On the 5th and 6th of March the Interregional Innovative Development Center INNO-MIR participated in the 6th University Business Forum which was held under patronage of the European Commission in Brussels. The event hosted more than four hundred delegates, representing the interests of high schools, large corporations, small and medium businesses, as well as national, regional and local authorities from Europe and even further abroad. The forum presented a unique opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss the newest directions in the innovation processes relating to the integration of the science and the business sectors. The conference’s main goal can be summarised as: finding ways to overcome the cultural divide between these two sectors and promoting new, stable, and closer cooperation.
At plenary sessions and workshops a wide range of problems was discussed concerning the integration of science and business: strategic questions regarding further development of the innovational ecosphere on a European level; analyses of difficulties that arise when implementing advanced operations; global tendencies and national individualities in the process of creating quality intermediary links, as well as a number of concrete examples of the successful realisation of innovational projects being presented. University heads, business and government representatives, entrepreneurs and students - all participated in the discussions. A particularly interesting part of the forum was a round table, where Jean-Franscois Minister, the Senior Vice President of Scientific Development TOTAL S.A., and the rector of the biggest German technical university RWTH Aachen professor Ernst M. Schmatchtenberg presented their visions of partnership between high schools and business. Each of the speakers familiarised the auditorium with their specific model of cooperation between educational facilities and companies. However, regardless of the differences in approach, the key idea in both presentations was that of no matter the form of interaction, it is most important that it results in an adequate working environment for young people, where they can realise their full potential and bring most benefit to business. At another round table we heard the voice of the students themselves, presented by Elisabeth Gehrke, head of the European Student Union, who told of how a young generation of scientists and engineers sees the prospect of implementing an entrepreneurial model in education. Of the presentations at parallel sessions it is worthy to note a very energetic and convincing speech by Kees Eijkel, director of the science park at the university of Twente (Kennispark Twente), in the Netherlands, who provided an example of the successful implementation of the innovative method to organise an environment beneficial to business and innovation in close collaboration with higher educational facilities.
Presentations by Xavier Prats Monne, the Director General of the European Commission for Education and Culture, and Mark Hansen, State Secretary for Higher Education and Research in Luxemburg, on the final day of the conference noted the bigger tendencies of strengthening the connection between universities and the business sector, and drafted a future plan for further development of their relationship in the context of creating a single innovational ecosphere.
The event, run by the European Commission, demonstrated that the idea of forming a single space bringing together universities, businesses and young researchers is the primary task of modern society, and only by unifying the efforts of all those interested will it be possibly to reach success. The Interregional Innovative Development Center INNO-MIR, the only organisation that represented Russia at the Forum, is grateful to the organisers for the opportunity to obtain priceless experience and establish valuable connections in the area of implementing innovational culture in everyday life.