Universities as motors of innovation in Central and Eastern Europe

The Workshop on “Universities as motors of innovation in Central and Eastern Europe” was the second in a series of workshops jointly organised by National Rectors’ Conferences and the European University Association (EUA) on the thematic area of Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies.

This workshop aimed to bring together experts, case studies and good practice examples of universities’ role in regional policy and in smart specialisation strategies, from different European regions. The workshop also served as a platform for sharing experiences, challenges and opportunities related to the strategic role of universities in the implementation of Smart Specialisation across Europe. This workshop was addressed to university leaders (e.g. rectors, vice-rectors, heads of administration), regional and national policy-makers and other stakeholders interested in regional innovation.

  • Thursday 13 October

    9.30 - 10.30

    Jan Stanilko, Deputy Director of Innovation Department, Ministry of Economic Development, Poland
    “What kind of Academia smart specializations / innovation ecosystems need?”

    Ciaran Dearle, Senior Expert: Team Leader for Cohesion Policy interactions with Research and Innovation Policy, Unit B.5 ‘Spreading of excellence and widening participation’, DG RTD, European Commission
    “Smart Specialisation from the perspective of Horizon 2020”

    Andrea Conte, Team Leader: Stairway to Excellence, Unit B.3 ‘Knowledge for Growth’, JRC IPTS, European Commission
    “Smart Specialization in Central and Eastern Europe. The Stairway to Excellence and the Role of Universities in fostering innovation”

    Chair: Prof Marcin Pałys

    11:00 - 13:00
    Topic 1: Specific challenges for innovation in Central and Eastern Europe

    Prof Volli Kalm, Rector of the University of Tartu, Estonia; EUA Expert Group on RIS3
    “Building an entrepreneurial university: A case study from the University of Tartu”

    Prof Maciej Chorowski, Director of The National Centre for Research and Development, Poland
    “The National Centre for Research and Development (NCRD) – Polish road to innovation”

    Prof Maciej Zylicz, President of the Foundation for Polish Science
    “Specific challenges for innovation in Central and Eastern Europe. The Foundation for Polish Science perspective.”

    Discussions on this topic will focus on how different countries in Central and Eastern Europe are using Smart Specialisation to promote regional innovation; on specific barriers and drivers of RIS3 in Central and Eastern Europe; and on the role of universities in the design and implementation of Smart Specialisations in these European regions.

    Chair: Dr Lidia Borrell-Damian

    14.00 - 16.00
    Topic 2: Strategic participation of universities in implementing innovation strategies

    Prof Stanislav Kmet, Rector of the Technical University of Košice; Slovakia
    “Strategic roles of the Technical University of Košice in the implementation of regional innovation ecosystem”

    Prof Anton Anton, Technical University of Civil Engineering of Bucharest; Romania; Member of the EUA Expert Group on RIS3
    “Romanian R&D and Innovation strategy through the eyes of a Technical University”

    Prof Martin Bare, Vice-rector for academic affairs, Masaryk University
    Petr Chladek, South Moravian Innovation Center, Czech Republic
    “Masaryk University and South Moravian region: mutual cooperation as the key for innovations”

    Discussions on this topic will focus on how universities engage with local, regional and national stakeholders to implement Smart Specialisation; and on the challenges and opportunities universities face when adapting their educational, research and innovation activities to RIS3 priorities.

    Chair: Prof Ray ONeill

    16.15 - 18.15
    Topic 3: Cooperation across Europe – myth or reality?

    Peter Riedler, Vice-Rector for Financial Affairs, Resources and Location Development, University of Graz; Austria
    “Cross border cooperation in Southeast Europe and the Role of the University of Graz”

    Olivier Kuttel, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
    “Get talents back – A tenure track programme for Croatia”

    Tomasz Ciach, Warsaw University of Technology, founder of NanoThea
    “Transfer of innovations from universities to industry”

    Discussions on this topic will focus on the topic of collaboration between universities and other stakeholders across different European regions; on the synergetic use of different EU funding programmes and on how universities can better leverage these resources.

    Chair: Prof Peter Haring Bolívar

    18.15 - 18.30
    Conclusions and final remarks Concluding speech (local authority/university representative)

    Concluding speech (local authority/Lidia Borrell-Damian


  • Friday 14 October

    9.00 - 10.15
    Keynote presentation

    by Mr Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions

    EU Policies: Regional Innovation Ecosystems in Implementing Smart Specialisation (RIS3)

    Welcome by Professor Marcin Pałys, Rector of the University of Warsaw

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