Institutions of professional higher education (PHE) play more and more an important role in enhancing European competitiveness and innovation capacity, especially on the regional level where PHE institutions act as connectors and crucial links between the regional SMEs, regional organisations and the society. In addition to this role of PHE, the applied research activities play an important role in developing students’ skills including their innovative thinking and entrepreneurship and contribute thus to further economic growth and jobs within the regions.
Despite the wide benefits of PHE institutions activities within society and their region and the fact that in many regions they act as the connecting link between the regional actors (authorities, employers, organisations), their full potential is still to be revealed. The wide range of activities falling within applied research, innovation and regional engagement and their relatively small scale make it relatively difficult to address them as a whole when it comes to support, assessment and recognition. Due to its practice-oriented approach and specific characters, the applied RDI and regional activities do not fit the same metric as the research and activities done at the more traditional universities.
Therefore there is a need to support further development and enhancement of the PHE institutions staff capacity to engage into applied research activities, link these to teaching and develop relevant ways for engagement of students in these activities.
The main objective of the project is to strengthen the profile of applied RDI in PHE in Europe – both within the institutions, as well as towards the regions they operate within.