Makers are being courted by institutions in Europe and the United States. January 1, 2017 marked the launch of a three-year €984,865 program financed by the European Commission (EC) to promote exchange between industry players, universities and maker communities to develop open fabrication and design. Coordinated by the University of Florence, Italy, for Erasmus+, the program is expected to create “a framework for generating knowledge” and its transfer among the three poles, according to the EC website.
The program will be rolled out in three phases:
– Researching fablabs to determine skills and learning processes;
– Participants co-designing the program to include a virtual meeting space, a prototype for learning and a methodology;
– Pilot program in participating countries.
Six countries are participating in this Erasmus+ project: UK, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and even China, through the prestigious Tongji University in Shanghai.
The U.S. is looking more toward virtual reality. In November 2016, its Department of Education launched the EdSim Challenge, a call for projects that are both immersive and educational. $680,000 will be shared among five finalists ($50,000) and a grand prizewinner ($430,000), who will be announced in summer 2017. Other prizes will also be awarded by sponsors IBM, Microsoft and Samsung, according to the White House website.