Geleyn Meijer, AUAS Rector, and Frank Kresin, Dean of the Faculty of Media and Creative Industries (FDMCI), participated in an UAS4EUROPE event in Brussels today focusing on the innovative power of applied research. The audience included none other than EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, one of Europe’s key decision-makers on research and innovation.
Responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sports, Commissioner Gabriel unveiled plans late last year to launch a single market for innovation in Europe, the so-called European Innovation Area (EIA). According to Commissioner Gabriel, the EIA is essential to ensuring that Europe remains competitive in the next wave of technological innovation in a sustainable, equitable and coherent way. “We have a single European single space for researchers (ERA). And one for education (EEA). But we need to create one for innovators and entrepreneurs,” stated Gabriel during the announcement of the EIA plan.
UAS4EUROPE, the informal network of European Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS), which includes AUAS, seized the opportunity to express its support for this plan and to proactively present its vision of the role that applied research can play in the future of European innovation.
Realizing the European Innovation Area
During this high-profile hybrid event, ‘Realizing the European Innovation Area’, Gabriel formally accepted the UAS4EUROPE Action Plan for Innovation.
Alongside a solid argument for the strengths and innovative capacity of UAS, the document outlines twelve concrete applied research recommendations. These call for the better integration of Higher Education institutions focusing on practice-oriented applied research into EU programmes, the creation of a network of centres of expertise to better connect Europe’s innovation ecosystems, and support for UAS seed-financing to bridge the gap between post-research activities and prototype development, to name a few of the recommendations.
Influential UAS leaders and entrepreneurs with extensive experience in innovation were part of the expert group who drafted the plan – including Jorrit Snijder, President of the Executive Board at Breda University of Applied Sciences, and Frank Kresin, Dean of the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Sciences at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), who were on location to represent the Netherlands.
Driving regional innovation
Following the presentation of the plan, Commissioner Gabriel responded to the challenges, opportunities and recommendations presented. The European Commission acknowledged UAS as important stakeholders in regional innovation due to their close collaboration with the private and public sector in finding solutions to urban challenges.
This event was an important opportunity to underline the role of universities of applied sciences in Amsterdam and cities across Europe. Public and private partnerships form the core of urban innovation and there is a need for more funding - specifically at the European level for UAS - to fuel innovation in the future.
The event was hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Union. Some 40 R&I and industry stakeholders, and EU representatives attended in Brussels, while some 100 people followed the event online.
This article was first published on October 8 by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.