Europe has set important goals related to the development of clean and sustainable energy technology. One important component of such a programme is innovation leading to more efficient engines for transportation vehicles. EU-funding of the ‘Energy conversion in engines’ (ECO-Engines) project enabled a network to establish the foundations for development of high-efficiency, low-emission and low-noise combustion. The consortium conducted an extensive survey on current state-of-the-art advanced combustion engines. From the results, they made suggestions for best practices regarding standards for efficiently matching fuel type and engine combustion processes. The survey also enabled investigators to identify research topics needed to close knowledge gaps. ECO-Engines further compiled a list of European undergraduate and graduate programmes related to advanced combustion engines including places of study, topics and hours. The list could prove equally important to students seeking higher education in the field as well as to universities wishing to advertise and attract students. The consortium successfully organised and administered the first-ever European summer school on advanced engine combustion. Course materials in the form of slides enable a teacher to set up a related course by tailoring experiments, simulation and engine technology topics to his/her programme. ECO-Engines thus provided important information related to the current state of the art in advanced combustion engines as well as European higher education related to the same. Identification of existing knowledge gaps together with universities where these might be addressed should provide a trigger for new research and technology development.