.

How to join?

For educational institutions interesting in joining the CIVITAS Educational Network, please follow the steps listed below:

  1. Fill in the survey to specify your interests:
  2. Fill in your profile information through this form: 

Fresh Brains Programme

Student perspectives are often fresh, unpredictable and sometimes even radical, making them the perfect addition to organisations that are hungry for new ideas.

Within the Fresh Brains programme, tailor-made activities can be developed in response to a need expressed by organisations working on the subject of urban mobility. The Fresh Brains programme is therefore demand driven, client-specific and applicable across varying scales of time.

Activities under the Fresh Brains programme provide mutual benefits to the hosting organisation and the student(s) participating. Organisations benefit from fresh perspectives and ideas, while the student benefits from capacity-building through skill development, cultural awareness, knowledge exchange, exposure to the working world, as well as the chance to narrow the theory-practice gap. All “hosting” organisations provide student participants with guidance in the form of mentoring, supervising, and training depending on the Fresh Brains activity.

Developing an Activity

Brainstorming Fresh Brains

Image from University of Breda

Presentation Fresh Brains

Image from University of Breda

Winners Fresh Brains

Image from University of Breda

1. Identify a problem

The interested organisation develops a ‘problem statement’ for which they would require student insight.

2. Create an activity based on a problem

The organisation transforms their problem statement into an activity by categorising it as one of the four types of Fresh Brains activities. This is dictated by the needs and capabilities of the organisation, including activity location, budget, and professionals involved.

3. Connect with interested participants

A call for student participants is posted on the Fresh Brains webpage. After a review of all applications by the hosting organisation, the chosen participant(s) are contacted.

4. Customise and begin the activity

The hosting organisation and selected participant(s) agree on a customised programme and the activity period begins.

5. Complete the activity

With each Fresh Brains activity, a final outcome is produced and delivered by the participant(s) to the hosting organisation. The value of the outcome to the industry or organisation is identified. Depending on the activity, the participant(s) may have an opportunity to discuss and reflect on the process of the activity. 

The Three Types of Fresh Brains Activities

Duration: 1-5 days
Scale: Unlimited (group assignments)

Hackathons are sprint-like competitions, where students compete in teams to create new solutions to industry problems. This collaborative event-like activity sparks quick-thinking and innovative ideas in a concentrated environment. Students are expected to solve a problem found within the urban mobility industry, as presented by a company or organisation. Each team should be between 4 and 8 people, including one industry supervisor.


Duration: 2-3 days
Scale: Unlimited (group assignments)

Tactical urbanism is all about neighbourhood building through community action, change, and innovation. During this event-like activity, students plan low-cost and time-limited interventions that they can implement on their streetscapes, with the idea of promoting potential people-friendly street design changes. Tactical urbanism events encourage student initiative and leadership, with the supervisor taking a primarily supportive role. Each group should be between 4 and 8 people, including one industry supervisor.


Duration: 1-3 months
Scale: Unlimited (group assignments)

Urban Living Labs facilitate the exploration of new sustainable solutions in a particular location, like in a street, park or underused building. This type of activity brings students together to co-design, test, and implement ideas in real-life environments. This integration of student ideas and their involvement in city space planning contributes to a range of multigenerational perspectives. Each group should be between 4 and 8 people, including one industry supervisor.


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FAQ Youth

If you are currently enrolled as a student, then you are eligible. Please note, each Fresh Brain activity to be launched includes a requirement section addressing eligibility. The requirements typically depend on the nature of the Fresh Brain activity and problem statement set by the hosting organisation. Please refer to the specific requirements for each different Fresh Brain activity.

See each specific Fresh Brain activity for information on the application process.

Each Fresh Brain activity launched differs in terms of financial support. This is depending on the nature of the activity and the hosting organisation. Please refer to the specific Fresh Brain activity to establish the financial support. 

No, this is not a requirement but does depend on the nature of the specific Fresh Brains activity.

Yes, you will be provided with a certificate of participation.

As a participant you are expected to actively engage in a group to solve an industry related problem set by a host company. It is expected that you critically analyse current situations, seek new solutions and explore “fresh” alternatives related to the Fresh Brains activity. Creative knowledge and enthusiasm are expected of all participants.

FAQ Host Organisation

If you have a current problem statement that is industry-related and is seeking new perspectives and solutions then you are eligible.

Get in contact with us at CIVITAS to discuss your problem statement and how to become a host for a Fresh Brains activity.

Depending on the nature of the Fresh Brains activity, and the interest received, the selection will be made in consultation with the host organisation.

This will depend on the Fresh Brains activity, problem statement and need set by the host organisation.

CIVITAS will offer support throughout the process of setting up a Fresh Brains activity to ensure the success thereof. This could include assisting with a focussed problem statement, identifying the ideal activity, developing a program and selecting interested participant(s).

The problem statement will typically need to be industry-related, current and challenging. With the creation of the problem statement, the aim will be to gather insight and new, "fresh", out-of-the-box solutions. Fresh Brains organisers will assist you to develop the best problem statement to fit your needs.

Depending on the Fresh Brains activity there may be costs faced by the hosting organisation. This will be discussed in consultation with CIVITAS.

As a hosting organisation, you are the owner of the problem statement. It is therefore expected that clear goals are set, needs are communicated, and expectations are managed to ensure a successful outcome from a Fresh Brains activity, with the assistance from CIVITAS.


If you are interested in becoming involved in the CIVITAS University Network or the Fresh Brains programme, please contact the appropriate person, as listed below:

CIVITAS University Network

Dr. Nina Nesterova
nesterova [dot] n [at] buas [dot] nl

Fresh Brains

Dr. Zhan Goosen
goosen [dot] z [at] buas [dot] nl

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