(Dimension 1) Internal awareness of practices, barriers, drivers and assets

This dimension refers to an institution’s staff awareness and knowledge with regards to the current state of external engagement activities, resources and support available at the institution, drivers and barriers affecting external engagement. If you wish to learn more about the engagement readiness concept and its dimensions, you can download the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report.

On this page you will find a set of tools for improvement of an HEI’s engagement readiness in terms of internal awareness of practices, barriers, drivers and assets. If you have already completed your self-assessment you might have been directed towards specific tools from the set. You can also browse through the tools without participating in the self-assessment, but we strongly recommend the online self-assessment tool for building a tailored roadmap to engagement readiness, as well as specific recommendations for relevant tools.

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the state of ubc in Europe report cover

This report presents the findings of the project ‘The State of University-Business Cooperation in Europe’. The project has been conducted during 2016 and 2017 by a consortium led by the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre, Germany for the DG Education and Culture, European Commission.

The aim of the project was to get a more profound, comprehensive and up to date understanding of the state of University-Business Cooperation (UBC) in Europe, from the perspective of both the higher education institutions (HEIs) and the business sector. The report uses the structure of the UBC ecosystem framework that has been developed by the authors. Throughout the different sections, it outlines 14 different UBC activities (across education, research, valorisation and management), the factors that influence UBC, mechanisms that support UBC, and the individual/institutional/regional context around UBC.

The main components of the project were a series of expert interviews with 23 recognised UBC experts, 52 good practise case studies, a major policy and indicator review as well as a major quantitative survey of 17,410 stakeholders within both HEIs and business.

Link to webpage: https://www.ub-cooperation.eu/index/reports

Link to full file: https://www.ub-cooperation.eu/pdf/final_report2017.pdf

To read more about the UBC Ecosystem Framework specifically, see the publication:
Galan-Muros, V.; Davey, T. (2017) The UBC Ecosystem: Putting together a comprehensive framework for university-business cooperation. Journal of Technology Transfer. DOI: 10.1007/s10961-017-9562-3.

An important element in building a partnership, is the ability to clearly communicate values and capacities of our organization and indicate how these match with potential partners and in project proposals. Check out the blog article ”Are we communicating or making noice?”. It author Margherita Trestini, Head of Media from Matel Innovate, is an international marketing & communication and business development expert with 20 years of experience. Martel Innovate is a dynamic digital innovation agency with offices in Switzerland and in the Netherlands.

Link to the blog article: https://www.martel-innovate.com/margherita-trestini/2020/06/15/are-we-communicating-or-making-noise/  

The Interreg Europe through its Policy Learning Platform offered this 3-hour workshop in March 2021 which included panel discussion, practice presentation, and group work for pitch presentation by universities (public laboratories, research institutes etc.) and industry (private companies).

On the workshop page, below the video, you can find the detailed overview of agenda and speakers. Check out the recording from 06:36 to 25:54 to listen the keynote speech given by Victoria Galán-Muros, CEO of Innovative Futures Institute, on how to promote university-industry collaboration. Another really interesting section, from 01:02:49 to 01:19:54, is Susana Cámara Decimavilla’s presentation on University-Business Knowledge Transfer Plan for a project in the Spanish region of Castilla y León (P-IRIS project). From the same page you can access their presentations as well.

The video is 1:39:25 long and contains on-off automatic captions in English. 

If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVEturLa-lQ

Link to the workshop page (including presentations): https://www.interregeurope.eu/find-policy-solutions/workshop/e-workshop-recording-university-industry-collaboration

Silvia Vecchi photo.

To improve the engagement readiness, first there should be awareness of the ongoing engagement activities, the resources available, as well as the engagement barriers and drivers.  

As a part of the expert interviews conducted for the purposes of the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report University of Bologna interviewed Silvia Vecchi is the University-Business Collaboration Office head at the University of Bologna’s Research and Third Mission division. She promotes university-industry relations to enhance and diversify collaborations, improving their quality and quantity through a multidisciplinary approach. Furthermore, she cooperated with the European Commission as an independent expert for evaluating research and innovation projects on different subjects (energy efficiency, ambient assisted living) involving research institutions, companies, and SMEs. 

Read the interview in which Silvia Vecchi describes the ways of collaboration at University of Bologna. 

What do the engagement activities of your higher education institution consist of? 

Link to the full text of the interview: https://engagementready.eu/2021/11/01/voices-from-experts-silvia-vecchi/ 

Link to the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report: https://engagementready.eu/engagement-readiness-investigation-report/  

Ask about: content of studies, learning environments, internship, career counceling, working life connections, thesis.

Students are a unique resource that only HEIs possess, and in many ways, they function as an interface of university-business collaboration. But do we know enough about how and where they interact with the industry, how much they benefit from this and what is the benefit for the HEI in terms of engagement readiness? Student feedback could be used both for increasing the awareness of ongoing engagement activities and for mapping of educational assets by staff.  

Read the section ”Student Feedback as an Indicator of Engagement” from the blog article Measuring the Engagement of Higher Education Institutions in Finland to find out how in Finnish higher education students’ feedback is used to measure engagement. 

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement readiness quick tip: It is important for a university to clearly identify its strengths and weaknesses, as well as its assets and possibilities that can be used for engagement. Going further, for collaboration and cooperation to be successful in both cases, it is critically important for universities and their external partners to clearly identify their needs, their possibilities, their objectives, their assets, and the roles of each party.

HEInnovate is a self-reflection tool for Higher Education Institutions who wish to explore their innovative potential. It guides you through a process of identification, prioritisation and action planning in eight key areas. The self-assessment is available in all EU languages.

HEInnovate is not a benchmarking tool. It diagnoses areas of strengths and weaknesses, opens up discussion and debate on the entrepreneurial / innovative nature of your institution and it allows you to compare and contrast evolution over time. You can have instant access to your results, learning materials and a pool of experts. HEInnovate can be used by all types of higher education institutions.

HEInnovate is an initiative of the European Commission in partnership with the OECD. It is free, confidential and open to anyone to use.

Being an entrepreneurial higher education institution depends upon individuals, and innovative ways of doing things.

Link to the platform: https://www.heinnovate.eu/en

Engagement readiness quick tip: Trust-based relationships, transparent communication of expectations and a mutual benefit projects between University and Industry stakeholders are vital to extend single projects into long-term collaborations and exchanges.

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

The European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) provides a programme in forms of a challenge designed for students from 12 ECIU member universities that are located in 12 different European countries. It aims to offer training to students and guides them to engage with business companies or societal partners so as to solve a real-life challenge together.

‍Challenges are courses that engage diverse teams to solve real-life problems using a novel and practical method of challenge-based learning (CBL). Business and public partners provide real-life problems and are involved in the learning process. Themes circle around UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 Sustainable cities and communities.

‍Micro-modules support learners and help them fill the knowledge gaps, for example, widen their knowledge on strategic planning or sustainable development. Part of micro-modules also help foster entrepreneurial, inter-cultural communication, foreign language and other skills.

Link to the platform: https://www.eciu.org/for-learners/about#take-part

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement readiness quick tip: The persnal networks of academics are a primary motor for initiating collaboration with businesses and other external actors, especially when the university does not have a well-developed infrastructure for cooperation, such as a knowledge transfer office or a liaison dedicated to building relationships with external actors.

The Engagement Readiness Toolkit offers you quick tips for improving your organization’s engagement readiness level. If you don’t have the time to go through any other material, you can at least take this syntesized piece of advice with you through the day and reflect on it in your work. 

This one, as all suggested quick tips, is based on the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report, available for download on the Engagement Readiness Monitor website. 

Engagement Readiness quick tip: Trust is a crucial factor for successful engagement, the development of a project and carrying it forward. The development of trust is encouraged by the development of common operating principles and common ontologies between an HEI and its business and societal partbers.

Community engagement professionals experience numerous barriers even though community engagement is the third mission of the university alongside first, teaching and learning, and second, research. Community engagement professionals often refer to community engagement as the “stepchild” of higher education. Yet there are also inter-related successful drivers. This article identifies the barrier–driver duality and makes a case for their systemic interconnectedness, an area that has thus far been underexplored. A prominent barrier for community engagement professionals is that there is a lack of substantive conceptualisation of community engagement, intensified by the contradictory placing of community engagement within community and university structures. Interconnected to such barriers, prominent drivers demonstrate the value of scholarly, reflective practice and to enhance the leadership role of the South African Higher Education Community Engagement Forum, inclusive of the views of pertinent members such as academic leaders, students and communities.

Link to website: https://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/sajhe/article/view/4116

The European Commission and OECD support HEIs through these workshops to assess their current situation and identify potential areas for action for entrepreneurial and innovative HEIs. On the website there is a detailed Manual and Guides how these workshops can be organized and structured. Workshops are designed to gather stakeholders, academics, and managers from one educational institution to assess thoroughly their level of engagement/collaboration readiness. Good start is to review the Manual and the Digital Resources where you can access videos and interviews which describe how higher education institutions implemented HEInnovate and the changes it has brought.

Link to the resource page: https://heinnovate.eu/en/training-materials

ASTP is Europe’s non-profit association of knowledge transfer professionals. Through their website they offer professional accreditation, professional development and other services to their members. They also provide an extensive number of toolkits in the Toolbox and Training materials for their members only. Through joining such networks, one can significantly improve its learning scope in the field. Particularly useful tools for Engagement Readiness of the ASTP are:

  • Horizon Europe Networking Platforms
  • Grants and Collaborations-contributions from third parties
  • the ResearchInno database
  • Research and Development Collaborations training

Link to the platform: https://www.astp4kt.eu/resources/toolbox

The University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) is a US-based organization where representatives from top-tier innovation companies and world-class research universities meet and commit to active participation in pursuit of excellence in university-industry collaboration and partnership. It offers interesting webinars. A great example is “Robust Collaborations: Insights for Researchers”, a 10-part webinar series with foundational training for researchers in university and industry settings for success in university-industry collaboration.

Link to the UIDP website: https://uidp.org/

In order to engage, HEIs need to understand the needs of local businesses. There are many ways to open the dialogue and take the first steps in co-operation. It is also crucial to listen and hear the feedback from the entrepreneurs. What do they wish from the co-operation and how to improve the engagement process. 

 In the following video, Jamk University of Applied Science’s project manager Inkeri Taurula interviews entrepreneur Paulus Salo about how the co-operation with Jamk and Salo started and how does Salo see the co-operation. One hears the entrepreneur’s point of view on HEI’s engagement readiness. The video is a case example how a HEI can engage with a local company. 

 Topics discussed in the video include:  

  • How did the co-operation start? 
  • What could a HEI do more to engage with local companies? 
  • What is the main asset of HEI for engagement with local companies? 

The video is 3:35 min long and contains on-off captions in English.

 

Currently, there are different types of University Research Centres (URCs) around the world. This research is focused on organizational structure and its influence on better research performance in URCs. In this case, URCs located in Aragon, Spain have been studied. A data set was extracted from their STI (Science, technology and innovation) indicators from 2000 to 2016. Using a self-built data base, constructed from reports, web pages and the university’s data set, this information was analysed using a mixed-method approach, which involves data panel analysis and case studies, as a way of determining how these institutions are organized and how these influences on their performance. As a result, those URCs which showed a complex structure emerged has the best performers. This kind of structure similar to corporate governance at URCs promote better research performance within each URC. 

 Reference: Torres Zapata, Isabel. (2019). University Research Centres: Organizational Structures and Performance. Journal of technology management & innovation, 14(3), 23-43. 

Link to the full article: http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-27242019000300023

Through an annual conference and a range of workshops around UBC, UIIN brings together an extensive number of HEI and business representatives together for learning and matching sessions.

The following video presents a discussion about UIIN 2022 Conference. The video is 4:33 minutes long and contains captions in English.

If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZBKfbKAquY

The following video, ”Industry Talks: Establishing Common Goals”, is from the UIIN Conference 2019. The video is 2:06 minutes long and contains automatic captions in English.

If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQCBQtL0BeA

Link to UIIN’s even page: https://uiin.org/webinarsworkshops/

Provided by the Institute for Management Development (IMD), this eight-week digital program begins with a deep dive into the fundamental building blocks of leveraging successful strategic partnerships for competitive advantage and continues later on with application of frameworks for a specific strategic partnership challenge.

The following video by IMD Online presents the topic of ”Successful negotiation checklist”. It is 2:28 minutes long and contains automatic on-off captions in English.

If the video doesn’t display right, you can also watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQsvRBfm1U8

University research offices today must address unpredictable funding shifts, complex regulations, and increased competition from other schools for grant funding. These challenges expand and diversify the scope of a research office’s work. To tackle these diverse challenges and improve university research functionality, leaders often look to optimize the organizational structure of their office. A smart organizational structure will help offices streamline processes, improve communication, and designate activity ownership. This blog introduces parameters of research office management in the United States.The article attempts to present the different constellations of a possible research management setup.  

Link to website: https://eab.com/insights/expert-insight/university-research/unpacking-university-research-office-structures/