West Creative Industries supports the creation and development of new educational pathways that intersect the sciences, design and technology to meet the new professional realities of careers in design, engineering and innovation. This involves familiarising design students with economic and digital matters and HSS and ICST students with design and interdisciplinary approaches. WCI is also tasked with establishing continuing professional development courses in design for all economic sectors.


To achieve these remits, WCI has strengthened links between the universities of Nantes, Angers and Le Mans, the École de Design Nantes Atlantique, the Alliance (ENSA Nantes, Audencia, Centrale Nantes) and ESBA-TALM. Collaborative projects, within the programme’s thematic scope, are possible with all institutions in the region.

Calls for initial education projects

WCI encourages the development of interdisciplinary, initial education courses relevant to its thematic scope and which explore ways of combining knowledge and expertise from the worlds of science and design. It supports institutions through its call for projects and by offering help establishing inter-institutional initiatives. Three types of activity will be supported between now and 2020, from developing new collaborative projects to structuring new courses:

  • Interdisciplinary and inter-institutional modules (focus of the initial call – 2017), with potential for development into new pathways and courses;
  • Cooperative projects within existing pathways, e.g. a teaching unit or a dedicated option for interdisciplinary student projects;
  • Double diplomas and joint awards in innovative thematic areas.

Calls for initial education projects, targeting partner institutions, support these new proposals. In 2017, six short interdisciplinary projects were selected.

Inter-institutional educational activities

In 2016, an “Initial Education” working group was formed under WCI to provide a formal structure for discussion on educational practice. With support from the Centre for Pedagogical Development at the Université de Nantes, representatives from partner institutions meet monthly to work jointly on a shared educational event. Pooling expertise in this way facilitates:

  • Sharing of educational resources to establish inter-institutional educational projects (“hybrid” pathways, joint modules, double diplomas, etc)
  • Discussion on educational practices (pedagogy through projects)
  • Development of student projects with significant scope (creative challenges)

The “innovative educational methods” cycle for 2017-2018 and other ad hoc events illustrate how this shared dynamic works in practice. In a similar spirit, an educational workshop “48 hours to transform pedagogy through design” was held at the Domaine de Roiffé on 10 and 11 November 2017.

The appeal of region-wide education:
Creative Challenges

WCI organises and coordinates an annual creative challenge for students in  Nantes, Angers and Le Mans (from 2018-2019 onwards). This year-long creative marathon gets to the very heart of current scientific and societal challenges such as future industry, energy, tomorrow’s cities, health and well-being, and sustainable urban systems. Every year, a theme is identified in partnership with local stakeholders. The goal of these creative challenges is to showcase and extend the reach of courses in the Loire region by harnessing the expertise of the network’s education stakeholders and inspiring novel collaborations involving the arts, sciences and technology.

Continuing professional development in design

WCI has been tasked with offering continuing professional development courses that foster a creative way of thinking in other departments and industrial sectors. The new “soil-less” Creative School is a good example. A wide range of themes can be addressed here, such as the input of artists in business, innovation through planning workspaces, and third spaces.

Other funding arrangements

To move these plans forward, support to complement WCI’s activities and funding from institutions will be sought from a range of sources, including: Creative Europe projects, Erasmus+, Future Investment Programme, and regional calls for projects.