The Board of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) recently met at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, where it pledged to further strengthen its innovative and entrepreneurial characteristics and define priority actions leading to the Consortium’s 20th anniversary in 2017. Among those priorities are the ECIU Accelerator Programme, the establishment of a permanent office in Brussels and the admission of 2 new member Universities, starting with entry of Tampere University of Technology, Finland, in January.
During the 36th meeting of the ECIU Board, which took place on October 28 and 29, leaders of the 12 partner Universities decided to create a programme supporting the growth of start-up companies, with the backing and entrepreneurial know-how of the various Consortium members. The ECIU Accelerator Programme will provide the best entrepreneurial teams of each University with the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops and a final pitch in order to crown the ECIU Accelerator Champions. The programme will be coordinated by the Ryan Academy of Dublin City University, Ireland, and monitored by the ECIU Steering Committee for Entrepreneurship.
Another decision resulting from the meeting in Portugal was the establishment of a permanent ECIU office in Brussels. This measure will contribute to intensifying the contribution that the ECIU has been making in recent years to the European policy debate on research and innovation. Representation in Brussels will ensure stronger coordination of the member university actions with the European institutions, in particular towards shaping and influencing the future of the European Research Area.
Finally, the ECIU Board announced the admission of a new member to the Consortium, Tampere University of Technology, taking effect from January 1st 2017. This is Finland’s second largest University in the area of Engineering and is highly regarded for its leading development of cutting-edge technology. A further application for membership from a European university is also currently under consideration by the ECIU Board.
During the ECIU meeting at the University of Aveiro, the Board Members participated in a workshop delivered by Todd Davey of the Munich Business School and University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) on the challenges and results of university-business cooperation, an area in which the ECIU has substantial interest and experience.
The Board was also addressed by Nikki Horseman, Higher Education analyst with THE World University Rankings, for a presentation and discussion of the data behind the rankings.
In parallel to the ECIU Board Meeting, the ECIU Leadership Development Programme took place also at the University of Aveiro. The programme participants tackled different strategic problems of three of the ECIU member Universities, Aalborg University, Autonomous University of Barcelona and University of Aveiro, and presented their solutions to the Board. The ECIU Leadership Development Programme has been running since 2003, with over 200 young leaders benefitting from this specific training specializing in University management.
ECIU is a Consortium of universities set up to share information and knowledge about good practices and the challenges that each member faces with regard to university governance and cooperation with society. In seeks especially to share values and harmonize positions so that it can present itself to European instances and other universities and university networks as an entity capable of accompanying and influencing the European agenda in the field of higher education cooperation policy and regional research and development.
The operations of ECIU are organized along 2 major lines: Innovation in Teaching and Learning; Entrepreneurship and the Societal Impact of Research. In these domains the ECIU offers a vast programme of joint training and research as well as collaboration with the regions in which the member Universities are located.
The next Meeting of the ECIU Board will take place in Mexico from 3-7 April 2017.