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Enhancing innovation competences and entrepreneurial skills in engineering education (InnoCENS)


This project has the following concrete objectives:


(1) establish Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 8 partner country universities

(2) train 104 partner university staff on innovation and entrepreneurship through 1 study visit in Europe and 4 workshops

(3) introduce 2 master courses «Innovation systems and processes», «entrepreneurship for engineers»

(4) introduce innovation pedagogy in learning and in curricular design

(5) define and assess innovation competences of engineering students

(6) start business mentoring services to students and staff to help them start innovation-based new enterprises

(7) organize an innovation competition

(8) disseminate the project results to all other universities in partner countries

(9) develop a business plan for innovation centres including recommendation for a national innovation strategy


Objective (1) will be basis of this project. All activities will be coordinated from the innovation centers.


Objective (2) and (3) will provide university staff and students necessary knowledge on innovation and entrepreneurship in order to foster an innovation culture in partner countries.


Objective (4) and (5) will help engineering students to become more creative and more innovative, by introducing active learning and other innovation pedagogy, and by helping students to identify and acquire generic, transversal, intellectural skills which are needed in order to be innovative.


Objective (6) and (7) will directly support staff and students to become entrepreneur, by helping them to turn ideas into business and by encouraging them to participate in innovation competition for best business idea.


Objective (8) aims to introduce innovation and entrepreneurship also to other universities in partner countries which are not partners in this project.


Objective (9) will make sure that work at the innovation centres started by this project will sustain after the project end. It will also disseminate the project results to a higher level, namely supporting each partner country to develop a natinal innovation strategy for long term economic growth.

in project activities are divided into 4 work packages (WP 2, 3, 4 5).


WP 2. Foster an innovation culture in partner countries


This WP will increase the awareness of the importance of innovation for economic growth. To better design project activities, a questionnaire survey will made among universities and enterprises in the 4 countries. The survey is expected to give information on present situation on innovation development and university-business cooperation in these countries.


During a 2-weeks period, 24 partner country staff will visit Swedish national and regional agencies, universities, research institutes and private companies. The visits will enable them to see how Swedish innovation systems are set up at local, regional and national levels, which actors and stakeholders are involved, how universities cooperate with the industry, and what kind of business mentoring services universities are providing.


To increase engineering students’ knowledge on innovation systems and processes, a master course will be developed in 2017 and introduced at all partner universities during 2017/2018.


In autumn 2017, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be established at each of 8 partner country universities. Each centre will have 2-3 staff and equipped with computers, printer, copy machine, digital projector for video conference. Each centre will be governed by an Advisory Board with representatives from administration, industry, staff and students. The mission of the centre is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at the university, offer innovation and entrepreneurship master courses and provide business development services.


WP 3. Introduce innovation pedagogy


Traditional pedagogical methods are more about facts and reproduction of existing knowledge. To help  engineering students become more innovative, we will introduce innovation pedagogy which promotes active learning and curricular design focusing on innovation competences.To achieve this, two workshops will be organized.


The first workshop will be organized by TUAS in Finland. Participants will learn the active learning philosophy of innovation pedagogy and various active learning methods such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL), project-based learning, collective learning, etc.


In spring 2018, each partner country university will run a course based innovation pedagogy. At the end of the course, an evaluation will be made after collecting feedbacks from students and teachers. These feedbacks may be considered in future course runds.


The 2nd workshop will take place in Taraz, Kazakhstan, and focus on curricular design. After that, partner country teachers will revise the curriculum for one existing education program. Revision will result in a new program description which clearly defines different types of competences which students are expected to receive. Furthermore, for each course a new syllabus will be developed with learning outcomes specified.


WP 4. Define and assess innovation competences


Subject knowledge which students are learning at universities are not always sufficient to make students creative. In this WP, we will use outcomes from previous European projects to define the types of innovation competences students should obtain and how these competences can be assessed by teachers and by students themselves.


This activity will start with a workshop on innovation competences and assessment, which will take place in Minsk, Belarus. Based on previous European projects, the workshop will define desired innovation competences, such as critical thinking, creative thinking, communication skills, team work skills, interdisciplinary skills, etc.  The workshop will also address how these competences should be promoted and facilitated in teaching and learning.


Effective assessment is a prerequisite for effective learning, especially when we wish to promote innovation competences. The project will take advantage of previous EU projects to develop tools to assess innovation competences and competence development by students. These tools will be implemented in spring 2018.


WP 5. Promote entrepreneurship and university-business cooperation


This WP aims to promote entrepreneurship knowledge and skills so that students are able to commercialise their inventions or turn their business ideas into startups, spin-offs, etc.


We will first provide training to trainers at the innovation centres so that these trainers can train other staff and students at each university. The training course will be given by UPV in Spain. The first part of the course will focus on idea generation, technology-based entrepreneurship, market analysis, product and process development, financing and human resources. The 2nd part concerns business development support: how to evaluate business potential of an idea, how to turn an idea into a sustainable business concept, how to write a business plan, etc.


To provide students with basic knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship, a master course named “Entrepreneurship for engineers” will be developed during 2017 and offered to students in Spring 2018.


To promote entrepreneurship through university-business cooperation, an event called “Entrepreneurship Day” will be organized. This event will bring universities and business community together to exchange ideas and information, discuss entrepreneurial projects and identify best form of university-business cooperation.


Based on training course in Spain, trainers at each innovation centre will spread entrepreneurship knowledge through seminars and brochures, support business development by evaluating business ideas from staff and students and helping them start new businesses.


Successful business ideas or startups can participate in the innovation competition for partner country  students. Candidates will present their business idea and business plan. A special jury will be formed to evaluate all business ideas and choose one winner for each partner country.