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European Laboratory for modelling the Technical Research University of Tomorrow

Final Report Summary - ULAB (European Laboratory for modelling the Technical Research University of Tomorrow)

Executive summary:

ULAB was an innovative research University-based think-tank of five leading technical and research-intensive European Universities, committed to work together towards renewing University Research and Innovation management policies. They in particular identified and report on best practices and innovative procedures for research management and structures, valorisation, entrepreneurship and outreach.

All ULAB partners (the technical University of Madrid, Polytechnic of Torino, The Oxford University, the Technical University of Munich and Paris Tech) are major actors in the European knowledge-based society with existing policies and success stories in these four areas. The partners systematically compared benchmarked and refined their best practices to contribute towards better strategic choices.

ULAB worked as a University Laboratory carrying out experimental best practices in order to demonstrate how networking and open innovation between universities can increase the quality of research and innovation in the quest for excellence.

The new thinking emerging out of these exchanges was published in a white paper on 'How to build the Technical Research University of tomorrow' giving recommendations to tackle specific challenges such as:
- Find the best cost effective research strategy and support infrastructures to advance with the quality indicators.
- Improve the impact of the research results. Jointly face the new challenges of internationalising the patent commercialisation activities.
- Find advanced support services to start-up companies, share resources and facilitate the access to export markets.
- Jointly define new means and strategies of Science and Technology outreach to citizens.

Project context and objectives:

The Universities are located in the heart of the 'knowledge triangle' of research, innovation and education and constitute the key junction between the European research area and the European higher education area. Universities are major players in the processes of growth and improvement of competitiveness of Europe, which is the goal set in Lisbon in March 2000 in order to facilitate the transition of Europe towards a knowledge-based economy. As a result the Heads of State and government of the Member States decided the following overall goal for the Union: [...] to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.

This process of improving European competitiveness cannot be understood without the leading role that Universities can and should play for the benefit of the whole society. The review of the Lisbon strategy and the discussions on the vision of the European research area have reinforced the conclusion that if Europe wants to continue to lead in the global production of knowledge, not only the financial investment efforts to invest 3% of Europe's GDP in research (which is clearly required to get support and enhance research excellence) needs to be increased but also appropriate tools and structures to implement the provisions promoted by the ERA need to be developed. The process launched in 2006 to define national reform programmes (NRP) in all Member States and the subsequent 'progress reports' emphasized the need for institutional reforms in public organizations.

The mission of the University is to educate on consolidated knowledge, generate new knowledge, transfer knowledge to and between the private and public sectors and finally to provide the Science and Technology outreach to society.

There is no doubt that Universities, especially those active in research and the technical universities, represent a primary source of new knowledge for businesses. Universities have a key responsibility to train researchers and skilled professionals to serve the productive sector and public administration, and in this way contribute to Society.

Various European Universities, including ULAB partners, have already created mutual links based on different European initiatives, adapted their education structures to the Bologna process, have signed Erasmus agreements and defined common Erasmus Mundus master programmes, in some cases agreeing on mutual degree recognitions. It is clear that there is still room for improvement: a joint definition of education curricula and the internationalisation of the education offer are examples of problems that should be addressed. In addition to the education issues, which do not lie within the scope of the ULAB project, Universities (especially Technical Research Universities) experience problems related to the organization of their research and innovation activities which have to be aligned with the needs of the private and public sector.

ULAB opens the way to a new University concept based on strategic collaboration of various institutions willing to work together and share strategies in order to improve the quality of their research, the impact of their results, and as a result offer a better service to the Business sector and Society.

This central purpose was addressed by pursuing five concrete objectives:

Objective 1 Create and strengthen focused networks between technical or research intensive universities.

ULAB improved links between the institutional activities of research and technical universities participating in the project through stable networking of working groups among counterpart management and decision-making units.

Objective 2 Identify, analyse and share good practices in the research management processes

The symbiosis between the ULAB partners constitute the framework for pooling, analysing and sharing best practices carried out in each of the participating institutions, developing a report based on priorities of impact of current practises and the possibility to extrapolate them to the rest of the universities.

Objective 3 Demonstrate advantages of collaborating in a network by developing pilot activities between partner Universities.

ULAB acted as a laboratory of experimentation where best practices was implemented in pilot exercises and assessed in later stages. This objective pursued not only to achieve better performance in the management of research, but also to provide an effective networking of the different units from different institutions involved in each process.

Objective 4 Improve the research management processes through an expanded Joint Action Plan between ULAB universities.

ULAB aimed to establish strong, long-term links between the participating institutions to create a wide Joint Action Plan for the management of research that goes beyond the initial objectives of the call.

Objective 5 Contribute to the enhancement of research management in European Technical Research Universities

Knowledge and experience in ULAB will be made available to other technical Research Universities in Europe and to the European Commission through a White Paper on best practices, proposing new forms of cooperation between Universities and other stakeholders, with the objective of strengthening the role of higher education institutions in their interaction and engagement with Society and business.

These sub-projects were focused on key aspects driving structural reforms: the creation of research support structures and resources management, the valorisation of research results, the way that entrepreneurship is addressed and the value of outreach activities to link to society. Other relevant aspects in University life related to teaching activities or to the conventional academic research activities were not considered in the ULAB project.

Project results:

1.3.1. General approaches taken by ULAB partners

The term 'modelling the technical university of tomorrow' used in the ULAB project reflects the common will to face common challenges by learning from the experiences of other institutions and the commitment to implement with their support some proven ideas in pilot exercises.

We are well aware that best practices selected from other Universities cannot be transferred directly to another organisation. All Universities have different legal, social, political and historical frameworks which make them singular. Good practices must be adapted to the particular structure and to the different legal and institutional framework. Moreover, as we are experimenting best practices transfer in public institutions, the decision for re-engineering any process or new structure must follow the appropriate decision process of the institution and of their governing bodies, and most of the time those democratic decision processes are often very long and require leadership and personal involvement.

The identified general approaches are as follows:

1. Creation of flexible structures to address multidisciplinary and strong specialisation

Historically, stability in the academic offer was seen as a must; both potential students and society at large keep a clear understanding of the way that universities were organized and on their academic offer. In some countries like Spain and France, engineering schools have been preserved for centuries apart from universities even if their curricula dramatically change over years. In all cases, Universities deeply evolved but they managed to keep the same role in society (for educating new generations and knowledge creation).

2. Sharing knowledge and costs with other entities

Experiences to share scientific infrastructures or equipment based on reciprocity use are commonly found between European universities. Usually, one of the universities involved keeps the ownership of the facility but others can also provide some equipment or specialised personnel. This approach can be also complemented by strategic agreements to avoid duplication of efforts in large investments or technical staff. Then, a common planning process to purchase expensive equipment is a logical consequence of this trend which is strongly supported by public administrations.

3. Progressive de-localisation of activities

Historically, universities have concentrated their resources and activities in specific campuses located in one geographical area. All activities were organized around them with clear advantages on efficiency and the easier creation of a sense of 'community'. It is true that many universities have multi-campus structures but the key concept is the same: all activities are performed there and services are concentrated in the campuses. In case of multi-campus university there is also an opportunity to specialize them under the same principle of localization of common or related activities although historical evolution usually creates huge barriers to deep reorganisation.

This is still today the typical way to organize university activities; however fuzzy borders in time and locus are appearing as a result of the globalisation.

Two different types of reasons are motivating its evolution:
1) The need to approach the activity of the university to students located in other countries. This process has motivated the creation of campuses located in other places with the support of some local partners. The proliferation of units located in China or Middle East countries used by some European universities with the support of their governments is a clear example. This approach is also boosted by intense use of e-education platforms which offers the possibility to obtain university degrees by (partly) distance education. The movement of large US research universities in order to offer their courses in open platforms with some face to face support if needed should be a key factor for accelerating larger reforms in European universities.

2) The creation of ad hoc offer for postgraduate courses adapted to the needs of specific clients. In these cases it is common to carry out the activity in the client's premises (except if it is necessary to use equipment labs located at the university; even in this case, a mixed model could be used)

4. Integration of the exploitation of results in the institutional strategy

Another major trend is the increasing importance that valorisation of the research activity has within the university. For technical universities the exploitation of research results is an accepted role of the University and an opportunity for increasing their external economic support. Public authorities are pressing them to increase their outputs in terms of patents, licensees, royalties, spin-off creation, etc. and it also became an institutional goal although instruments and procedures are still in pilot phases in many European universities.

5. Increasing the visibility of universities in society

An important issue for all universities is the ways in which they connect to the wider world. Key questions include: how to increase the influence of technical universities in society?; how to reach at the average citizen?; how to increase their global visibility?.

The answers to the above mentioned questions are not universal because historical contexts in specific countries and the starting point of universities in their regions or cities should be taken into account. We are fully convinced on the need to devote specific attention to dissemination of activities, to engage citizens, to open doors because the level of support to universities will depend on the way that universities are understood as a part of the solution of societal problems and not a source of them.

1.3.2. Main findings on research support structures and resources management

WP2 has focused the efforts towards the understanding of the evolution of 'research structures' as a consequence of the contextual changes presented above by identifying, analysing and sharing best practices in the research management processes in three selected fields:
- Research strategy (e.g. identification, alignment, finding synergies and complementarities, structures, quality control and impact assessment)
- Research support services (structures to support the researchers in their participation in R&D funding programmes, e.g. EU & National Project Offices, fund raising, R&D programme promotion, administrative, legal, auditing and financial reporting support)
- Human resources for R&D (e.g. career management, education, incentives and reward system, mobility and internationalization

Technical universities do not live in an isolated context. They should compete over the world (and not only in the local context where they are located) for the best doctorate students, post docs or professors, for research projects or simply for attracting the interest of the private sector where multinationals address their demands to any university capable of solving their necessities. At the end, their global relevance will depend on the success in this international competition. For this reason, research internationalization policy is not a secondary element in research strategy but a key element for ensuring their sustainable competitiveness.

University clustering at international level has proved to be an effective way to facilitate the exchange of know-how and good practices among institutions. Alliances of Universities can contribute to find common solutions to face the current difficulties faced individually.

European universities are fully convinced that their participation in community activities within the EU or even outside Europe is an essential requirement. Nevertheless, the impact of this process in the internal structures is not always visible. We have noticed two different approaches: to create a specific 'internationalization structure' (even at the vice presidency level) or to embed the internationalization in all university activities and units.

Research internationalisation dimension in the research strategy can be explained in a 'staircase model' where lower levels are still useful when moving upwards:

- Participation in international networks. Universities are progressively linked to networks of universities at the national and international level. Some of them group universities with similar features (i.e. technical ones) while in other cases, are focused on specific domains. The participation in these networking activities constitutes an excellent mechanism to exchange ideas or experiences and it is widely accepted. Nevertheless, the commitments are very low and individual university policies are not directly affected by its participation in one specific network.

- Participation in international projects. A higher level of short-term commitment comes from the participation in a project with other entities.

A good example of this type of activity is the participation in Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), ESA or EUREKA to mention three different R&D international programmes. In spite of its relevance, global policies of the university are not altered although some universities have created specific units to support researchers in their participation. The most important constraint comes from the fact that the participation in a consortium is limited in time (3-5 years) and there is no commitment to pursue it at the end.

- Creation of joint research centres. A step forward in the definition of long-term agreements is the creation of a joint research centre. Under these terms we can find multiple possibilities (from small joint labs to large centres with huge investments). A common feature is the institutional will to give temporal stability to this type of adventure. Within this framework, a possible movement is to give these joint centres a different legal personality. Even if this approach is potentially more powerful, a lot of practical problems should be solved (funds, personnel allocations, etc.) before approving it.

- Development of innovative models of interaction between universities and the private sector. These include framework agreements, inclusive of research, technology transfer and education activities, which assume that the cooperation is managed at CEO-level, and more aggressive approaches based, for instance, on joint ventures between universities and companies, so as to enable joint risk and business benefits. These activities are basically agreed with big companies.

- Location of university units in third countries. Some European universities have started to deploy their activities in other countries (even outside Europe). In many cases, a local partner is used to facilitate the creation (even for legal constraints). Historically, these activities were generated from teaching and not for research purposes. Today, both types of activities coexist.

From the experience in running the WP2 experiences, the lessons learned from the process of adoption of a best practice indicates that the processes or restructuration have to start from an internal analysis and identification of the weaknesses and strengths, compared with the objectives of the Best Practice. In addition, all transformation of an organisation implies time and costs. Therefore, the transfer would fail without a deep analysis of time and costs of the implementation. The benefits expected from the re-engineering or transformation of a service organisation must be quantified to be able to define a return plan of the initial investment.

To have a clear roadmap of all these steps, the drafting of an action plan is essential. The plan should include the different activities planned to transfer the good practice such as the organization of internal meetings to report on the visit at the originating institution, feasibility study, identification of the resources to be involved, production of supporting material, etc.

In this frame of reference, and based on their identified best practice, ULAB Universities propose the following recommendations for the improvement of the 'Technical University of tomorrow':

Increase international dimension: research internationalization policy is a key element for ensuring the sustainable competitiveness of technical universities.

To reach this aim is strategic to consolidate working contacts among university similar offices (i.e. EU offices) so as to set up a systematic method to proceed and interact. It's similarly important to increase participation to international networks.

Go towards smart specialization: This concept implies to focus their activities in some scientific areas and the institutional decision to move there available resources.

Today, in any average university, all scientific and technological areas receive similar attention (weighted by the number of faculty members or enrolled students) in distribution of resources or in their participation in governance structures. The trend is that some areas which have received excellent external evaluations in some aspects (research, teaching, valorisation, etc.) are selected to build up the international relevance through additional resources and more weight in governance structures.

Smart specialisation allows addressing multidisciplinary challenges bringing together expertise spread out on different areas of the university. The domains chosen must be in accordance with the University's ecosystem and its industrial partners, most of the time limited to the regional level, but more and more considering the globalised market.

Widen the range of interaction with industry: University should combine various types of cooperation with industry not only at local level but internationally, according to its needs.

This objective can be done starting from the usual framework agreements, inclusive of research, technology transfer and education activities, to more aggressive approaches based, for instance, on joint ventures between universities and companies until to the co-habitation in the same campus of universities and companies.

Human resources management for research constitutes an aspect of fundamental importance where special attention should be paid to the following three aspects:

- Investing in Doctoral Training, not only as preparatory phase for academic career but also for employability in the private sector.
- Implementing the Charter and Code proposed by the European Commission in order to attract excellent researchers on a worldwide scale,
- Involving industries or other non-academic bodies in the doctoral projects, so that excellent PhD candidates can work together with innovative firms, in order to develop industrial doctorate programs of high quality.

1.3.3. Main findings on valorization

The agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education system invites universities to diversify their income streams, to strengthen the knowledge triangle between education, research and business, and to strengthen ties with the regional economy. As technical universities generate research results and new technologies, which form their intellectual property (IP), the commercialisation process of their intellectual property can be seen as a way to potentially achieve these aims.

Most European technical universities have implemented technology transfer offices (TTOs) and delegated the responsibility for IP valorisation to these new organisational units. The commercialisation of IP is potentially a way to diversify university funding . Also, universities are to step up their links with the industry. At this moment, the performance of these TTOs could often be improved. This suggests a potential to increase university performance in knowledge transfer, and to thereby strengthen the ties with the economy.

Best practices on valorization

The following section aims at giving a summary of the research conducted in the first phase of the project. A detailed description of best practices and results can be found in D3.1.

Technology identification. Basic research yields practical applications, often as an unanticipated outcome of major science and technology breakthroughs. However, if these outcomes remain undetected, they can neither be leveraged for the university, the society nor the industry. Therefore it is very important that universities make use of appropriate means for technology identification. In general there are two strategies concerning the identification of new technologies, which are based on the decision whether to conduct active technology scouting or not and let researchers contact to the TTOs on their own initiative. In contrast to universities in the United States, active technology scouting is not common in European universities mainly due to the high cost involved. European universities mostly follow a rather passive approach which leads to a greater responsibility of the researchers. Although some researchers have incorporated patent strategy into their work methodology, a fundamental problem concerning technology identification exists. Traditionally, academics are researchers and teachers, who lack the economic experience concerning the management of IP and the protection of research results. In order to complement the basic university activities - research and education - the ULAB universities have started to introduce information programmes. These programmes aim to make researchers aware of the need for protection and to inform them about the supporting structures that exist within the universities' framework.

Management and protection of results. Universities should raise awareness among researchers about the importance of protecting the IP originating from researchers' inventions and discoveries. Also, it must be identified when a result is suitable for protection. Then, support must be provided for patenting.

All ULAB universities are strongly committed to the development and management of an IP portfolio. The intellectual property rights (IPRs) may or may not be owned by the university. In the case of UPM, TUM, Polito and Oxford, all IP generated by the academics working at these universities is owned by the university. For Polito, in some cases, the professors own the IP. ParisTech mentions a quite different approach. IP is usually assigned to the university or industrial research partners with the aim to maintain and expand the existing IP base and to support the respective missions of the research partners. Thereby, especially the continuation of research and teaching for ParisTech and the exploitation of the IP for the industrial partners are important aspects.

All ULAB universities experience that good and clear regulations are the basis to managing and commercialising their IP. These regulations on university IP are often a mix of national law and university policy, which is often developed by the university itself.

The organisational structure that deals with IP at the ULAB universities is remarkably similar. Commonly, academic inventors are to disclose their invention to the university office that deals with IP. This office is part of the professional services of the university. For all ULAB universities except ParisTech, each invention is assigned a dedicated patent manager that takes care of the entire process from protection to commercialisation of the invention. The actual commercialisation of the patent can then be done by the university itself (TUM, Polito), but is sometimes also done by a specialised external company (Oxford).

The whole process from invention to commercialisation is supported by structured forms for the disclosure of inventions. These forms are meant to clarify the procedure to all parties involved in the intended patent application. The information provided with these forms is needed to assess whether the IP is patentable and if there is a commercial outlet for the invention that is sufficiently large to justify the investment of resources.

Commercialisation of research results. Once patented, a professional body must valorise the results, write information sheets to describe the technology, analyse the market and identify potential licensees. The ULAB universities all make a clear decision whether to commercialise an invention or not. Typically, inventions are commercialised when mid-term sales (3 to 5 years) are expected, or a customer has been found. Most ULAB partners are rather proactive in finding transaction partners for their IP, whereas there are also occasions where universities are contacted by industrial parties in order to obtain technologies. In this case, the patent functions as a promotional tool that shows that the university has capacities in a certain field. This demand-side approach can be facilitated through information on the website and databases with expertise of the research groups and academics. Oxford, Polito and TUM mentioned using one-pagers to communicate the technologies and patents available for licensing.

In the proactive approach, IP is typically presented to a network of potential customers, which makes relationship building a key success factor of technology commercialisation. Therefore the organisational structures and processes to support the establishment of new relationships or to maintain existing relationships with industry partners and potential licensees are very important.

After having established contacts to parties that are interested in a technology or an invention owned by the university, licensing contracts and royalty agreements need to be negotiated. In addition to establish new and maintain existing relationships to industry partners, i.e. potential licensees, it is important that universities offer the appropriate support to the inventors in order to make the negotiation of licensing contracts with the licensees successful. At all ULAB partner universities, the TTO and sometimes in addition the office in charge of research contracts are responsible for the negotiation of licensing contracts. Often professionals of the legal department or even external patent attorneys then support the writing of the contracts.

Universities as regional gates to the high-tech highway

Based on the best practices identified in the first phase of the project, a pilot project was carried out in the second phase. For detailed description of the pilot project, the methodology and research results, see project document D3.2 'Universities as regional gates to the high-tech highway: A pilot of universities creating infrastructure to better enable a region to access international knowledge and technology and international business'.

The concept of the pilot ULAB work package 3 – amongst other things – set an aim to step up commercialisation activities for university IP on an international level, enhance awareness of universities as business partners, try to attract companies of the region to the universities and try to connect regional clusters internationally.

To achieve this aim, a pilot project was designed that involved the five ULAB partners visiting several international fairs across Europe: Genera (Madrid, May), Venturefest (Oxford, June), Nanotech Italy (Venice, November), and Materialica (Munich, October).

The pilot project has been designed to create a comprehensive understanding on the topics mentioned. Currently, agenda for the modernisation of Europe's higher education system invites universities to focus on the region they are located in. This pilot is an experiment for the ULAB universities to strengthen the innovative performance of the region they are located in by becoming a gate to other regions to import and export knowledge and technology internationally. The pilot aims to complement the exchange of knowledge (e.g. academic papers) with an exchange of technology and innovation. Note that Ho and Verspagen (2004) find that, even within multinationals, patent citations remain predominantly within a region, suggesting that the international transfer of technology (excluding commercial products) is challenging. This aspect, together with the aim to step up IP valorisation both in quantity and internationality, have shaped the design of the pilot project, which is based on the visit of trade fairs on an international level and presenting locally developed technologies.

The benefits aimed for Potential benefits of this pilot project - universities visiting international fairs - would be a shift in activities from the mostly national university technology valorisation towards the more valuable international patents. The fairs presumably offer a larger share of potential partners in innovation that have two necessary preconditions: the capacity to absorb this knowledge, and the open approach to innovation required for collaboration. Especially companies having both preconditions are expected to take part in the technology trade fairs selected. Moreover, trade fairs are usually focused on specific topics, sectors, or technologies and thus could potentially provide a good platform for universities to liaise with industry partners. As side effects, the universities may promote the innovative focus of the region internationally (e.g. cars, nanotechnology, ICT) and thereby attract similar innovative activity to their region and moreover could position universities as potential innovation partners for companies. Ultimately, universities would become a region's gate to the 'world library of knowledge and technology'.

The outcomes of the pilot Based on the research strengths of the universities participating in the events, fairs across Europe were selected to present university technology. The full procedure to identify both fairs and technologies to present at those fairs has been disclosed for use by other universities (see chapter 3 of D3.2).

The participants to the fairs received a questionnaire after their participation. The answers to these questionnaires give an impression on the outcomes of the fair participation. The people participating in the fairs were mostly academics or staff of the TTO. They presented mostly between two and six technologies or patents at the fair, preferably through keynotes, multimedia presentations and personal talks. The participation in the fair was mostly seen by the participants as a success for the participating institution, which brings potential to step up the commercialisation of university technologies and intellectual property, and is well worth the effort. This all also holds for the international level. For most participants, the fairs typically should have a focus on a specific technological topic.

The TTOs of the ULAB partners that hosted the (access to) the fairs were generally happy to have the (technologies of) other ULAB partners presented at the fairs. The participants all gained a range of (international) business contacts, and one feasibility study was initiated. Possibly, the results increase with both time, and the number of technologies presented at fairs. The participants emphasised that the contacts gained can be expanded to stable (international) collaborations. Participation in fairs stimulates learning processes. Participating universities learn on possible applications of their technology, and enhance their skills in fair participation. Companies become more aware of the possibility to partner with universities for the purpose of innovation.

Policy recommendations

Universities are recommended to further explore the opportunities to step up commercialisation by visiting fairs. This strengthens the knowledge triangle between research, education and business. Moreover, the university strengthens the ties with the regional economy. Moreover, by inviting international partners in innovation, universities can become a region's 'gate' to international knowledge, technology and business. The participation of international partners in innovation helps to connect excellence across Europe.

Governments and the European Commission are recommended to support universities willing to further develop similar initiatives.

1.3.4. Main findings on Entrepreneurship

Modern societies are convinced on the need of increasing the role of Universities in providing better hopes for graduates if they are prepared to launch their own business. Then, apart from the necessary technical knowledge in one specific engineering field, students should also understand other technical knowledge related to business issues. Furthermore, they should master some non-technical skills related to entrepreneurship.

To be able to cope with this challenge, technical universities should have not only specific courses or seminars where these skills can be obtained; they should also have an entrepreneur mentality. This mentality is not an isolated feature; it is firmly rooted in the entrepreneur mentality of the context where the University is located. Both internal and external perspectives interact and complement each other.

In the past decades, some experiences in spin-off creation or the evolution of business incubators have proliferated in European universities. Organizing business plan competitions makes possible numerous and various benefits, going from invention of new business idea, to dissemination of entrepreneurial spirit.

These competitions have permitted to launching of many spin-offs in the recent decade, but also have an educational dimension, in order to acquire relevant skills in the field of project management and business unit management. They help them to socialize and get them ready to understand and practice teamwork values.

Inside this motherhouse, it will help changing behaviour, mentalities and attitudes toward innovation, and also help installing a spirit of initiative and creativity, with cross-fertilisation between the various components of, for example, an university (laboratories, professors and researchers, staff, students, alumni, industrial partners, parents associations, local authorities, etc.).

Outside, it may initiate a salutary change of image (like a quality and efficiency label), facilitate alliances and play a bridge-building role. For a manufacturer or an independent laboratory, spin-off or spin-in opportunities can be brought. New research contracts might result from these relationships.

For these reasons, it is essential to master and manage the whole processes of creation for such a structure: goals to achieve, services to provide (also in terms of the quality of services), rules and ethics, duration of housing, incubator's own business model, choice of resource management modality, etc.

Concerning entrepreneurship, a dual current trend exists among the ULAB partners:
- A centrifugal trend with a convergence in areas such as business plan competition, team building of training, etc.
- A centripetal trend, when universities must choose the model appropriate to their level of resources and to their economic and technological environment. In that context, the way they will prioritize their practices about supporting entrepreneurship will be the expression of local constraints and opportunities.

From the experience in the ULAB project, there is a consensus to incorporate entrepreneurial skills in all level of education, grade, master and doctoral with the goal of training the European entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

This objective implies the support to researchers and students to create start-ups and to give support to start-ups in their early life with the following activities:
- Business plan training
- Access to venture capital
- Provide office room and services (incubators)
- Facilitate international contacts and infrastructure network

The core of the WP4 Pilot is focused on start-ups and spin-offs having entered an active phase, and at every stage of the business life cycle. In particular it intends to facilitate partnerships, business-to-business linkages and for example strategic agreements for commercialization of integrated services and products within their respective markets.

From this perspective, this Pilot must not be regarded just as a series of cooperation actions, but above all as a challenge taken up by five partners, requiring solidarity and adaptability to other members. This challenge requires a high level of expertise and professionalism from all the members, and involves a subtle alchemy between junior and senior entrepreneurship practitioners: creating partnerships between start-ups from different countries is a complex and multi-faceted task.

The geographical scope of this Pilot is not confined to the five countries represented by these universities, but it can move outside these limits. For example, Madrid UPM can be viewed as a gateway to Spanish speaking countries such as South and Central America: 'Access to Iberoamerican Entrepreneurship network (RedEmprendia sponsored by Santander Bank) considering U-lab companies as UPM ones'

-This network of incubators or science & technology parks can be seen as a community where each member will open its services to other members, on a reciprocal and transparent basis. More accurately, WP4 could be described as a network of networks, because each of its members has already forged local ties and industrial relationships with many interlocutors: industrialists, found raisers, venture capitalists, local authorities, researchers, students, professors, alumni, tutors and advisors, etc.

It is intended to have a general audience, including students and entrepreneurs at a very early stage (Torino's 'Start-up weekend' and 'Entrepreneurs night', Munich's 'Start-up evening' and Summer school, etc: 'Where researchers, students, entrepreneurs and start-ups can easily interact and work together is a critical factor' – Politecnico di Torino, 'Where people and ideas come together. The event is a marketplace for ideas and talented people' - TUM).

'The Startup Weekend in Torino gave us an opportunity to put those ideas to the test among an entrepreneurial community. This has both, validated our thinking and provided an opportunity to pursue this idea further. "Before, the idea was academic and relatively abstract in conception.'

The five institutions who gave their contribution are all active in this area, with business incubators or assimilated entities: -The Scientific and Technological Park of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, - The UnternehmerTum of the Munich TUM, -The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and ISIS innovation Ltd, University of Oxford, -The ParisTech Entrepreneurs incubator of ParisTech,-The I3P Incubatore of the Politecnico di Torino. Altogether, they represent a total of several hundreds of successful technological start-ups launched and supported

Furthermore, it would be necessary to jointly define and agree on a common metric summing up what 'success' is, in order to quantify the results, especially in the long term. We do not believe that such a universal metric could exist.

Offices of all ULAB S&T parks responsible for incubating and giving support to their spin-offs, are opening their services to other ULAB partners.
As well, ULAB is promoting alliances and partnerships for further establishment of synergies between the start-ups, exchange markets and definition of strategic agreements for commercialization of integrated services and products within their respective markets.

1.3.5. Main findings on outreach and connection to society

Public engagement efforts can support technology transfer and the diffusion of innovations; create connections between research and teaching; and help underpin the important contribution universities make to society. Indeed, outreach and public engagement is currently high on the agenda of many European universities, and increasingly academics are expected to effectively engage with the public; particularly in a context where science and innovation are viewed as central to the progress of a society (European Commission, 2006; Wilsdon and Willis, 2004) and where citizens are increasingly central within the process of scientific decision making (Benneworth, 2010).

We define outreach and public engagement in its broadest sense to incorporate all forms of interaction with individuals and organisations outside the university. This may include, for example, initiatives that engage with schoolchildren and / or their teachers, interactions with commercial organisations that lead to new technological developments, or activities that connect with policymakers and support the policy making process (Burchell et al., 2009; European Commission, 2008).

The nature of public engagement and outreach not only vary significantly in terms of the purposes and objectives of the activity, but also in the kinds of methods used, from surveys, focus groups, citizens' juries, stakeholder dialogues (Wilsdon and Willis, 2004) to social networking; and in the audiences (children, older adults, teachers etc) they seek to engage. Indeed, this diversity was reflected both in our data gathering within each of the five partner institutions (deliverable 5.1) and across Europe in the online competition (deliverable 5.2)

Through our activities for WP5 (a literature review, three workshops and the hosting of an online competition) it was apparent that despite the obvious importance of public engagement, universities are facing a number of key challenges in this area. In broad terms, these relate to determining the most appropriate ways of carrying out and evaluating outreach, creating organisational environments and supporting individuals, such as through rewarding, in ways that lead to meaningful and valued public engagement activities, and ensuring public engagement activities remain high on university agendas despite reductions in higher education funding felt by many European countries.

Below we briefly outline the outcomes and recommendations of this work package in line with these three areas:

Conducting and evaluating outreach and public engagement activities

This project has supported good practice in conducting and evaluating public engagement activities in four main ways:
1) A set of a wide range of good practice case studies from the five partner institutions (deliverable 5.1) that interested parties can apply to their own contexts.
2) The provision of a searchable, online repository of over 100 good practice case studies from across Europe that will continue to be available to all beyond the life of the project (see http://www.engageawards.org/all-entries online) that interested parties can apply to their own contexts. The website also includes an online bibliography of resources for designing effective public engagement/outreach initiatives, setting clear goals, and measuring impact. The website is popular, and received 35, 189 unique visitors between February and October 2012.
3) A planning worksheet for public engagement initiatives that we developed based on recommendations from the literature, funding bodies, national experts, and the competition winners. This worksheet is valuable for planning all phases of the initiative from inception to evaluation (see deliverable 5.2).
4) Highlighting and reiterating (Rowe and Frewer, 2005) the particular challenges of measuring the impact of public engagement, stressing the need to consider the most appropriate forms of measurement and questioning the extent to which we should be measuring depth versus breadth of impact. We suggest that there is a need to strive for multifaceted and longitudinal forms of evaluation and that this may best be achieved by designing engagement activities that are more closely embedded into the research process (see deliverable 5.1 and 5.2).
Capacity building and cultural change: from the bottom up to the top down

A key issue for European Universities is to try and build capacity and change the culture within the research community to support public engagement activity (e.g. Wolcott and Sengupta, 2010). This requires changes from all actors at all levels.

While there can be no prescription for how this can be achieved, as university and country cultures vary significantly, we have aimed to support these needs via:
1) The holding of three events which provided a space in which to discuss public engagement and compare practice within and across different institutions. Each of these events had a focus on capacity building and cultural change and brought together actors from different levels (deliverable 5.1 and 5.2).
2) The hosting of the online competition where good practice in public engagement and outreach was recognized and rewarded. This was achieved via the requirement for all submissions to the competition to be supported by a member of senior management (thus ensuring recognition within the university) the use of a public vote and three prizes of 5000 EUR for the best entries (thus ensuring recognition institutionally and Europe wide). Recognition of the importance of outreach and the career benefits of engaging in activities are much needed to support cultural change (deliverable 5.2)
3) From our own activities, and building on the work of others (e.g. see Abreu, et al., 2009, Burchell et al., 2009) we have highlighted the potential benefits of seeing outreach and public engagement activities embedded within the lifecycle of the project, greater collaboration both within and across universities, additional outlets for academic publication on outreach, and organizational strategies that nurtures individual creativity and responsibility with regards to public engagement, whilst being supported by the institution (deliverable 5.1 and 5.2).

Supporting outreach and engagement in times of austerity

A central challenge for outreach and engagement is one of resources. To some extent public engagement and outreach is suffering in the current cost cutting climate for the higher education sector across Europe. This is often because it is difficult to demonstrate the impact or tangible value of outreach activities. While at the EU level (e.g. in the funding FP7 programs) and in some of the partner countries investment in engagement activities is apparent in various forms, there has, in the majority of European countries, been an overall reduction in resources for higher education. This reduction has implications for public engagement as central budgets to facilitate such activities have reduced in recent years. In the area of outreach, this problem is particularly acute, since many across the sector view outreach as not necessitating significant resource investment.

This means that those working in outreach need to consider ways of achieving more with less. In this project we have:
1) Raised awareness of this issue by providing examples of possible ways to provide 'more with less' both via the online repository of good practice cases (deliverable 5.2) and sharing of activities amongst the five partner organizations (deliverable 5.1).
2) By placing an emphasis on 'sustainability' as one of the key criteria for the outreach awards. Sustainability is a multifaceted concept that can include considerations about the cost of activity, the level it was embedded into institution, the extent to which it could be / or had been copied or rolled out to other places, whether nationally or internationally, or evidence that it has created new dialogues and new structures around a particular topic. Sustainability was also often a challenging area for competition entrants to address (deliverable 5.2).
3) Recommended a range of potential strategies: from the use of new media to support multiplier effects, thinking about ways to increase the longevity or sustainability of the initiative, considering sponsorship, the development of marketable engagement kits that could be sold to schools or other audiences, collaboration, and the importance of considering institutionally about how activities can be maintained whilst having minimal impact on future resources (deliverable 5.1 and 5.2).

This approach provides options for individuals considering outreach across the universities of Europe, which can help them build on existing initiatives and further innovation in one of the most important strategic areas of universities in the global era of worldwide research.

Towards a reform roadmap of European Technical Universities

The modernization of universities in the context of the European Union is still an open issue. The Horizon 2020 will offer also a very rich context for European universities to reaffirm their role.

We postulate, however, that European technical universities should go from the discussion and description of their own initiatives to pilot experiences which should be shared in a more intra-European context. The term 'modelling the technical university of tomorrow' used by ULAB project reflects the common will to learn from the experience, the commitment to implement at home some ideas previously explored by others and with their support. As previous sections have demonstrated, these examples (briefly mentioned in 'boxes' scattered through the text picked up from ULAB deliverables) address some of the global trends identified until now. Nevertheless, much more work is needed to extend the experiences and to embed them in sound and stable structural reforms.

Four main drivers for structural reform affect in a different way from the individual researcher to a cluster of universities located in different countries.

Individual universities should define their own roadmaps for implementing structural reforms. National or regional governments have enough tools to drive this process by simultaneously giving universities enough freedom to define their own way. All actors involved in the University system are committed in their success.

Four key areas for technical research universities to develop are addressed in the four ULAB workpackages, and here are ways to move forward in each area, with more or less confidence in particular initiatives, depending on the evidence to date, but with a need to expand the initial effort in ULAB and continue to track the success of initiatives in these areas.

Nevertheless, much more work is needed to extend the experiences and to embed them in sound and stable structural reforms. Of course European technical universities should go from the discussion and description of their own initiatives to pilot experiences which should be shared in a more intra-European context. European universities can therefore take advantage of the successful approaches used in other universities and adapt them to specific national contexts. For this reason ULAB partners firmly believe in the need of supporting internal reforms based on an international mutual learning.

European technical universities are in a transition process where other elements are shaping the structural reform of universities. Support to research internationalisation and strategic alliances, valorisation, entrepreneurship, and outreach are jointly moving from isolated experiences or anecdotic structures in universities to become key factors to increase the role of universities in society. The cases presented in ULAB are witnesses of this major shift.

This model is rapidly evolving when universities integrate the accumulated experience. The international context will be embedded in the daily operation of all functions of the university (teaching, research, outreach, entrepreneurship, valorisation, etc.). Simultaneously, the so-called additional activities (third mission) where valorisation, entrepreneurship and outreach could be placed will progressively enter into the main missions of the university because these ones cannot be fully realised without them.

Potential impact:

The main objective of the project at this point has been to disseminate the results of the research and experimental phases of ULAB project, demonstrating the benefits of internationalization, networking and exchange of know-how. Partners have used, as dissemination channels, their national associations and the existing European clusters and associations, like EUA or CESAER. The target audience of project dissemination activities has been the European Universities, their associations and their existing networks, the education, research and innovation regional and national authorities, the European Commission relevant directorates, other University stake-holders and European representative associations of research and non-scientific staff.

Dissemination activities have been performed through face to face meetings with policy makers and experts, newsletters and mainly through on-line tools, like the ULAB website:
http://www.ULAB-fp7.eu

ULAB was one of the projects regularly supported by EUA in its Newsletters, as the following pictures shows as an example.


With regard to on-line dissemination, the ULAB platform http://www.ULAB-fp7.eu plays a key role in spreading the project activities, together with Newsletters issued by the project and one-to-one marketing through e-mail.

But due to the fact that the project has an important relevance for policy makers at European Universities, personal contact has been prioritized as one of the most effective ways of spreading what ULAB is, its main objectives, and the most important, its relevant outputs. This way, contacts with all National University Associations in the 5 countries represented in ULAB, and the EUA and CESAER Associations, have been established.

Thanks to this close links with EUA and CESAER, a very fruitful workshop between ULAB partners and SMART project, supported by CESAER, took place on the 18th October 2011 in Turin. The CESAER SMART initiative was set up with the aim of identifying, developing and spreading good practices on the key issues of the modernization of the agenda for research oriented universities. The initiative is aimed in particular at the strategic orientation and management of university based research, financing of research, and the integration of the knowledge triangle at engineering and technology universities.

After presentations on project results from both sides, a debate among all participants was initiated with a common understanding of collaborating in the future in order to take added value from the evident synergies.

It is worth to mention that the main activity of dissemination started just after the publication of the first deliverables, as it was the moment when first results could be displayed. Therefore, it was in the second year, with the completion of the workshops in each participating country, when a greater number of key stakeholders was reached, when the project consequently achieved greater impact.

Significant results

1. Dissemination material

Basic dissemination material was designed by UPM, such as the ULAB logo, a presentation for ULAB promotion, a flyer, templates for ULAB documents and presentations as well as a number of press releases to dissemination issues. All this material is available on the ULAB website.

An ULAB Flyer was designed and produced to be disseminated by the partners to their National Associations and to support their request for organizing a National event to present project final outcomes


Furthermore, invitation letters, logistic information and other specific promotional materials have been used by partners on the occasion of internal workshops or project meetings, such as Advisory Panel and Steering Board meetings.

ULAB on the Media

The TUM had a radio broadcast on 8 April 2012. (Time: 14:04 - 18:32)
http://www.br-online.de/podcast/mp3-download/b5aktuell/mp3-download-podcast-campusmagazin.shtml

The TUM has a German ULAB website online: http://www.uniforum.info/. This site is to distribute ULAB findings amongst both German universities and German academics.

Director of Voices from Oxford (Radio) Dr Sung Hee Kim interviews Prof William Dutton and Dr Rebecca Eynon from the Oxford Internet Institute about the competition 'EngageU' organized within ULAB WP5 Phase II.
http://www.ULAB-fp7.eu/index.php/news/36-video-university-outreach-a-competition-across-europe-engageu

2. Website: public area

ULAB website represents a channel for disseminating all project activities, especially Public deliverables which report on the best practices exchanged among the five universities participating in ULAB.

The website user interface was designed to friendly access an easy-to-read content while avoiding overload of information. The structure follows a two-level menu with all pages accessible in two clicks, as maximum.

Several public sections plus one restricted area have been created.

The website was maintained during the whole life of the project, announcing future events, reporting on activities performed (press releases, newsletters and news), and disseminating the 9 Public Deliverables (4 on Best Practices, 4 on Pilots and the White Paper). It will be on-line at least one year after the project end.

Actuality of the project, its meetings, events or pilot activities were reported timely to maintain up to date information on the situation and results of the project.

This activity has been implemented through:
- 7 Press releases
- 16 News / Articles
- 13 events reported

The Portal was developed using the Joomla platform in order to easily manage all kind of content (project and partners descriptions, news, events, documents…).

Web statistics

Since ULAB website was launched in June 2011, it has received a continuous significant number of visits, taking into account that, we have statistics since 21st of November 2011.

Visitors came mainly from Europe, but also from other non-European countries.

3. Newsletters

Three Newsletters were released during the project, just after the end of the three Phases: Nov 2011, May 2012 and Dec 2012.

4. Workshops and dissemination events

Since Final Deliverables of Phase II was finished in October 2012 and the White Paper drafted, partners organized National events or participated in National events organized most of the cases by their National University Association, to present the ULAB project activities and its results and conclusions.

The target audience was Manager and staff of other National Universities and the objective was to make public the ULAB experiences and findings.

5. Project final event

The Final Event of the ULAB project took place in Brussels on 11 December 2012, at the Unioncamere Piemonte Brussels Office.

The event brought together 32 representatives from the European Commission, the European university association (EUA), the European institute of technology (EIT), European regional offices, ULAB partner institutions, and other European universities.

During the event main project outcomes were presented and a fruitful discussion among participants raised about the role of European Universities as enabler for research and innovation. The White Paper on 'How to build the research-based University of Tomorrow' was the main input to animate the debate.

List of websites:

http://www.ULAB-fp7.eu/