EU-DRIVERS third annual conference



BRUSSELS, 20 September 2012



Universities and Regional Innovation: From Policy to Practice

Building Capacity for Collaborative Partnerships

Third conference organised by the EU-DRIVERS European regional innovation platform. EU-DRIVERS is a three-year EU-funded structural project in the EU Lifelong Learning Programme developed under the leadership of the European Centre for the Strategic Management of Universities (, in a consortium of 10 partner European associations, networks, universities active in regional development and 9 regional pilot partnership projects initiated by EU-DRIVERS.

The positive impact of effective regional innovation on economic growth, employment and social stability is recognised everywhere. Yet many European regions are lagging behind and seem unable to "catch up" or engage in a process of full innovation as a critical success factor for their development. Different regional settings, contextual factors and more (or less) local opportunities undeniably play a role. Yet the ability to build capacity for collaborative partnership and to exercise strong leadership in order to bring together a variety of regional stakeholders behind a common regional strategy is "the" critical step for regional success.

This one-day conference focussed on the challenges involved in building and sustaining successful cross-sectoral partnerships between academic, business and public agencies to support regional innovation. The conference drew on lessons learned from the EU-Drivers for a Regional Innovation Platform project, which involved the development of tri-partite partnerships and an international community of practice to support strategically important and transformational projects in a range of European countries, including Spain, Denmark, Greece, England, Finland, Turkey, Portugal and Belgium.

The conference format was highly interactive, with expert international keynote speakers and panelists including participants from the European Commission, academics, business and public authorities committed to fostering the development of real collaboration between sectors to support regional development. With practical interactive sessions it provided participants the opportunity to try out "on the ground" the lessons learnt from the EU-Drivers project; every participant received a copy of the EU-Drivers toolkit with good practices to support effective transformational regional innovation.

In our pre-conference reception, networking breakfast and poster sessions the conference provided ample opportunities for direct exchange between regional, university and business leaders as well as access to EU policy-makers. As such you can keep ahead on the latest information on EU policy and programme developments such as the Smart Specialisation Strategy, Horizon 2020 (and its links to the structural funds) as well as the new Erasmus for All programme.  

Conference Structure

Venue - Representation State North Rhine-Westphalia to the EU, Montoyer street, 47 - Brussels 1000

19 September - Pre-conference reception at 19.00 - Maison du Luxembourg, rue du Luxembourg, 37 - Brussels 1050)

20 September - Conference   

08:30    Registration and networking breakfast 

09:30    Welcome and context setting, Ms. Nadine Burquel, ESMU Secretary-General and EU-DRIVERS Project

09:45    Introduction to the EU-Drivers Programme: Themes, challenges and achievements,
            Prof. John Goddard, EU-Drivers academic leader

10:15    Keynote presentationThe critical challenges to build strong strategic regional collaborative
Prof. Artur da Rosa Pires, Pro-Rector Cooperation with the region, University of Aveiro  

10:45    An Overview of the EU-Drivers toolkit of good practices, Ms. Ursula Kelly, EU-Drivers senior expert 
11:00    Coffee Break

11:30    Group Sessions - Interactive Master Class based on the EU-Drivers toolkit
             Group 1. David Gray, University of Surrey, & Morten Lemvigh, Region of North Denmark
             Group 2. Serdal Temel, Ege University Science/Technology Centre, & Alcino Pascoal, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
             Group 3. Ari Koski, University of Turku & Josep Ricart, Universitat Rovira i Virgili 

13:00    Networking Lunch (with poster sessions)

14:15    Plenary Feedback Session 

15:00    Panel Discussion with senior level representatives from the European Commission, academia,
            business and regional authorities

            John Edwards, Smart Specialisation Platform, EU Joint Research Centre, Sevilla
            Cédric Gustin, Advisor at "Agence de Stimulation Technologique" (AST), Belgium
            Stefaan Hermans
, Head of "Skills" unit, DG Research and Innovation
            Jerzy Langer
, Advisor on Research to the city mayor of Wroclaw; former deputy minister of Science and the
            Information Society
            Michael Smyth, President of the Economic section of the EESC (Economic and Monetary Union and
            Economic and Social Cohesion); Head of Economics, University of Ulster.
            Adam Tyson
, Head of "Higher Education/Erasmus" unit, DG Education and Culture

16:30   Concluding remarks, Ms. Nadine Burquel, EU-DRIVERS Project Director and Prof. John Goddard
           EU-DRIVERS Academic Leader

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