Boosting entrepreneurial culture within researchers’ community

The EU-CONEXUS Research for Society accords high priority to fostering the grass-root networking between all the partner institutions to share experiences and best practices with the aim of promoting entrepreneurial culture within the research community. The partner universities have lately been working to create a set of standards to make this happen.

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There are already some best practises within the EU-CONEXUS Alliance that have been collected and evaluated, and the following conclusions have been made:

The majority of shared activities are focused on students, who are seen as a valuable resource for local and global innovation ecosystems. They can contribute through creating new start-up companies or aiding in the development of existing businesses.  

There are examples of formal entrepreneurship studies that can provide helpful methodologies for selecting relevant topics for the consortium’s non-formal grass-root networking events.

Examples of best practises in cooperation with regional stakeholders can encourage partners to view the grassroots networking from the stakeholders’ perspective, eventually leading to the involvement of academia in the resolution of their problems.

Basically, all universities have some kind of grass-root networking activity going on. However, rarely do they focus on entrepreneurship, since universities tend to prioritise studies and research. For this reason, more initiatives of this type have been organised at all the partner universities this year.

A “self-reflection” workshop at the Marine Research Institute (MRI) of Klaipeda University was held on 23 March. One of its aims was to increase awareness and foster entrepreneurship among researchers, doctoral students, and administrative staff. The workshop was conducted using individual and group tasks to encourage active participation of attendees. The results of the individual and group tasks were reported to the management of MRI with the goal of making these self-reflection events a regular occurrence, that is, creating a bottom-up strategy that focuses on solving the defined objectives in a short-time period (within one year).

On the same day, La Rochelle Université hosted a social gathering to reflect on the accomplishments and research conducted by the university research teams as well as to discuss the involvement of researchers/doctoral students in these projects. The university‘s research units are committed to promoting the economic value and development of innovative projects.

The Catholic University of Valencia organised a grass-root networking event “Research and Business: A Perfect Symbiosis“, bringing together students, researchers, and R+D+i directors. The speakers emphasised the relationship between universities and companies as a key factor in open innovation, sustainable processes, and the pursuit of joint innovative solutions.

On 18-19th May, Technical University of Civil Engineering participated in the 3rd INNOCONSTRUCT International Conference “How Digital, How Fast“, discussing  innovation in the construction sector. They also hosted a Hackathon, in which students, teachers, and stakeholders took part, with the aim of finding solutions to societal challenges through the use of the Digital Twin concept in building renovation to reduce the environmental impact.

We anticipate that more occasions will arise in the near future which will foster entrepreneurship in our community, unifying the values, skills, and strengths of all the EU-CONEXUS members to bring about greater advantages.