EU-DRIVERS - European Drivers for a Regional Innovation Platform

EU-DRIVERS is a three year EU-funded Structural Network project (2010-2012) under the Lifelong Learning Programme (ERASMUS) seeking to:

  • create a regional innovation virtual community for exchanging good practices among all stakeholders
  • find solutions for improved regional cooperation between universities, private-sector companies and regional governments
  • disseminate cutting-edge information on good practices for effective regional partnerships

Rationale for the project

Universities are increasingly recognised as being drivers of the economic and social infrastructure in their region. There is growing awareness on how universities can contribute to regional innovation through collaboration with business, local and regional governments and other local actors. The Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs, as well as the Modernisation agenda for Universities, has focused attention on the need to strengthen the ‘knowledge triangle’ of research, innovation and education. The recently announced EU 2020 Strategy by the European Commission highlights regional development and reinforces the focus on the need for innovation: “Knowledge is the engine for sustainable growth. In a fast-changing world, what makes the difference is education and research, innovation and creativity”.

Project Partners

Project Activities

Virtual Community
Communities of practice are an increasingly common way of networking and sharing knowledge resources among expert peer groups. As part of achieving its overall aims, this project seeks to establish a vibrant community of practice among emerging academic leaders (deans) and their organisational counterparts in government, business and the community to promote peer to peer knowledge exchange and good practice for improving regional cooperation and innovation. The community of practice will be developed through sharing knowledge and resources online using the internet as well as through face-to-face exchange and networking using workshops and thematic conferences.

Pilot Regional Innovation Partnership Projects
Pilot regional innovation partnership projects are a vital component in the development of the new community of practice. They will provide a core base for practical knowledge sharing about routes to improving regional cooperation between universities, public authorities and business to encourage regional innovation. Lessons from the pilot projects will form the basis for development of good practice guides and development of a sustainable leadership development programme for relevant stakeholders at the regional level.
Ten pilot ‘showcase’ projects, involving the triple helix stakeholders from a university, public authority and business/community will be developed. Each pilot project will be a working example of how the three stakeholders are coming together to create a major impact on a key aspect of the regional economic or social infrastructure, addressing a major regional need. Projects will be varied in terms of sector and geographical areas.

Leadership Development Workshops
Four 2-day development workshops based on the experiences of the pilot project teams, and involving the three stakeholder members of each team, will be held across the three years of the EU-Drivers project. These workshops will be aimed at developing participants’ leadership and boundary-spanning skills through practical knowledge-sharing regarding the show case projects, their challenges and barriers, solutions and successes.

Annual Conferences and Other Dissemination Activity
Three annual conferences open to the wider audience of EU-Driver partner organisations will be held to facilitate face to face knowledge exchange on regional innovation issues. Conferences will discuss the ‘state of the art’ and latest examples of innovative practice in innovation partnerships together with concrete examples of implementation of the knowledge triangle at the discipline level. Each conference will be a core forum for the wider community of practice.

State of the Art Knowledge on Regional Innovation
Three Annual Reports on the latest knowledge on regional innovation issues will be produced, based on desk research, relevant literature review and gathering of examples of good practice from within and beyond the partnership. These annual reports will serve as the basic material for the conferences.

Specific tasks of EFMD in the EU-DRIVERS project include providing expertise on discipline issues (management education) in workshops. It will also launch a call for expressions of interest within its membership to join the Regional Innovation Partnership projects. In addition EFMD is responsible for hosting and organising the 1st workshop in Brussels (7-8 June 2010) and the 2nd conference in Brussels (September 2011).
EFMD will also provide content and speakers to other annual conferences and participate in drafting annual reports by giving input in the field of management education. It will also participate in the steering committee meetings.

For more information, please visit the project website: www.eu-drivers.eu