Enhancing Staff Research and Innovation Capacity in Professional Higher Education
Project Start and End Dates; 01.09.2019 – 31.08.2022 (36 months)
Programme: EU Erasmus+ (Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices)
Institutions of professional higher education (PHE) (which includes Institutes of Technology and Universities of Applied Sciences) are positioned to play an important role in enhancing European competitiveness and innovation capacity, especially at regional levels where PHE institutions act as connectors and crucial links between the regional SMEs, regional organisations and the society. In addition to this role of PHE, carrying out applied research activities at these institutions could play an important role in developing students’ skills including their innovative thinking and entrepreneurship and thus contribute to further economic growth and jobs within the regions.
Despite the wide benefits of PHE institutions activities within society and their regions, their full research capacity potential still appears to be under-developed. Furthermore, effective monitoring systems to ascertain the depth of research activities in PHE institutions is lacking. The wide range of activities falling within applied research, innovation and regional engagement and their relatively small scale make it relatively difficult to address them as a whole when it comes to support, assessment and recognition.
Due to its practice-oriented approach and specific characters, the applied R&I and regional activities of PHEs do not fit the same metric as the research activities done at the more traditional universities. There is, therefore, a need to support further development and enhancement of the PHE institutions staff capacity to engage into applied research activities, link these to teaching and develop relevant ways for engagement of students in these activities.
The main objective of the project is to strengthen the profile of applied RDI in PHE in Europe – both within the institutions, as well as towards the regions they operate within.
Specifically, the project intends to
– gain an insight into the scope and nature of applied RDI activities within PHE institutions in Europe
– clearly distinguish the different competences required of applied researchers
– assist researchers in RDI to enhance their capacities (also on involving students into applied RDI activities and cooperating with small businesses)
– provide a clear future vision for applied RDI in Europe, together with a strategy on how to achieve it.
From the research perspective, the project will produce an overview or RDI activities. From a practice perspective, it will design a competence framework for researchers. The teaching component of the project will design a modular online course on applied research skills. The policy component of the project will concisely explain the distinct profile of RDI research, and use scenario-building methodologies to forecast possible futures for the areas, so as to make recommendations as how to strengthen the profile of RDI within PHE institutions, through funding, training and regulations.