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Digital Cities - a Summer School on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Published Bernice on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

EIT Digital Summer School in Rennes

Today we are pleased to present to you a different concept that the EIT Digital Department within the University of Renes 1 in France has come up with. This is the concept of a 2-week summer school, held between the 29th June and the 10th July 2020. During these 2 weeks, MA and Phd students focusing on Business-related topics meet in Rennes to discuss innovative concepts, work on entrepreneurial projects and build ideas. Basically, your students can get to spend two weeks in a gorgeous French city with real Entrepreneurs, and other like-minded students sharing knowledge creatively as well as examples of best practice. In today's interview we speak to Prof. Alvaro Pina Stranger, Director and Organiser of this 2-week Summer School who launched this idea 3 years ago, and has seen it grow into a sought-after event by Business Students and International Education Agents from around the world. 

This year you will be hosting the Third Edition of the Summer School in Rennes, France. Could you tell us a little bit about this Summer School?

The Summer School is a key component of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Minor of our Master program, in which students coming from different countries and cultures are fully immersed in an English language innovation activity. In this course, the students attend a two-week summer school during the vacation interval between the two academic years. Here, they have the opportunity to, not only participate in academic lectures, but also learn from industry and company professionals. With this experience, students can develop real business case studies originating from different innovation activities, startups and network of industrial partners.

What are the entry requirements for students who wish to take part in this summer school?

Applicants need to submit an application form and fulfill the admission requirements, such as academic qualification (Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, or Doctoral degree) and, very importantly, they also need to be proficient in English.  They might be asked to take English language proficiency tests, or submit proof of an IELTS or TOEFL qualification, or even, for example, show proof of academic or professional experience, among other alternatives. We always recommend that if your students are interested, and you, as an agent, feel that their level of English is good, you speak to us and we can guide you better. 

What does a typical day during your Summer School consist of?

Typically, students have five main activities. First, they work in teams and apply “learning by doing” to develop a mindset and skills for innovation and entrepreneurship. Secondly, they learn how disruptive technologies have an impact on markets and businesses, and how business models are changing. Thirdly, they get confident by learning the different stages of the business development process and the method to transform a business idea into a viable go-to-market proposal. Next, they get soft skills training by working in teams with peers and multidisciplinary professionals. Finally, they participate at social events such guide visits, ropes, boat trios, dinners, and aGala evening, among others. 

As I understand, in previous editions of this summer school you have also had very valuable international speakers who have attended and shared their experience with your students. Who are these speakers and how do you select them?

That is correct. An important aspect of the Summer School is the interaction between students and entrepreneurs. In this context, we have invited top keynote speakers from the local innovation ecosystem so that they can share their vision, experiences, and, specially, the technological challenges that our students should take up in order to positively impact our society. In previous versions, for example, we had the contribution of Carlos Moreno, an international expert on smart cities; or Igor Calzada, a European expert on urban innovation, among many others.

What is the language spoken during the seminars, interactions, keynote speeches, and during these two weeks in general?

The language spoken is English throughout.

Will the students have the opportunity to explore Rennes and its surroundings during their two weeks with you?

Absolutely! Students of the Summer School will have the opportunity to visit our beautiful downtown as well as the coast, in particular Saint Malo and the Mont Saint Michel, a fascinating historical city close to the beach. Some really nice images of our last Summer School version can be found here.

The social activities are a very important part of the Summer School, since networking and informal collaborations are a fundamental aspect of the creative process.  

Where do the summer school students come from?

Our Summer School is quite multicultural, therefore, students come from all over Europe and abroad have the opportunity to share a wonderful and unique experience in an English-speaking environment. In previous editions of the summer school, participants came from top universities, for example, Alto, in Finland; ELTE, in Hungary; KTH, in Sweden; POLIMI, in Italy; Trento, in Italy; and UPM, in Spain, but also India and China. We really hope to host more students coming from other parts of the world in order to feed our program with an enriching cultural diversity.

Where will the students live while they are attending the summer school?

The University of Rennes 1 guarantees access to individual rooms, which are covered but the fees of the Summer School. These rooms are simple, since they are used during the year for hosting regular students, but they are perfect for one person and are very close to the scientific campus where the Summer School is held. 

What is included in the price?

The price covers all educational materials as well as food, including lunch, dinner and accommodation. All social events, including the weekend in Saint Malo and Mont Saint Michel, are also fully covered.

And finally, let's remind our readers of the dates of this summer school...

Sure, it will be held from the 29th of June until the 10th of July 2020. We look forward to welcoming many of your students :)


If you are interested in finding out more about this interesting summer school, and if you would like to learn about the special commission rates for agents, send us a message on and we'll be happy to put you in touch with Prof. Pina Stranger.

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