High Education for Smart Specialization (HESS) project
Initiated in March 2016 by the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, together with the European Joint Research Centre (JRC), for an initial twelve months period, the HESS project focuses on how higher education and High Education Institutions (HEIs) can contribute to the successful implementation of S3. It has two broad aims:
- To help build innovation capabilities by strengthening the role of HEIs in regional partnerships.
- To promote the integration of higher education with research, innovation and regional development in S3 policy mixes, particularly in the use of European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds.
Activities of the project
The main activity of HESS is “action research” and capacity building in the two European regions which have been selected as pilots: North-East in Romania and Navarra in Spain. In addition, there will be monitored the involvement of HEIs in S3 implementation and spending on education by the ESI funds on a more global scale.
- Understand and support HEIs to align their functions of human capital development with S3 priorities.
- Analyze how synergetic and strategic use of public funds can allow HEIs to better contribute to S3 implementation.
- Foster change within HEIs to take on a boundary spanning role in implementing S3.
- Promote external cooperation between the HEIs and other actors in regional partnerships.
- Co-produce knowledge within a Community of Practice and disseminate to a large policy audience.
Workshop on Mobilising Higher Education for Smart Specialisation
12-13 April 2016, Brussels
In order to further develop the conceptual and methodological approaches for the HESS project, the S3 Platform organised a seminar with the FP7 funded consortium called SmartSpec, led by Cardiff University. Hosted by DG Education and Culture, the workshop brought together researchers with several DGs of the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The two pilot regions of HESS participated as well as the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN) and the European University Association, providing both regional and higher education perspectives.
The first part of the workshop involved presentations from the SmartSpec research project and the HESS pilot regions. Four themes were identified from these presentations, which were then discussed in break out groups in the second part of the workshop, specifically: governance, higher education systems, skills and internationalization.
The main messages from these discussions were presented to Patrica Reilly, cabinet member of Commissioner Tibor Navracsics (responsible for both Education and the Joint Research Centre)
Regional Workshop - "Higher Education and Smart Specialization" (HESS) Project
May 23, 2016, Iasi
On 23 May, the North-East RDA organized a regional workshop aimed at debating which could be the contribution of universities and research institutes for development of smart specialization in the North-East Region and to analyze constraints and actions to be taken with benefit to the region. The meeting was moderated by Mrs. Gabriela Macoveiu, Director Communication, Cooperation and Business Development and Mr. Adrian Healy, prof. Dr., Faculty of Geography and Planning of Cardiff University in the UK, project coordinator of SmartSpec project, benefiting of the presence of 14 representatives of five universities in the region.
HESS Introductory meeting in North-East Romania
7 June 2016, Iasi
On 7th June, with the support of the North-East Romania Regional Development Agency, a meeting was organised to introduce the HESS project to local universities and to start a self-evaluation discussion.
The self-evaluation represented, in itself, the first step of the HESS project and will be the basis upon which the IPTS (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies) and the North-East RDA will decide how to shape the action-research planned for autumn 2016.
During the meeting, following the introductory presentations of the local RIS3, the RIS3 Support to Lagging Regions project and HESS itself, participants were split into two working-groups to discuss the self-evaluation questionnaire, which will be completed by autumn.
The exercise revealed a strong interest for the topic and for the HESS project. Universities were unanimous in highlighting that their main source of support to the RIS3 lied in their teaching activities. These, especially for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and IT faculties, were very much aligned with the strategic needs of the region. The IT sector emerged as particularly important and well organised in terms of interaction with industry for training purposes and certainly appears as interesting case to explore in more depth.
In terms of technology transfer and outreach activities, local universities appear less engaged, not least because the legal framework does not favour third mission activities.
The event represented an excellent start for the HESS project in North-East Romania.