Vilnius University organized the Business Forum entitled „DEVELOPING TALENTS FOR INNOVATION-BASED ECONOMIES“, one of the sessions of the Thematic University, recently. The session focused on the challenge to bridge the gap between academia and business.
Patricia Reilly, Member of the Commissioner's cabinet in charge of Education, Culture and Sport of the European Commission noted that education is continuous investment into the future. While Robertas Dargis, President of Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists indicated that industry is still missing efficient collaboration with universities in the R&D field, in particular.
Five different examples of cooperation between universities and business were presented during the session.
Eglė Radzevičienė, IP Director, at „Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics“ presented the case “Successful Partnership with Universities in Raising Talent Generation”. „Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics“ is the largest private research centre in Baltic States. The company participates actively in internship programs and employs the major part of graduates. Besides, the company provides biotech students with business management courses, promotes STEM disciplines in schools. However, more initiatives have to be taken to bridge the gap between the quality of graduates and business needs.
The second case, “The End of Pure Specialization Era. Welcome a Hot Need for Multi‐dimensional Competences for Global Digital Business in Matrix Organization. How to Fuel University Competitiveness with Global Business Experience?” was presented by Elisabet Juan Tresserra, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Director for “EsadeCreapolis”. Mission of “EsadeCreapolis” is to help companies grow becoming part of an ecosystem that promotes innovation. Currently it hosts 70 companies with 600 workers. They help to cooperate on research projects, link students with companies, boost entrepreneurship and utilize technological ideas, create innovation ecosystem and platform for exchange of ideas.
Kristina Šukytė, Director for Operations, Western Union, presented the third case “The End of Pure Organization (Western Union)”. The presentation focused on multidisciplinarity versus multifuncionality. Ms. Šukytė stated that university should bring the broad spectrum of thinking. Western Union has examples of employees working in positions not by their field of education. The employer is giving priority for a positive attitude and ability to learn of the applicant for a position rather than exact match of qualification.
The forth case “DTU Skylab – a Cross-disciplinary Hub and Community for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship” was presented by Sannie Fisker, Senior Executive Entrepreneurship Officer, DTU Skylab, Technical University of Denmark. DTU Skylab is a place where students can go and unleash their ideas – explore, test, prototype. 50.000 students come through the doors of DTU Skylab in one year run. DTU Skylab believes that open space is a crucial factor for collaboration. However, apart from the physical infrastructure DTU Skylab is offering coaching, networking. They invite companies to come with problems and challenges and turn to students for the solutions on them. Talented students get employed often after successful cooperation.
Tim Scholze, Project Manager, Entrepreneur, BUPNET GmbH presented the case “Creating and Validating Entrepreneurial Competences in Informal Learning Settings”. Mr. Scholze indicated that the most of the learning takes place in practice, during mobility or internships. Entrepreneurial learning is mostly informal learning, thus depicts an ability to apply a synthesis of knowledge, skills and attitudes in a particular situation and in a particular quality. Nevertheless, no validation systems are available to “prove” these competencies gained during studies to employers. Thus, businesses and universities joined together in an Erasmus+ project “PROMOTE”, which aims at promoting and validating key competences gained during mobility of students. This project employs original and practical approach on how to bridge the gap between education and businesses using “LEVEL5” competence validation system.
Prof. Rimantas Jankauskas, Vice-rector for Research at Vilnius University noted that the Thematic University – Business Forum „DEVELOPING TALENTS FOR INNOVATION-BASED ECONOMIES“ was a great success – an event where participants could network and exchange their ideas, expectations as well as their experience in facilitating interaction between academic and business worlds.