Universities play a central role in the development of Europe’s innovation ecosystems. They are driving innovation through their research activities, playing a crucial role in developing, attracting and retaining human talent, promoting business, and facilitating uptake of new technologies through cooperation with business as well as through start-ups and spin-outs. Their direct and indirect contributions go far beyond marketable products, including innovation that promote sustainability across society.
EUA is working closely with members across Europe to reinforce these roles. The Association is doing this in close consultation with its Innovation Ecosystems Expert Group through activities involving university leaders, regional and national policy makers and other stakeholders interested in innovation.
The Association is also active in advocacy related to universities’ contribution to innovation, arguing for favourable framework conditions: EUA is working to shape strategies for smart specialisation in the context of EU structural funds, and promote the participation in EU innovation funding such as the European Innovation Council and in the Digital Europe Programme. The Association also argues for recognising the role of universities in larger EU policies such as the EU industrial and digital strategies and in relation to the Green Deal.
In 2019, EUA published a major study on the “Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems”. Its main recommendations for actions to improve the effectiveness of European regional research and innovation initiatives are formulated in the EUA policy position on smart specialisation strategies and in the EUA statement on the future of innovation ecosystems.
EUA has launched a survey aiming to develop a broad perspective on universities and innovation and support the identification of new and existing innovation trends in the university sector.Get involved
Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) have been a useful tool in developing innovation ecosystems in many regions in Europe. Smart specialisation is an innovative approach that aims to increase economic growth in Europe, by helping regions to identify and develop their own competitive advantages. Through its bottom-up approach, smart specialisation brings together universities, businesses, public authorities and civil society around various priorities aimed at regional development.
Within the EU Cohesion Policy, smart specialisation is an enabling condition for regions to receive funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds. The purpose of this prerequisite is to allocate funds in more efficient way and to reinforce synergies between different EU, national and regional policies and funds.
EUA is actively involved in promoting the role of universities in the design, implementation and evaluation of RIS3 strategies. The Association gives also crucial importance to the need to achieve greater synergy between the future Horizon Europe programme and the European Structural and Investment Funds to support research and innovation activities. In order to support the active involvement of the university sector in the creation of European innovation ecosystems, EUA set up an Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation.
Facilitating access to knowledge by sharing research results and improving knowledge transfer between research institutions and industry is a key for creation of innovation ecosystems. It was also identified as one of the objectives of the European Research Area.
One of EUA’s main priorities is to find ways to strengthen university cooperation with the business sector. The need to establish a more “trust-based partnership” between universities and businesses is key to turning more research results into goods and services for the benefit of our society.
The next six months will be an important period for policy makers, the university sector and many other stakeholders engaged in Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3).
To maximise the effectiveness of Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) in developing regional innovation ecosystems, it is important to fully capitalise on tangible and intangible assets that universities offer for the benefit of culture, society and the economy of their regions.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) launched the HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education, a new initiative to unlock the full innovation potential of higher education institutions by increasing their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity whilst...view more
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Nearly 450 participants gathered at the EUA Annual Conference on 11-12 April at the Sorbonne University in Paris to discuss how to drive innovation in and through universities across Europe. Delegates from 46 countries came together around four plenaries and seven parallel sessions and explored...view more
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On 1 February, 15 university leaders and managers from 13 European countries gathered at the EUA focus group hosted by Aalborg University in Denmark to discuss the role of universities in innovation ecosystems and exchange views on the findings of a study on the topic soon to be published by...view more
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The European University Association (EUA) welcomes the European Commission Joint Research...read more
EUA welcomes the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s report on “A Regional Innovation Impact: Assessment Framework for universities”. The report provides initial input to the discussion on EU-level regional innovation performance-based funding of universities and a related assessment...view more
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On 7 March 2018, the EUA Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) met in Brussels to discuss recent developments in this policy area. A joint workshop between EUA and Science|Business on the topic of synergies between EU framework and cohesion funding...view more
This document sets out the response of the European University Association (EUA) to the EC public consultation on smart specialisation. EUA has prepared this response in consultation with its Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) and its Research Policy...read more
The European University Association (EUA) appreciates the European Commission’s interest in fostering innovation in Europe and welcomes the discussion on ideas for a European Innovation Council (EIC). EUA believes that a comprehensive strategy for facilitating well-functioning regional,...read more
This report presents the outcomes of the first meeting of EUA’s Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). It specifically makes recommendations for actions relevant to universities and public authorities at regional, national and European levels....read more
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The EUIMA Collaborative Research project used two complementary approaches to collect data on university-business cooperation – in-depth case studies through questionnaires and workshops. The project aimed at identifying main trends and cross-cutting issues in the long-term collaborative...read more
How universities can be part of smart specialisation was the question discussed by participants at a major Commission conference on 20 June 2014. The President of the European University Association (EUA) told over 300 stakeholders that it was the first time universities had been addressed jointly...read more
On 21 and 22 February 2013 at the premises of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), in Seville (Spain) a group of experts from regions and universities with experience of cooperation in research and innovation debated...read more
This Handbook describes a voluntary programme of Responsible Partnering aimed at improving strategic collaboration and knowledge exchange between companies and publicly-funded research organizations (for convenience, referred to as PROs), including Universities, Research and...read more
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EUA offered a webinar on universities and the European Innovation Council (EIC). The webinar gave an introduction to the purposes and function of the EIC in...Read more
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