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Creation of the “Knowledge-Empowered Entrepreneurship Network” to position Kaunas University of Technology at the forefront of EU research in entrepreneurship

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - KEEN (Creation of the “Knowledge-Empowered Entrepreneurship Network” to position Kaunas University of Technology at the forefront of EU research in entrepreneurship)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-11-30

Entrepreneurship research is a strategic field for Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania for which improved capabilities and access to wider international networks of peers and stakeholders is a development priority. The overall objective of the KEEN project is to strengthen the research excellence of KTU in entrepreneurship, improve its capacities to exploit and disseminate its research outputs, and enhance its ability to engage the public in its research and entrepreneurship awareness, understanding, and acceptance. KEEN tackles the challenges in a five-step plan: 1. Bring KTU to a high-level of skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship research and innovation relevant to addressing Lithuanian socio-economic problems; 2. Develop long-term academic collaborations between KTU and its partners focused on entrepreneur, strategic and sustainable entrepreneurship research; 3. Improve the capabilities of KTU to exploit, disseminate and communicate research outputs; 4. Address the Lithuanian socio-economic challenges related to entrepreneurship through actions that allow transmitting KTU’s knowledge to relevant stakeholders and engage them in research; 5. Use the project as a flagship to develop international reputation and export the concept to address similar challenges in other EU countries. During the KEEN lifespan KTU, Cranefield, St. Gallen and Wuppertal Universities succeeded to meet all five objectives mentioned above. More than 20 researchers at different career stages attended courses on research methodology. KEEN adopted and extended Paper clinic initiative which invited researchers for the paper development workshop based on peer-review and feedback activities. There was a number of workshops for entrepreneurs and wider society, among those i2i program created by Cranefield University become a flagship event that extended beyond KTU and Lithuania and hosted researchers-entrepreneurs from Latvia and Estonia. Finally, researchers attended acknowledged academic conferences, developed two case studies, two H2020 proposals, four research papers and Springer book on entrepreneurship. Finally, all the experience of the project was imbedded into the KEEN Hub, an open collaboration platform for researchers and entrepreneurs to practice paper and proposal writing, business idea development and more.
The overall objective of the KEEN project has been to strengthen the research excellence of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) (Lithuania) in entrepreneurship by improving its capacities to exploit and disseminate its research outputs, and enhance its ability to engage the public in its research and entrepreneurship awareness, understanding, and acceptance. KEEN researchers had the opportunity to attend five academic training events (Knowledge mapping workshop, Research grant development, Top Scholar seminar, i2i- Ideas to innovation workshop) where they could improve their skills in conducting top-level research in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation – fundamental skills needed to conduct computationally supported research. KEEN researchers accomplished planed short-term staff exchange with Cranefield University, UK and University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and University of Wuppertal, Germany. With the use of a knowledge-mapping tool, the consortium prepared a knowledge strategy, which has charted a way forward to implementation of the plans and initiatives for future consortium training and open training formats within the project and beyond. KEEN engaged in proposal idea development, identification of relevant calls and prepared a grant proposal to the Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) call. Catalogue of EU entrepreneurship higher education programs, research groups and academic technology transfer centres was created as an online directory, serving as a resource for parties interested in entrepreneurial education, research and innovation. KEEN continued with the implementation of the KEEN Forum program and the development of researchers' publishing competencies through training programs, events and staff exchange, raising the scientific level and quality of articles produced. Due to Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, KEEN had to take radical and innovative steps to adapt to remote working mode. All planed trainings, staff exchange, conferences and other initiatives took place online and exceeded expectations. KEEN Forum has become a signature of the KEEN project itself. KEEN has organized 24 events for business, academia and community including lectures for Lithuanian school children. Among these events, we held start¬up pitch contests, KEEN PhD colloquiums, one of the largest international conference IEEE ICTE 2021 and started running i2i- Ideas to Innovation Lithuania, 2020 and Baltic, 2021 entrepreneurship program, including start-up mentoring. Two business cases were developed - Vinted and i2i Ideas to Innovations program. A second RISE proposal was also submitted, together with four publications to high ranked journals. KEEN also developed a Springer, FGF Studies in Small Business and Entrepreneurship book of collective chapters. KEEN has become a home for many early researchers and entrepreneurs; therefore, we have also created a platform KEEN Hub. This digital platform will serve as an exploitation tool of post-project results and will certainly allow the work performed by KEEN so far to continue and further expand.
Impact 1. KEEN paper writing activities resulted in exponentially growing citations of KEEN researchers. KEEN had a significant contribution to the overall increase of the high-quality papers at the Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) School of Economics and Business. The geographical coverage based on citations reached, among other countries, Finland, Sweden, UK, China, Portugal. Impact 2. KEEN developed H2020 grant applications and stakeholder integration strategy. KEEN enabled KTU to strengthen the relationships with MITA, LitBAN and universities including Tallinn Tech, Tartu and Riga Technical, Oulu, Montpellier and other EU Universities. Impact 3. Overall, 444 participants received entrepreneurial knowledge in business orientated events for early entrepreneurs, 43 participants attended i2i Lithuania, 2020 and i2i Baltic, 2021 programs. One of the Lithuanian start-ups was awarded 1st place at the Pitch competition in Cranfield. By training and mentoring start-ups in different field of science, e.g. biotechnology, ICT, economics, KEEN contributed to different Lithuania’s S3 priorities, such as biotechnology and health technologies, ICT and inclusive and creative society. Impact 4. KEEN has increased the international visibility of KTU through the several international academic conferences. KTU KEEN team attended 11 academic conferences. Most important academic conference co-organized by KEEN, was the International Conference on Technology and Entrepreneurship (IEEE ICTE) 2021, attracted 226 participants from more than 38 countries. Impact 5. KEEN hub platform has been created, which will continue to be an entrepreneurial outreach on 3 levels: academic, business and community. KEEN Hub is a digital tool to sustain KEEN results beyond the project’s lifetime. KEEN Hub became a home base for i2i community as well as Paper hub, which continues Paper Clinic activities to support young researchers with paper writing and publishing skills.
KEEN Forum
KEEN project logic and objectives
The logic of KEEN training program
1st KEEN Forum