Motivation behind the project and specific needs and problems
In modern society, the academic sector has become extremely significant for the economic growth and prosperity. The two traditional missions of each university are teaching and research. In line with the technological development and growing need to develop knowledge-based economy, the universities, as key knowledge providers, should pursue to develop third mission.
The third mission encompasses a wide range of activities involving the generation, use, application and exploitation of knowledge and other university capabilities outside academic environments (Tuunainen, 2005). Those activities are divided into three dimensions: 1) Technology transfer and innovation; 2) Continual education; 3) Social engagement.
As the economic crises deepens, the investment return into research in public organizations such as universities, through commercialization of research results, has become more significant for Serbia as well. Although HEIs in Serbia have significant research potential and resources, they mainly result in the large number of SCI publications and not so often in patents and realized innovations. This is due to the lack of institutional framework for development and implementation of third mission activities at Serbian HEIs.
Even when the institutional framework is defined, it is necessary that key actors in implementation (HEIs staff, researchers and students) are educated and motivated to engage in knowledge transfer and innovation activities. Promotion of its significance, appropriate incentives and the capacity building programme could improve human resources and build a critical mass for changes and development of the third mission dimensions.
During the mapping of university potential at two Serbian universities (WBCInno project), it was noticed that there is a defragmentation of trainings supply by the faculties. Although five public Serbian universities have defined and adopted strategies for Continuing Education and LLL Centres were established, there is a room for improvement of continuing education activities at universities through definition of integrative approach at university level and development of trainings directed to the needs of target groups (enterprises, young people, researchers, etc.).
Since the creativity lies in the core of innovation, IF4TM will facilitate the development of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of researchers, students and pupils as well, through establishment of Creativity Centres. They will be equipped to support idea development, concept validation and communication among interdisciplinary teams. If the ideas of young people are linked with the enterprises’ needs, within open innovation concept and campaigns on INNO platforms, this would improve the strengthening of innovation potential in enterprises in Serbia and engage young people on innovative projects.
Contribution to Development Strategies in Serbia and the WBC Region
Strategy for development of education in Serbia 2020 includes among other the objectives and proposed actions for development of research, innovation and entrepreneurial components, at HEIs in Serbia. The IF4TM contributes to these objectives, particularly to two activities in its Action Plan:
• VO-ZD26 – Strengthening of innovation potential and increase of innovation results. This activity is expected to lead to promotion of innovative skills of researchers and students, and to increase the number of spin-offs, patents, innovations and strengthen the cooperation with industry.
• VO-ZD27– Strengthening of entrepreneurial component of higher education. This is expected to lead to introduction of the entrepreneurial modules into study programmes and development of entrepreneurial skills among graduates.
Following the recommendations of EU policies and strategies, the WBC countries developed and adopted the joint R&D Strategy for Innovation in October 2013. The Strategy particularly serves as the core of R&D and innovation policy dimension within the Smart Growth pillar in SEE 2020 Strategy. In the following period, each WBC country will develop national R&D and innovation strategies, including Serbia. Having that in mind, realization of IF4TM project in the period 2015-2018 will contribute to the development and implementation of this national strategy.
IF4TM structure and methodology
The IF4TM work plan is distributed within 3 years (36 months). The specific objectives set will be realized through 45 activities organized thematically into eight work packages (WPs). For each workpackage, a set of deliverables is given with milestones and progress indicators, described in LFM.
WP1 (preparation) will start with EU partners’ collecting the data on EU policies and legal framework for establishing the third mission in at least 10 European universities. Within 70 flows in M3-M5, Serbian partners will visit EU institutions to get the insight into the implementation of third mission activities at EU universities. The results of analysis will be presented in the Review on EU policies (M5). EU partners will deliver a policy seminar for at least 20 policy makers by M6 in Serbia in order to train them for further development of legal and policy institutional framework in Serbia. Serbian partners will conduct analysis of strategies and laws in Serbia that support third mission activities (by M5), as well as of regulatory documents and existing structures at 7 HEIs. EU partners will visit Serbian HEIs within 17 flows with the purpose of finalizing benchmarking analysis and generating recommendations that will be presented in the form of the Benchmarking Report (M7).
WP2 (development). Based on benchmarking analysis, consensus meetings will be held where all Serbian partners, stakeholders and ministries representatives will discuss and define starting points and key directions for further development activities on consensus basis (M8). For efficient development activities, four Working Groups will be formed: WG1 for development of new policies and law amendments, WG2 for knowledge transfer and innovation dimension, WG3 for continuing education and WG4 for social engagement dimension (M7). At the level of 7 Serbian HEIs, new and/or modified regulatory documents will be developed and adopted no later than M20. Based on these, an Operational Manual for the implementation of third mission with recommendations to faculties, institutes and high schools will be developed and published by M22. Within this WP, a capacity building training will be organized for the university staff (at least 100 managers, trainers, administrators, etc.) for implementation of new legal framework for the third mission.
WP3 (development). Based on the experience in launching of two INNO platforms (at UKG and UNS) within WBCInno project, five new INNO platforms for innovation management will be developed based on Stage-gate technology and launched at other Serbian HEIs in the project (M12). A set of trainings will be organized for university staff, researchers and students at Serbian HEIs for using the platform. Additionally, seven two-day workshops “Methodology guide for innovations” will be organized by M20 at Serbian HEIs for at least 100 trainees, in order to present innovation cycle and to train participants for practical aspects in innovation development., By M12, project partners will start with development of Methodology for National Competition for students. Two national competitions for best student idea will be organized in 2nd and 3rd project year using INNO platforms. During the competition, the participants will be provided with the set of trainings in the area of entrepreneurship, IP management, pitching ideas, etc. Operational Manual for proof-of-concept programme (PoC) will be developed and publicized by M18. After this, at least 10 research teams from Serbian HEIs will go through the PoC programme in order to raise the TRL level. They will also have support in IP valuation and elaboration of commercialisation strategy by EU partners and experts within the project. Besides the two internal reports on PoC and IP valuation activities, public good practice reports will be developed and publicized at the end of the project.
WP4 (development) is focused on the continuing education dimension of the third mission. Consequently, it will start with defining the integrative university approach in this area. Current supply of LLL courses will be mapped and categorized according to their specific fields and capacities. Within integrative approach there is plan to publicize the list of recommended courses for users both within and outside the academic sector. Three sets of training activities will be developed and delivered: training on IP management for at least 100 trainees (M33), on market strategy for 100 participants (M33) and start-up training courses for at least 50 trainees (M33). In order to strengthen the capacities of Serbian HEIs in this dimension, IF4TM seeks to improve at least ten faculties’ study programmes with inclusion of entrepreneurship and IP management topics into their ongoing curricula. This dimension’s activities carried out within the IF4TM project will be monitored and analysed while conclusions and recommendations will be presented in the Final Report on continuing education activities.
WP5 (development). The core of WP5 is development of social engagement dimension at Serbian HEIs. In the beginning, 7 HEIs social engagement plans will be developed and adopted by M18. One of the major deliverables will be five Creativity Centres established in Serbian university cities (by M12) and equipped (by M18). They will be spaces for promotion of entrepreneurship among young people, support to development of their ideas and team work, validation of concept and production of working prototypes. Within Act5.3, they will organize five workshops on entrepreneurship and creative thinking (for students and pupils) and provide the opportunity for volunteering (at least 100 volunteers). Together with other HEIs’ centres they will be engaged in mapping of HEIs resources and mobilizing them in innovative projects with enterprises. It is also planned to launch at least ten open-innovation campaigns within INNO platforms where students and researchers will apply with their ideas and participate in the development of innovations within topics defined by enterprises.
WP6 (quality plan) and methodology for quality control and monitoring activities is described in section F4.
WP7 (dissemination and exploitation) consists of seven activities intended to dissemination and exploitation of project results along with some activities within WP3, WP4 and WP5. Detailed description of methodology and activities is given in section G2, as well as in the WP7 description.
WP8 (management). This workpackage contains the activities necessary for successful management of the project. The project and supporting structures (as defined in D.2.) will be officially established at the kick-off meeting. Efficient project management will be realized through: delegation of activities and responsibilities among partners, constant monitoring of achievements, risk management, technical and financial management using software tool for project management.
Awards ceremony for the winning student teams within the Open Innovation Campaign(12.06.2019)
Interactive Workshop "Video Game Development in Unity Platform - Ruby’s Adventure 2D RPG Project" at the Creative Center of Metropolitan University in Niš(11.06.2019)
Visiting Lecture "How to Position Products & Services on the Market Using Digital Marketing" at the Creative Center of Metropolitan University in Niš(07.06.2019)
The National Final Competition for best student idea for 2019(03.06.2019)
Visiting Lecture "Experience & Challenges in Practical Application of Agile Methodologies & Scrum" at the Creative Center of Metropolitan University in Niš(31.05.2019)