After a digital training held on 1-13 September, two additional pilot trainings were provided in Jordan and Tunisia.
A high-level follow-up Forum on Innovation and Employability will be held on 18 November.
Jordan, 27 and 29 September 2021 / Tunisia, 21-22 October 2021. Decision-makers of higher education institutions (HEIs) and research centres, policymakers, as well as industry representatives from Jordan and Tunisia participated in the last few weeks in two trainings of two days each linking academic research to industry needs. Each course was adapted to the national contexts.
After having offered a theoretical overview of the Triple Helix Model of Innovation -a set of interactions between academia, industry and government, to foster economic and social development- as a general framework, participants were invited to rethink cooperation between HEIs and research centres to address the needs of the industry through research topics required by their national contexts. Potential approaches were presented, including collaborative doctorates, industrial placements in the framework of masters’ programmes, and other hybrid degrees that connect theory to practice. Examples of best practice initiatives were given as viewed through the lens of the Triple Helix in terms of how the different players can strengthen collaboration and move towards a community of practice in the region.
In Jordan, examples such as the Jordan Opportunity for Virtual Innovative Teaching and Learning (JOVITAL) or the Jordan Open Innovation Platform (JOIP) were mentioned. The Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Platform SEMED was also presented as a useful tool for action. Other topics were covered, such as the role of policymakers in supporting digitalisation initiatives, quality assurance as a crucial factor behind graduate employability, and other opportunities for connecting industry with academia.
In Tunisia, as best practices’ examples, were cited the Start-up Act, the Student Entrepreneur Centre of Carthage (PEEC), the Technopole, as well as several PRIMA projects. Furthermore, a focus on valorising the existing capacity was provided: the current collaborative doctorates, technology transfer tools, and the present collaboration between digital companies and research laboratories.
In both national training courses, it was stressed that an organisational change and a culture shift is needed, as we have to move from a traditional one-way or closed knowledge transfer towards a more open exchange between academia, industry, and policymakers to create an environment that better prepares graduates with the skills they need to address complex societal issues.
Building on the lessons learned during the trainings, a high-level Forum on Innovation and Employability will be hosted by the UfM digitally on 18 November.