EUE-Net roots and synergy with other projects

 

In November 1998 University Transylvania Brasov hosted an International Conference under the main title ”Universities in their social and economical environment”. 40 lectures and rapports were presented during the two days of the meeting grouped on 4 workshops. The participants were representatives of universities, of industrial enterprises, of social organizations from Romania and other European countries.

 

Two years before the Brasov Conference, in October 96, another university town in Romania- Craiova hosted a Conference in the same thematic frame, entitled “The University/ Industry cooperation - a double-way relation”.

 

In October 2000, another Conference, this time dedicated to Continuing and Open Distance Learning but also involving the connection between academic and nonacademic institutions was held in Sibiu .

 

All these meetings were organized under the auspices of TEMPUS Programme coordinated in Romania by Prof. Dan Grigorescu and as a result, in 2004 the Erasmus Thematic Network “EUI-Net” (European University Industry Network) was launched.

 

EUI-Net legacy

 

Project EUI-Net was the first initiative at European coverage that launched debates on the topic generic and explicitely entitled “University-Industry cooperation”. It should be mentioned that the term “Industry” was defined within the network scope as encompassing a wide range of non-academic partners, from large enterprises and SME’s to associations, chambers of commerce and other NGO’s relevant for the topic.

 

Project EUI-Net included a number of 83 partners and has a goal to identify the main challenges of the topic. For this purpose, the main tools of the Network have been created and set in motion (Annual EUI-Net conferences, Newsletters, establishment of the legal status of the EUI-Net Network etc).

 

One strategic decision of EUI-Net is related to the principle of its mission according to which the Network approach is “to identify natural cooperation mechanisms between Universities and Enterprises based on existing best practice” and establish these best practices as benchmark for quality. As a result, in the second part of the project a series of debates has been launched in order to establish the Network priorities. Following these debates, in the last EUI-Net project year a comprehensive agenda has been launched for the period 2007-2010. The agenda included three main Action Lines (AL1…AL3) that have been initiated already in the last 6 months of the project:

 

AL1: Quality of Student Placements. The last EUI-Net conference held in Rome between 14-16 May 2007 already included this issue on the presentation programme. An important number of contributions have been presented and the discussions that took place have been so intense and extensive such as one of the  workshop conclusions was that this topic should be the subject for a further EUE-Net conference and thus it has been included in the Network Agenda for 2007-2010. As a result the First EUE-Net Conference held in Brasov in 2008, was dedicated to gather and debate the necessary information for the elaboration of the EUE-Net Guidelines for Quality of Student Placements in Europe, which have been compiled by team of authors from the network to serve as a Handbook for Student Placements.

 

AL2: Career Development Offices: This action line is the continuation of the EUI-Net SIG5: Professional insertion – that was recognized as a key issue for the cooperation between University - Industry and as main indicator for employability. As a result of the work carried out in EUI-Net it has been identified that the Professional Insertion is already addressed by a specialized type of body in Europe – the Career Development Offices (CDO), which maintain databases of available positions in enterprises and databases of graduates looking for a job.

 

CDO’s have been recognized as the natural mechanisms mediating the professional insertion in Europe and the support and strengthening of this type of bodies has been adopted as a Network priority and included in EUE-Net Agenda 2007-2010 as AL2.  During EUI-Net some experiments related to the technical feasibility of database federation between various CDO’s has been investigated.

 

The goal established for the period 2007-2010 was to develop a European Network of CDO’s called CDO-Net and establish a strategy for sharing information and exchanges between the members.

 

AL3: Entrepreneurship mobility – was the third topic adopted in the last phase of EUI-Net as a priority for the future. During EUI-Net two experimental entrepreneurship visits took place and the preliminary conclusion was that these type of exchanges should continue in order to explore further the benefits of this type of mechanism. At the same time, it has been suggested that follow up student placements at the visiting entrepreneurs would be a second type of Entrepreneurial mobility to be experimented during EUE-Net.

 

Synergy with related projects

 

EUI-Net and EUE-Net inspired many actions at various levels in several countries and at European level. The most noticeable impact is the foundation of the University – Business Forum established in 2008 after numerous consultations, among which the EUE-Net coordinator meet Mrs Belen Bernardo de Quiros in late 2007 to discuss the opportunity of this type of instrument. Since 2008 a regular communication has been established between EUE-Net and the EC Forum.

 

EUI-Net has had a large scale impact, influencing the definition of LLL instruments, as within the LLP 2007-2013. While within Socrates Programme EUI-Net has been the first project involving massively non-academic partners, in the framework of LLP a dedicated category of projects has been established and as a result numerous projects have been launched to study and promote more in details the challenges of U-E cooperation.

 

 

Q-PlaNet

In this context, a project that originated directly from EUE-Net was “Q-PlaNet – Quality Placements Network”. Q-Planet capitalized the results obtained in the first year of EUE-Net and built a strategy to go one level up – i.e towards the creation of a Quality Standard for Student Placements in Europe and elaborate a set of Guidelines for the Standard Implementation at European level.

Q-PlaNet standard has been tested and validated within the project and is currently available for use at European level. One of EUE-Net priorities for the Agenda 2010-2013 is the generalization of the use of Q-PlaNet standard as a reference for Quality of Student Placements in Europe.

 

Q-PlaNet was very effective complementary project to EUE-Net that helped develop the topic and make available at European level a ready-to-use product that is going to be promoted and exploited in the next period using the entire EUE-Net Network. The activities of AL1 within EUE-Net have been closed in EUE-Net after Q-Planet launch such as no activity overlapping was possible. Moreover, a sound financial management of the EC funds has been possible by synchronizing two of the Q-PlaNet meetings with EUE-Net General Assembley (GA) – in Nicosia in 2009 and Istambul in 2010. As in both meetings, the partners gathered together for the purpose of EUE-Net GA, Q-Planet project only supported the participation of the partners that were included in EUE-Net participant list (most of them because of non-affiliation to EUE-Net).

 

CareerEU

In 2009, E|UE-Net partner P10 (EAEC) launched a project on AL 2 related to the Career Development Offices funded under LLP. Together with the activities entitled “CareerCon” that continue under EUE-Net, it is anticipated that this project will succeed to create an important momentum at European level such as to boost the University – Enterpise cooperation on this path. Thus it is expected that CreerEU Conference to take place in Athens in 2011 will gather together more than 250 participants representing CDO’s from Europe.