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Towards a common Una Europa RESearch and INnovation ecosystem

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Una.Resin (Towards a common Una Europa RESearch and INnovation ecosystem)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2022-08-01 do 2024-01-31

The Una Europa Alliance brings together leading European research-intensive universities to create a truly inter-university environment, where outstanding research is continuously linked to transnational learning and innovative, critical thinking. Una.Resin was set up with the vision of building a common Una Europa R&I ecosystem. Thus, the project aimed to instigate and grow pilot initiatives across 3 key inter-connected transformation modules: the development of common strategies and action plans on joint R&I cooperation, the sharing of our world-class research infrastructure and resources, and the creation of a conducive environment in which researchers and staff thrive. In addition, 3 further areas -cooperation with non-academic actors, open science, and embedding citizens and society- were dealt with transversally in the project. Una.Resin was instrumental in establishing adequate joint governance and operational structures to oversee the development of strategy and activities in the field of R&I. Going forward, the Una Europa partner universities share a joint commitment to building a European University of the Future as an international, values-driven, and innovative community of students, researchers, and professionals that is open and inclusive.
The 1st flagship achievement of the project was the development of the shared Una Europa R&I strategy. The objective was to map and identify areas of common research interest, complementary strengths, and strategic aims across the Una Europa partner universities. The Una Europa R&I Investment Pathway, which provides a first view of relevant external funding opportunities in the area of R&I, was conceived as the primary annex to the Una Europa R&I strategy. In addition, a dedicated Roadmap to Implementation was developed to reinforce sustainable links between individual actions driving R&I collaboration and the future strategic direction of the Alliance. An R&I Matrix exercise was launched to outline potential future activities and encourage a prioritisation exercise at the highest decision-making levels of the Alliance. This exercise not only serves to determine priority actions for the future but also matches levels of ambition with the resources required. The outcomes of this exercise (launched in June 2023 and still ongoing) will fuel the development of a common R&I Action Plan for the Alliance. The 2nd important achievement was the development of the shared strategy for sharing research infrastructures and resources (RIRs). The aim was to map and identify the RIRs of our institutions and develop strategies on how these can be seamlessly shared across the partnership in a barrier-free manner. The results indicated that the Una Europa institutions offer a significant number of high-level infrastructures, unique facilities, world-renowned collections, and laboratories. Furthermore, Una.Resin is creating an environment that promotes the development of our research and professional staff via the advancement of an Una Europa Human Capital Development Strategy. The human capital development frameworks of the partner universities were mapped and compared to identify best practices. The outcomes of this mapping exercise suggested that a common strategy centers around 5 goals -career path development, performance assessment, well-being, societal engagement, and support for early-career researchers (ECRs). The overarching objective behind the Una.Resin pilots was to collectively identify and test solutions to overcome barriers that may hinder the establishment of a seamless, common R&I ecosystem. The pilot projects focused on mainstreaming open science practices and embedding collaboration with both citizens and non-academic actors at all stages of the R&I lifecycle. As a whole, the pilot projects revealed the importance of collaboration, networking, sharing, and openness across the Una Europa R&I system. Finally, the pilots stressed that the professional development of researchers and professional staff must always remain a priority.
Una.Resin piloted matchmaking activities within select Una Europa Focus Areas with the aim of connecting leading researchers. This was instrumental in the Research Coordination Cluster (RCC), an expert group of research funding advisors, being appointed as a permanent Una Europa body. Matchmaking activities will form a cornerstone of Una Europa’s External Funding Strategy in support of internationally renowned hubs for Research, Education and Knowledge Transfer. The project pioneered the creation of a Blueprint (an Una Europa digital catalogue of research infrastructures and a portal of services). Thanks to the involvement of research infrastructures under the Una.Resin project, a Virtual Museum of Una Europa partner universities’ heritage is in the making. Another Una.Resin pilot conceived a Citizen Science Toolkit to develop material for the integration of science and society in curricula, promoting citizen science, and engaging citizens. The Open Science pilot project offered a fresh look at the very idea of open science to made it more understandable to researchers, professional staff members, and the public. Una.Resin created a joint Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Team Science and a practically-oriented workshop for researchers and professional staff members, which together constitute an experimental format for the future skills development and certification framework of Una Europa. Una.Transfer was created to act as a preliminary prototype of a common catalogue of the Una.Resin research groups and their transferable (to the industry) research activities. We have engaged strongly with other European University alliances and the wider R&I sector. By sharing experiences and results, Una Europa is actively contributing to driving forward the transformation agenda of the European R&I system. Una Europa has chosen a strategic focus on collaboration with like-minded higher education institutions in Africa. In late 2023, Una Europa has extended its international collaboration to higher education institutions in Latin America. The flagship Una.Resin results include the development of the Alliance’s common R&I strategy, the development of the shared strategy for sharing RIRs and the development of the Una Europa’s Human Capital Development Strategy. Additionally, Una.Resin provided inspiration for a matrix exercise ranking priority areas and activities for the next years. The outcomes of this exercise (still ongoing) will fuel the development of a common R&I Action Plan for the Alliance. Finally, the pilot projects identified and tested solutions to overcome barriers that may hinder the establishment of a seamless, common R&I ecosystem. Going forward, Una Europa will promote the evolution into international hubs for education, R&I and societal outreach. ECRs will play a pivotal role in shaping the R&I landscape of tomorrow. The Una Europa Research Strategy Group was established as part of the Una.Resin project, bringing together Vice Rectors for Research Policy as part of the Alliance’s formal governance structure. The Una Europa Clusters, which bring together dedicated professional services colleagues in a wide variety of domains, have been key to the success of Una.Resin. Clusters will continue to strengthen collaboration, provide support for the Una Europa academic community and shape the practices and values that define the European higher education.
Project Steering Committtee Meeting