Arete case study

ARETE (Augmented Reality Interactive Educational System) is a Horizon 2020 project led by Dr. Eleni Mangina, Associate Professor from University College Dublin, with participation of 10 partners from 7 member states: Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the UK. The project aims to develop and build a pan-European educational ecosystem that will provide Augmented Reality (AR) learning content to a wide audience. The project involves business and academia working together to develop a user-friendly innovative solution for teaching both literacy and STEM subjects.

Key Takeouts

  • Support from the National Contact Point in Enterprise Ireland helped Eleni to prepare a winning proposal for Horizon 2020 funding.
  • The funding has allowed participants to promote their solution to a European market.
  • Being a part of a European project gives you a chance to develop new connections.

Case Study: Project ARETE

Background

“I have been working on ARETE project vision for the last 5 years” – Eleni Mangina, coordinator of ARETE project

As a forerunner, Eleni has also coordinated a pilot project called AHA which received funding from the European Commission to develop technologies and tools for children and young people with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This 2-year project will finish on 31st October 2019 and lasted for 2 years producing evidence-based results that Augmented Reality applications can have a positive impact on the students diagnosed with ADHD. Project ARETE will continue to develop AR material and create new platforms to help students learn STEM and Literacy subjects using new AR technology.

Why H2020?

“My vision was to promote the solution to a European market” – Eleni

After successful coordination of the pilot study in Ireland, the project had to be brought to a broader market to assess the impact of the emerging technologies in education in different domains. Horizon 2020 was the logical next step because it is the EU’s main instrument for funding innovative research and development. The ARETE vision required funding to support world class research in science and education and at the same time make it easier for the public and private sectors to disrupt innovation in educational systems.

In preparation for the submission of the proposal, Eleni applied for a Coordination Support grant from Enterprise Ireland. This support allowed Eleni to travel to Europe to meet her partners; enabled the engagement of professional services to support the preparation of the proposal and also allowed the employment of a research assistant to work on the proposal. This made the whole process a lot easier.

“In my opinion the communication with the National Contact Point, who was available to discuss any query I had during the proposal preparation phase and his advice made a huge contribution to the successful outcome” – Eleni

Challenges

It was my third effort as a proposal coordinator for H2020. I knew that based on facts and figures the competition was much higher than national funding competitions. At the time an average success rate was 11.94% across H2020 and the specific ICT call success rates was even lower. Still, I believe if you have a well justified vision the low success rate should not be considered a challenge, but an opportunity to prove that your idea can be distinguished.

Have strength to persevere. After receiving an unsuccessful result, get back on the horse quickly with grit and analyse what went wrong and learn from the previous submissions.

Being a coordinator is a challenge in itself, time management is crucial due to the high workload. Choosing the right consortium partners is the key for a good start of the proposal. Meeting them face to face and finalising the consortium as early as 8 to 10 months prior to submission with pre-allocated “work package” leaders will help to create a collaborative environment.

“I believe if you have a well justified vision the low success rate should not be considered a challenge, but an opportunity to prove that your idea can be distinguished.”

“It is not an easy process, but it is a very interesting and rewarding one if you believe in your vision” – Eleni

Experience

WordsWorth Learning Ltd. is an Irish partner in the ARETE project and will deliver a solution for remediating literacy problems by incorporating augmented reality into their programme and launching it as an APP on both the iOS and Android platforms.

“We were awarded High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) status by Enterprise Ireland, availed of an EI Feasibility Study Grant and developed a small working prototype for our educational product. However, this coincided with the start of last ‘financial downturn’ which seriously affected access to funding, and our research indicated that there was little appetite for ‘disruptive innovations’ in the education sector at that time. For these reasons we decided to withdraw from the HPSU process and set about developing ‘in-house’ a working prototype called WordsWorthLearning© (WWL)” – says David Ross, CEO of Words Worth Learning Ltd.

WWL worked on developing a web-based application, a digital version of their original paper-based clinical programme from 2010 till 2012. It was introduced in a Flipped Classroom Pilot project in 2015, where the teacher sets tutorials (lessons) and exercises to be done online at home and the homework – in the class next day. In 2016 Eleni attended a WWL presentation at a Parents Night in St.Brigid’s N.S., and it was then that she shared her AHA pilot project idea, and the prospect of introducing augmented reality to the WWL project.

“We were involved from the start and consider it fortunate that the AHA Project Coordinator and the UCD team provided an interface to the European Commission. We discovered that it is a thorough and exacting administrative process, but the experience and benefits we have gained from the AHA Project has enabled us to design, create and implement state-of-the-art AR technology into our WordsWorthLearning© programme. “ – says David.

“We now have a richer product for schools and parents to help students that struggle with reading and spelling and hopefully improve their prospects for the future.” – says WWL, and with this first Horizon 2020 Project funding they are very pleased to be a part of a much bigger project and working on a European scale. The funding will enable this Irish-led project to enhance European leadership in the burgeoning digital education market.

Being a coordinator is a challenge in itself, time management is crucial due to the high workload. Choosing the right consortium partners is the key for a good start of the proposal. Meeting them face to face and finalising the consortium as early as 8 to 10 months prior to submission with pre-allocated “work package” leaders will help to create a collaborative environment.

“I believe if you have a well justified vision the low success rate should not be considered a challenge, but an opportunity to prove that your idea can be distinguished.”

Benefit

“The project has not started yet and I have already met a lot of interesting people” – Darya Yegorina, CEO and Founder of CleverBooks

Another partner is the Irish company CleverBooks. They will deliver educational STEM content via Augmented Reality for 10 schools in 10 different countries and will assess the impact of the new tool after implementation. The goal is to have interactive and engaging educational material to support teaching and learning in primary schools. They aim is to create personalized learning and collaborative experiences in the piloting schools.

“The experience was new and interesting. One of the main challenges was to get the description of what we plan to do in the right format. It was the first time for us to apply for Horizon 2020 and putting all the ideas together is a challenge in its own. UCD was very helpful with that; they have massive experience in similar projects. I have learned that having a very good team and a project coordinator can bring the application to success. The project has not started yet and I have already met a lot of interesting people. I believe that in the course of the project more interesting connections within business and academia will be developed.” – says Darya.

For Clever Books it was the first participation in Horizon2020 and for them “it is a big step towards a dream”.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever. Almost €80 billion of funding is available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private and national public investment that this money will attract. Horizon 2020 will help to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science and technology, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering solutions to big challenges facing our society

 

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