New YUFE project to boost student and staff innovation and entrepreneurship

An ambitious new project has been launched by the Young Universities of the Future of Europe (YUFE) Alliance which will foster a new generation of student entrepreneurs and innovators. Inno4YUFE aims to remove barriers to student entrepreneurship and to reinforce the role of higher education institutions (HEIs) as launch-pads for entrepreneurial career pathways.

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The project will receive funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)’s HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education. This new EIT initiative aims to boost the entrepreneurial and innovation capacity of HEIs.

The 1.2 million Euro project, will run until December 2021, with the possibility of getting extended for 18 months, and will support 400 entrepreneurial YUFE students and 80 HEI academic staff and professionals.

Inno4YUFE will enable the YUFE Alliance towards becoming a pioneering European University supporting the innovation and entrepreneurship potential of its students and staff, powering a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators that will generate breakthroughs to tackle global challenges.

The Inno4YUFE project will focus on six actions:

  1. Integrate an Innovation and Entrepreneurship dimension in the YUFE Virtual Campus (VC) providing an open collaboration platform for YUFE students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.
  2. Establish a virtual YUFE Flipped Knowledge Transfer Office designed to support and mentor YUFE student entrepreneurs and researchers and enable the exchange of best practices.
  3. Build sustainable collaborations with the three selected EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (health, digital, raw materials) with the goal of achieving a pan-European network of innovation communities.
  4. Develop a novel Research and Innovation Training and Mentoring Programme to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship mindset of YUFE students and staff.
  5. Launch a YUFE-wide Entrepreneurial Internship Programme, aimed at providing entrepreneurial students with unique know-how on innovation processes, start-up implementation and entrepreneurial skills.
  6. Create a YUFE International Start-up Community and Acceleration Programme to boost YUFE support for student start-ups.

The Inno4YUFE consortium, led by Maastricht University, includes the YUFE full partner universities and the Voka Chamber of Commerce Antwerpen-Waasland. Selected as one of the first European Universities pilots, the YUFE Alliance is bringing a radical change by becoming one of the leading models of a young, student-centred, non-elitist, open and inclusive European University based on the cooperation between higher education institutions, public and private sector, and citizens.

Overall, Inno4YUFE will create a scalable model of an innovative and entrepreneurial European University, that will allow for broad transferability and long-term institutional change beyond the project consortium and duration.

The EIT’s HEI Initiative is a key objective for the EIT as part of its new strategy, the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021−2027. The initiative aims to support higher education institutions with expertise and coaching, access to the EIT innovation ecosystem, and funding, enabling them to develop innovation action plans complementing the needs of individual higher education institutions. As part of its Pilot Phase, the initiative has provided funding to 23 projects, with the next call for proposals expected towards the end of 2021.

The EIT strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent to create sustainable growth and skilled jobs in Europe. The EIT is an EU body and an integral part of Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Institute supports dynamic pan-European partnerships, EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, among leading companies, research labs and universities.

YUFE is aiming to develop into a European University, dedicated to contributing to a more cooperative, innovative and cohesive Europe. The consortium links ten Universities and four non-academic partners.

Source: University of Rijeka

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European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

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