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University of Bologna: Dedicated to entrepreneurship and UBC 

The Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in Western Europe. Nowadays, we still remain one of the most important higher education institutions across Europe and a leading research institution, well known for academic engagement, third mission and university-industry collaboration.

The University, with regard to this project, ranks among the first in Italy in terms of academic engagement and knowledge transfer, since the establishment in the late 1990s of a dedicated office, the Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO). The University widened its span of activities since 2015, thanks to the push of a new Rector and his appointment of a Deputy Rector dedicated to entrepreneurship and relations with companies, and the creation of new organization units, one dedicated to new venture creation and the other to university-industry collaboration. In particular, the following actions are addressed: university-industry collaboration and promoting technology transfer and knowledge via a portfolio of activities in collaboration with industries (including research, traditional education, corporate education, placement, corporate social responsibility and entrepreneurship). Furthermore, the University is part of the rich research and innovation system of the Emilia-Romagna Region, including six universities, together with branches of the major national research institutes (CNR, ENEA and INFN). Taken together they represent the public contribution to the Regional high-tech research and innovation network, developed during the last twenty years through different Regional policies and with the direct participation of all universities and research institutions, together with several private stakeholders.

The University of Bologna is committed to the values of sustainability, in terms of enhancing and safeguarding the territory, improving community wellbeing, promoting a knowledge-based development economy, social equity, and the ability of those involved to work effectively together for the common good. Faithful to its mission, and thanks to a history that has consolidated over time, the Alma Mater Studiorum is fully aware that its activities can produce significant impact, both direct and indirect, on the community and on the region. Therefore, it continues to invest in the quality of training and research, related to the needs of society, as well as in a valuable organizational, institutional and multicampus structure, allowing its members to operate over a vast territory.

The participation at the Engagement Readiness Monitor project is part of these efforts to pursue sustainability and collaboration between the university and territory. Indeed, we believe that to be effective with industry engagement, it is essential to create institutional conditions, a framework providing (on the one hand) directions to individuals willing to be involved and (on the other hand) maximising interrelations across several activities and managing them in a central, coordinated way.

We aim to better understand how we are positioned vis-à-vis other leading institutions in Europe. We believe these metrics could be very important for a proper assessment of universities’ ability to attract additional funding, both from the private context and from the public government (part of the public funding, at least in Italy, will be based on universities’ third mission engagement). Moreover, a strong emphasis is put on the need to consolidate the dense network of relationship with universities all over the world, but also to become a greater laboratory of ideas to be made available to and to be exchanged with the subjects acting on the local territory, including industry, business and cultural investment.

 

Header image created by UIIN, background photo by @sterlinglanier on Unsplash, logo by UNIBO

 

Blog editors: Alexandra Zinovyeva (UIIN) and Fleur Schellekens (UIIN)

 

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