Accelerate Future HEI hosted an online policy recommendations workshop on December 1st 2023. Attendees included representatives of the partners participating in this Horizon Europe project and representatives from sister Horizon projects, Catalisi and aUPaEU as well as other stakeholders. The purpose of the workshop was to reflect on the first year of the project’s activities, start a discussion about policy implications and provide an opportunity for networking
Project Leader Rimante Rusaite of the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) in Amsterdam hosted the event. The workshop opened with an overview of the European Research Area (ERA) Policy Agenda, then an overview of Accelerate Future HEI to introduce the project to those not yet familiar with it. Ms Rusaite outlined the four priority areas for the ERA.
She then went on to explain more about Acceleration Services projects, funded under the Horizon Europe WIDERA programme, of which Accelerate Future HEI is one. These projects aim to help institutions successfully implement a strategy and roadmap for transformation by creating a shared knowledge base, developing a coaching service and providing a virtual meeting place for participants to connect with peers and other ecosystem actors as well as with investors and public funders.
Introducing Accelerate Future HEI specifically, Ms Rusaite explained that the consortium is made up of three Acceleration Partners and nine Testing Partners. The project aims to gather, develop and pilot test the best methodology for acceleration services to support Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in their transformation. To date, the work of the project has focussed on identifying the status quo of the HEI and its ecosystem, which is the first of the project’s key objectives.
Following this introductory section, Ms. Rusaite facilitated an interactive workshop. Each participant introduced themselves, their organisation and the focus of their work. Next, the workshop moved to consider several issues and collaborate using the visual collaboration app Mural. Participants were asked to reflect on their experience, specifically the first year of working on Accelerate HEI if relevant and address the following
- Do you identify any gaps in relation to the ERA policy agenda?
- Where do Universities need more support?
As well as providing lots of feedback on Mural the questions posed prompted lively discussion among the participants. Issues raised included clarity on who are activities specifically targeting, and the need for an element of personalisation so that supports address the specific needs of each university as they differ from institution to institution. This includes the need for academic freedom, to allow institutions to implement policies that deliver the impact they need. Other points raised included the need for effective and strategic communications. While a lot of valuable work is being done across Europe, how best to ensure that the relevant people are aware of the most up-to-date reports and research? The informative workshop closed with Ms Rusaite thanking participants for their interest and engagement and looking forward to further collaboration.