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

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2019-11-30

Lithuania is among widening countries identified by the European Commission. KTU is a Lithuanian higher-education institution that experiences the typical excellence and networking challenges that the Horizon 2020 Twinning call targets. Entrepreneurship research is a strategic field for KTU for which improved capabilities and access to wider international networks of peers and stakeholders is a development priority.

Motivation for the KEEN project is to close the gap in KTU entrepreneurship research and innovation excellence with leading EU countries, while encouraging entrepreneurship in the Lithuanian society through education. In the longer term, this opportunity expands to other countries in the EU with similar socio-economic gaps, therefore it is assumed that the project concept could be exported to other settings.

Entrepreneurs are considered an important asset for the European economy and society to be cultivated, motivated and promoted. Entrepreneurship has a deep impact on the way people live by creating jobs, wealth, and innovations in many areas. By creating new businesses, products or services, markets and jobs, entrepreneurs support economic development and add to national income. Through their focus on unique offerings that break traditional or obsolete systems or technologies, entrepreneurs are key contributors to innovation, which in can result in social change and economic progress.
The overall objective of the KEEN project is to strengthen the research excellence of Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania) 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.
The KEEN project will tackle the challenges in a five-step plan:
1. Bring KTU to a high-level of skills and knowledge in 3 entrepreneurship research topics that are relevant to addressing Lithuanian socio-economic problems.
2. Develop long-term academic collaborations between KTU and its partners focused on these 3 research topics.
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.
KEEN consortium has emphasized enhancing knowledge and skill of researchers, research collaborations with stakeholders, and support of entrepreneurial initiatives with relevant academic knowledge. During the first reporting period, project partners have taken several actions to initiate the rise of entrepreneurial research at KTU.
To jointly create value with an external audience KEEN consortium has organized and held the First KEEN forum, which brought together academics and business companies representatives for training sessions, round table discussions and a panel session, which has placed a strong focus on entrepreneurship education and different support measures. KEEN consortium strongly believes that KEEN forum could serve as a powerful tool and a flagship practice for the exploitation of entrepreneurial research throughout and after the project.
Collaborations with business companies and matchmaking between researchers had a strong impact on the development of a training plan for academic teams of partner institutions. Over the first reporting period, KEEN researchers had the opportunity to attend five events 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 and more. According to the training program, over the rest project period, researchers will be able to attend twelve more events improving their research capabilities.
Apart from several deliverables reported, KEEN consortium has established knowledge and grant proposal strategies. With the use of a knowledge mapping tool, consortium has prepared a knowledge strategy, which charted a way forward to implementation of the plans and initiatives for future consortium training and open training formats within the project. Further, the consortium has engaged with partners in proposal idea development, identifying grant proposal preparation preferences and prepared a grant proposal strategy, which resulted in a proposal responding to the RISE call (H2020-MSCA-RISE-2019).
Furthermore, Catalogue of EU entrepreneurship higher education programs, research groups and academic technology transfer centers was created as an online directory as a resource for parties interested in entrepreneurial education, research and innovation to locate available programs across the EU.
To improve in the scientific excellence and innovation capacity of KTU in entrepreneurship research, the consortium has worked exhaustively to ensure growth in the quality and extent of academic knowledge of KTU faculty as well as in their research skills development. From the very beginning, KEEN network creation has led to more international collaboration opportunities. Consortium has worked initially to build and strengthen both internal and external relationships.
Project partners has set up a clear strategy for knowledge spread over the second period of the project, using the platform of KEEN forum and by composing a structure of entrepreneurial knowledge transfer. To jointly create value with the project audiences, the KEEN consortium has created an event series designed to reach target groups of academics, business and general public.
The logic of training program
Knowledge Empowered Entrepreneurship Network scheme