The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 214, Issue 1, pp 215–243 | Cite as

The FuturICT education accelerator

  • J. Johnson
  • S. Buckingham Shum
  • A. Willis
  • S. Bishop
  • T. Zamenopoulos
  • S. Swithenby
  • R. MacKay
  • Y. Merali
  • A. Lorincz
  • C. Costea
  • P. Bourgine
  • J. Louçã
  • A. Kapenieks
  • P. Kelley
  • S. Caird
  • J. Bromley
  • R. Deakin Crick
  • C. Goldspink
  • P. Collet
  • A. Carbone
  • D. Helbing
Open Access
Regular Article


Education is a major force for economic and social wellbeing. Despite high aspirations, education at all levels can be expensive and ineffective. Three Grand Challenges are identified: (1) enable people to learn orders of magnitude more effectively, (2) enable people to learn at orders of magnitude less cost, and (3) demonstrate success by exemplary interdisciplinary education in complex systems science. A ten year ‘man-on-the-moon’ project is proposed in which FuturICT’s unique combination of Complexity, Social and Computing Sciences could provide an urgently needed transdisciplinary language for making sense of educational systems. In close dialogue with educational theory and practice, and grounded in the emerging data science and learning analytics paradigms, this will translate into practical tools (both analytical and computational) for researchers, practitioners and leaders; generative principles for resilient educational ecosystems; and innovation for radically scalable, yet personalised, learner engagement and assessment. The proposed Education Accelerator will serve as a ‘wind tunnel’ for testing these ideas in the context of real educational programmes, with an international virtual campus delivering complex systems education exploiting the new understanding of complex, social, computationally enhanced organisational structure developed within FuturICT.

Graphical abstract


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Buckingham Shum
    • 3
  • A. Willis
    • 1
  • S. Bishop
    • 4
  • T. Zamenopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Swithenby
    • 5
  • R. MacKay
    • 6
  • Y. Merali
    • 6
    • 2
  • A. Lorincz
    • 7
  • C. Costea
    • 8
    • 2
  • P. Bourgine
    • 9
    • 2
  • J. Louçã
    • 10
    • 2
  • A. Kapenieks
    • 11
  • P. Kelley
    • 12
  • S. Caird
    • 1
  • J. Bromley
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Deakin Crick
    • 13
  • C. Goldspink
    • 14
  • P. Collet
    • 15
    • 2
  • A. Carbone
    • 16
  • D. Helbing
    • 17
  1. 1.Faculty of Mathematics, Computing & TechnologyThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  2. 2.The Complex Systems SocietyParisFrance
  3. 3.Knowledge Media InstituteThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  4. 4.Department of MathematicsUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Faculty of ScienceThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK
  6. 6.EPSRC Complex Systems Doctoral Training CentreUniversity of WarwickWarcickUK
  7. 7.Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapest1053Hungary
  8. 8.ASE Bucharest 6BucharestRomania
  9. 9.École PolytechniqueCREAParisFrance
  10. 10.Faculty of InformaticsLisbon University InstituteLisbonPortugal
  11. 11.Distance Education CentreRiga Technical UniversityRigaLatvia
  12. 12.Science + Technology in LearningWhitley BayUK
  13. 13.Centre for Systems Learning & LeadershipUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  14. 14.Incept LabsSydneyAustralia
  15. 15.Département d’Informatique de l’Université de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  16. 16.Department of PhysicsPolitecnico TorinoTorinoItaly
  17. 17.ETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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