Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

RDI Process

RDI Process integration refers to the way RDI meets the needs of society and the world of work. The core criterion for it in PHE, is that researchers seek and provide input from and to the world of work and value stakholders’ requests and contributions. The RDI process respects the nature of te inputs and caninclude various types of research activities and scholarship.

The following are best practice examples of implementation of this criterion:

Better access to applied research for rural SMEs – The centre for food safety and innovation in the Normandy

Author: Stéphane Lauwick, Vice-President (International Relations), Association of IUT Directors

One of the difficulties of PHE institutions is to engage in research and innovation of regional interest while the international competition for funding is growing. This is particularly true for institutions in rural areas/regions. One solution is to create centres that gather all research, development and innovation entities relevant to the area in one building and attract funding from multiple sources: university researchers, applied research co-funded by specific companies and the region, as well as clusters and incubators.

The institute of technology Cherbourg – Manche for example is located about 130 km from its university (University of Caen – Basse Normandie). The two sites host 3 study departments each and researchers and lecturers used to work in relative isolation. A multipartite agreement between the university, the region (Basse-Normandie), local authorities (Département de la Manche – Ville de Saint-Lô), industry representatives and an existing cluster kick-started the creation of the Centre technique en sécurité et innovation alimentaire. The research unit in food safety and innovation promotes research, innovation, technology transfer and training by supporting and funding involved regional and local operators. The students in the local IUT departments became also agents of technology transfer with several work placements provided for them every year.

At Cherbourg – Marche and elsewhere the proximity in space is essential: it shortens access time to quality research and puts the institution in a good position to provide advice and assistance for organisations in need of R&D. High local and regional visibility makes it possible for these centres to reach small organisations or SMEs that would otherwise not have the time, means or self-confidence to come into contact with large, somewhat intimidating, well-funded and prestigious research entities in big university centres.

Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT) Cherbourg – MancheIUT Cherbourg

Manche is public PHE institute in France. The institute awards6 professional (not vocational) degrees with wide ranging specialisation at EQF level 5 – each prepares for a whole range of jobs – and runs 9 Programmes at Level 6 (Licences professionnelles).Like all IUTs, IUT Cherbourg – Manche is a PHE institute within an academic university (University of Caen – Basse-Normandie). Staff qualifications, selection process and working conditions are strictly the same as for French university personnel. Research activities and programmes are carried out under the university’s umbrella and are therefore not specific to the IUT.

Associated institutes for technology transfer in Germany

Most German higher education institutions have established a central unit for technology transfer or a technology centre associated with the institution rather than being part of it. Technology transfer centres serve as catalysts to bring industrial clients and researchers into contact and often play a decisive role in establishing collaboration with SMEs in particular. They systematically monitor industrial needs, negotiate contracts, and provide of consultancy services.

Collaborative applied research at DHBW has been developed throughout the last years detecting research problems from the world of work and making them core of the university’s research agenda. Seed funding is provided for collaborative research partnerships. Those usually conduct their research in two year cycles and aim to present larger research proposals with a wider scope to national and international funding agencies.

The Technology Transfer Centre TTK University of Applied Sciences in Estonia

Author: Anne Kraav, Vice-Rector for Development, TTK University of Applied Sciences

In Estonia, the Research, Development and Innovation process is stimulated through the representation of higher education institutions in professional associations and in sector-specific clusters in which researchers seek input on needs and expectations of the world of work and the society.

At TTK UAS in particular, the Technology Transfer Centre (TTC) was established within the institution to provide structural units (mainly faculties) with the support needed for their RDI activities. The TTC serves as a link between enterprises and faculties: it mediates technology transfer opportunities and develops business contacts. It engages in applied research, consultations (also for spin-offs), in-service trainings, expert assessments, and product development. The centre also builds national and international relations with similar RDI centres and institutions to exchange knowledge and information on technology transfer.

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