St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences has been offering a new innovative elective module since the winter semester of 2018/19. In the Interdisciplinary Lab (iLab), students in mixed and international teams spend a semester dealing intensively with a practice-relevant project, from the idea to concrete implementation. They learn to confront contemporary societal challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective and acquire an expanded view of the specialist discipline underlying their studies. In the current semester, 23 students from eight countries are taking advantage of the offer.
In-house facilities and supervisory team
In Finland, this teaching concept has been successfully offered for several years. Now for the first time, St. Pölten UAS has brought the lab-model to Austria. Throughout one semester, students in cross-programme project groups can address a current "real-world problem". For the independent project work, students have their own facilities and an interdisciplinary team of supervisors from St. Pölten UAS (so-called Lab Masters) as well as external coaches. The instruction language is English.
"In the iLab, students are brought together from all over the world from a wide range of disciplines in order to solve a specific challenge. In addition to important specialist knowledge, students also learn individual initiative, self-organisation, independence and personal responsibility", said Alois Frotschnig, Head of the Department of Media and Digital Technologies and initiator of the iLabs at St. Pölten UAS.
"With the iLab, we are achieving another innovative didactic approach and taking advantage of the diversity of our six very different departments and their varied content in order to develop interdisciplinary collaboration and multidisciplinary thinking", added Monika Vyslouzil, Chairperson of the University of Applied Sciences Board.
The iLab is divided into three project phases, the first two concluding with a “decision gate”. The project status is reviewed and evaluated by an international jury of experts. This ensures that only the most promising projects advance to the next phase.
You can find more information about the iLab at: ilab.fhstp.ac.at.