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VIBE - Biomedical and STEM/STEAM Education

Project ID
Project title

Virtual Biomedical and STEM/STEAM Education

Project manager, contact details
Krisztina Fertői-Héra,
Academic supervisor, contact details
Péter Maróti Dr.,
Total project budget
298.841 EUR
Total budget of UP
87.676 EUR
Project start date
Project end date
University of Pecs (HU)

Partner Organisations
Universidade do Porto (PT), Politechnika Śląska (PL), DEX Innovation Centre (CZ)
General description


In the XXI. century, the rapid development of IT based solutions are reshaping our world in our social life, work environment and education. The digital transformation has been especially apparent over the last decade and restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have significantly accelerated this process. Well-established digital competences to a satisfactory level are very important to broad range of social groups of different ages. In the field of higher education, e-learning methods can provide an effective, standardized and relatively easy-to-share solution for teachers to share knowledge and provide tools for co-creation and collaboration. Digital education tools are also important for engaging younger generations in higher education, and can serve as a means of communication with citizens and the wider community. Medical and STEM education is essential for the continuous progress of our society through greater innovation, research and science activity, and the development of regional, national and international healthcare systems.

The lack of medical professionals and healthcare providers is a national and international phenomenon. STEM skills combined with medical training results in the concept and professional field of “biomedical engineering” that generates solutions for multidisciplinary medical issues. Biomedical engineering represents one of the most rapidly growing branches of industry in the developed world and aims to provide revolutionary and innovative healthcare professionals that operate beyond the bounds of classical treatment. These specialists use their expertise to develop novel technical solutions, for example, using robotics in medicine.

The demand for IT specialists, engineers and natural scientists is only partly covered by graduates from universities. International trends and the experience of our Consortium show that there is a huge demand for skilled and highly motivated professionals in these sectors. VR (virtual reality) technology has been found to be a highly effective, reliable and interactive method for a wide range of education. VR technology offers a unique and modular training environment for both commonplace and specialised situations. It allows participants to gain practical skills in a safe, replicable setting, supporting functional competence to an advanced level. However, there are several challenges regarding this immersive and innovative e-learning tool, VR based platforms are not readily accessible, potential users do not have the proper knowledge and information about the technology, and in most cases, the stakeholders do not have the necessary digital competencies to successfully implement VR technology in everyday teaching.

Preliminary needs analyses show that PhD courses, joint degree programs and part-time education programs have not yet been developed in VR spaces before, despite the large number of students involved in this sector. Distance education methods can be used not only in teaching theory, but can also be useful in developing practical skills in a noninvasive environment. It is also important that in practice-orientated education of medical and STEM science, an innovative, reliable, and accessible tool is needed to enhance interdisciplinary project work, which is especially important in the field of biomedical engineering. Based on previous collaboration of the Consortium Partners, the needs are clearly defined in terms of digital transformation, they are committed towards reshaping online and distance education using innovative technologies and good practice guideline of the proposed V.I.B.E. project, involving the target groups and wider public.


The goal of the V.I.B.E. project is to develop and strengthen the digital competencies and educational cooperation of the participating organisations, as well as to share the knowledge and good practice guidelines with the wider community.

The stakeholders include young people interested in medical and STEM higher education, university students and staff,

and citizens who are interested in this field . By implementing the project, we aim to attract and retain students and encourage them towards ongoing, life-long education with practice oriented tuition. Along with the Consortium members, we believe that VR technology is a compelling and powerful e-learning method. It is interactive, easy to standardize and has innovative features that can be easily adapted and implemented in virtual platforms. When preparing future biomedical engineers, VR technology lets us to create dynamic clinical environments and allows a more authentic approach for continuous improvement and problem-based teaching. Based on the detailed needs analysis, we aim to thoroughly explore the possibilities that VR platforms can provide and critically evaluate available solutions.

The criterion for the evaluation includes the following: accessibility, availability, adaptability and sustainability. Standardization, the possibility for continuous feedback, and analysing data are key elements in the project. All results and conclusions will be disseminated on a scientific and public basis. Building on data and previous experience gained by our institutions, our aim is to establish VR based BSc and MSc training, as well as a joint degree program in collaboration with our partners. PhD courses and part-time courses will be organized for lifelong learning, along with sustainability and continuous improvement of the project. The Consortium would like to gain a deeper knowledge about digital and VR based online learning platforms, and share this knowledge, not only with the participants, but with the wider population as well. In addition to benchmarking and evaluation of different IT solutions, getting experience about virtual learning and course development is among the main goals of the project. The possibility of co-creation and collaboration using VR tools is especially important in STEM and medical education, therefore exploring the process of online, VR based project work will also be examined.

As a result, we expect an increased level of digital competencies in the participating higher education institutes, a growing number of students interested in applying to the STEM and medical fields, including a major increase in female professionals and candidates from rural areas. The Consortium believes that the results of the project will create a new, immersive and inclusive digital environment for all stakeholders.


By implementing the project, the first step will be a detailed analysis regarding digital competences and preferences for the participants of the Consortium. Surveys will be conducted among the faculty staff and students, using the IKANOS platform. The next step, a detailed, and critical benchmarking activity, will be started, involving not only professionals from the academic field, but with the help of companies and industrial partners. Knowledge transfer and collective learning will be ensured by online and personal meetings (when possible due to the pandemic). After evaluating existing online VR educational and co-working platforms, experience gained will be shared with the wider public, using online communication and virtual presentation tools.

All the materials must be clear and available on multiple online platforms to ensure the engagement of the citizens and allow them to understand the basic concepts of digital worlds and virtual reality. Based on the requirements and results of market analysis, an innovative VR platform will be implemented at the participating organisations. This platform will be tailored to create a valuable tool for course-development, project management, curriculum development and enhancing marketing activities. A pilot program in Biomedical Engineering BSc will be developed, which will be based on the knowledge transfer and examples of good practice learned within the Consortium. Innovative, practice orientated distance education protocols will be evaluated, for example, laboratory practices or to provide hands-on practice in skills like basic surgical techniques online. These activities correspond with previous studies and projects from the participants.

The optimal VR platform needs to also support course development, therefore a successful interdisciplinary course that already exists, will be modified for the virtual world (for example, Innovations in Healthcare Technology at the UP). Within the course, co-creation and virtual collaboration will be key elements where the VR platform will be tested as a project management and support tool. All activities and the number of attendees on the virtual platform can be continuously monitored. According to the preliminary findings, at the moment there are no digital or VR platforms for those who are willing to learn on a part-time basis. V.I.B.E. aims to fill this gap, opening new horizons in education for part-time learners, upskilling within companies, retraining or group building activities. This provides an innovative solution for life-long learning. To ensure the continuous and effective sharing of good practices, workshops and study visits are planned, both online and, when possible, in person.

The outputs of eachmilestones will be widely publicised, and during the final phase, a public online virtual event will be held to demonstrate the possibilities of VR technologies and enhance digital transformation at the international level.


As results and outcomes, a significant increase in the level of digital competencies and knowledge about virtual reality based online learning for all participants at the regional and international level is expected. The aim is to establish a system which is sustainable and supports STEM skill implementation with biomedical education based on VR platforms.

The effectiveness of the V.I.B.E. project on education will be measured by the number of attendees, which will be monitored, as will the involvement of faculty staff and high school students at virtual and personal events. An important priority is to achieve a significant increase in female participants and applicants from rural areas for each of the developed training programs. Continuous monitoring will be provided using the corresponding online tools. The results of the benchmarking activities related to VR and digital based e-learning platforms will be available to all stakeholders and the wider population as well. The results will also be accompanied by a handbook on VR technologies. To gain experience in terms of course development, four courses will be transformed on to the Massive Open Online platform, three in medical and STEM education, and an additional PhD course in biomedical engineering. The Consortium will take part in international Higher Education Hubs, with the members joining at least one hub to ensure further international collaboration.

A completely new curriculum (Biomedical Engineering BSc) will be developed using the VR platform as a co-creation and collaboration tool. The implementation of this system allows us to use VR as a tool for project management and project support, meaning that the development and trial at least three different projects using the platform is possible. At the Consortium level, the protocol of one hands-on laboratory skill development and another practical, simulation course protocol will be developed. The final content for the VR platform will target part time learners, developing an online course in 3D visualization and printing techniques. Based on the detailed needs analysis performed in the first year, a novel STEM skills VR based training platform will be developed to overcome current shortcomings in the biomedical field. The course materials will be publicly available and disseminated to encourage increased participation. The project will be freely accessible and continuously updated based on feedback received to enable constantly up-to-date training materials.

The documents and results will be available through commonly used media platforms. To accomplish long-term sustainability and international growth of the V.I.B.E. project, an international joint degree program will be developed by the Consortium and Partners. As a result of the cooperation and development of V.I.B.E., a user manual will be prepared based on the data gained with guidelines to ensure good practice. Through the user manual, developed graduate and postgraduate courses, and joint degree program, V.I.B.E. will establish an international cooperation network to sustain the Project beyond the scope of EU funding. All the findings and conclusions will be constantly disseminated online and at relevant public and professional events. During the project, accessibility is a key factor, therefore to effectively share information inside and outside the consortium, instructional videos will be created.

The results will be critically and scientifically evaluated, allowing the consortium to publish a high-quality, internationally peer-reviewed paper based on this work.

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