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Universities enhancing their role in regional innovation

17 December 2015

On 24-25 November 2015, the first workshop on “Universities Promoting Regional Innovation across Europe” took place in Madrid, back-to-back with the first meeting of EUA’s Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3).

This was the first in a series of workshops convened jointly by EUA and the national rectors’ conferences, with the aim of supporting institutions in the implementation and follow-up of RIS3 and to coordinate policy input to the European institutions. This workshop was jointly organised by EUA, CRUE (Universidades Españolas, Spain) and CPU (Conférence des présidents d'université, France) and was kindly hosted by the Autonomous University of Madrid. The event brought together more than 100 participants from 12 European countries to discuss universities’ roles in regional policy and in RIS3, as well as the challenges and opportunities related to the strategic role of universities in the implementation of RIS3.

Overall, the discussions in the workshop and in the Expert Group highlighted that universities have become important actors in RIS3, are involved in a variety of local activities and are frequently an integral member of the governance structures at regional level. The universities’ roles are also evolving from more traditional human resources and knowledge generators to being entrepreneurial institutions, engaged with society. Professor Peter Haring-Bolivar, Chair of the Expert Group on RIS3, highlighted that “Universities are a key partner in regional development and innovation. They have the critical role of linking education and research and the human talent they produce is a source of innovation.” However, challenges persist at the institutional and regional levels and assessing the role of universities in RIS3 still faces many methodological and practical shortcomings.

At their first meeting, the RIS3 Expert Group members decided to draw up a statement outlining the main messages from the universities’ perspective on RIS3 and its implementation. The document will be launched in the coming months and will be used as the basis for EUA’s contribution to the framework of the ESIF-SD Expert Group. The next meeting of the EUA Expert Group on RIS3 is foreseen for autumn 2016.

For more information on the workshop:
Video recording of all workshop sessions

The report on the outcomes of the workshop will be available shortly.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96