The Project

Engagement Readiness Monitor: Developing a holistic approach towards measuring and integrating university-business engagement.

Higher Education Institutions have the potential to make more meaningful and tangible contributions to their cities, regions, and nations by calling upon the society, government and businesses to work together. Whether it is in developing the future talent to power our economies, supporting employees career development and life-long learning, offering important discoveries to the local community, or fuelling the societal and entrepreneurial development of a region to name a few. Yet, this potential remains partially unfulfilled by the key “knowledge creators” for the lack of a holistic overarching approach towards integrating engagement in research and educational missions of universities with the efforts being scattered across technology transfer and external engagement offices.

In order to better-align and synergise the approaches towards university-business engagement on the institutional level, we still lack depth and understanding of the means and factors that enable external engagement. Undoubtedly, measurement of university engagement occurs; however, it invariably focusses on quantitative outcome metrics such as patents, license, spin-out and research contracts, ignoring many valid forms of engagement and the mechanisms that need to be in place for it to occur. It is high time that we should stop focussing on the narrowly-defined existing quantitative indicators and ask ourselves the question “What is the real extent to which universities are ready to cooperate and how can we enhance their readiness for a more successful engagement?”

Erasmus+ funded project “Engagement Readiness Monitor” is on the mission to answer the aforementioned question advance the engagement between universities and businesses by developing tools to measure and scale their socially impactful cooperation. Led by University Industry Innovation Network, our international partnership comprising universities, businesses and intermediaries from The Netherlands, France, Finland, Czech Republic and Italy will investigate and enhance the factors which make Higher Education Institutions more likely to engage with companies by developing an Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, Engagement Readiness Self-Assessment Framework and Engagement Readiness Toolkit over the course of 2 years.

Engagement Readiness Monitor challenges

Many European HEIs share a set of challenges that prevent their engagement advancements

  • Engagement is often outsourced to the knowledge/technology transfer offices and HEIs lack a whole-of-institution approach that integrates
  • HEI leaders tacitly acknowledge the need to engage with external actors but often lack a robust, strategic and aligned institutional approach to engagement and towards partnerships
  • HEIs focus on one of very few engagement activities without tools or institutional mechanisms that facilitate their engagement in a wide range of complementary engagement activities
  • Measurement of HEI engagement focuses mostly on quantitative outcome metrics such as patents, licenses, spin-outs and research contracts, ignoring many valid forms of engagement and the mechanisms that need to be in place for engagement to occur.

Engagement Readiness Monitor impacts

HEI managers and engagement professionals: At individual level, HEI managers and engagement professionals will be able to be benefit from the project through getting tangible means for both measuring and scaling readiness of their universities to engage with business in a diverse range of cooperation activities.

HEIs: At institutional level, universities will be able to more effectively embrace their readiness to engage with business. By focusing on a novel and relevant area of university engagement “university engagement readiness”, the project is setting the foundation for preparing “engagement ready” and subsequently “engaged” universities

Businesses: As collaboration partners of universities in the context of university-business cooperation, businesses will be able to enjoy more effective and targeted engagement of their HEI partners. Engagement ready universities will certainly be considered by businesses as more trustful cooperation partners. Such cooperation will be able to produce more outcomes for all parties involved.

Society: Wider society will benefit from HEIs, which will be engagement ready and therefore more effectively cooperate with businesses and local communities in diverse collaborative activities in research, education, valorisation and governance.

Goverments: National governments and the relevant EU bodies will benefit from project’s contribution to the implementation of the Agenda for The Modernisation of Higher Education in terms of “building evidence about what works in higher education (in education, research, innovation and the design of systems)” through assessment tools and development of indicators and “strengthening collaboration between higher education, research and business”