Major efforts have been made by the European Union to increase the fundamental interaction between research, education and innovation, as key driver of a knowledge-based society. Furthermore, the Union recognized that the relationship between the business community and the university, considering its double role as education and research institution, is of strategic importance for a modern vision of future and development. Several “case-studies”, made across the whole Europe, have demonstrated an increase of opportunities by “structured business-university partnerships”, especially in industrial innovation and social deployment.
At the same time, beyond all the official aspirations to enlarge the “collaborative friendships” between Industrial and Academic worlds, a genuine and functional networking is something very hard to accomplish everywhere in Europe and, particularly, in the Balkans area. Until the recent past, these territories had been affected by various political, social and economical crises, leading to an high fragmentation of scientific knowledge and deep impoverishment of the productive infrastructure.
Nowadays, existing obstacles and divisions have to be rapidly removed to avoid serious delays in innovation and a potential “point of no return” for regional competitiveness. On the other side of the Adriatic Sea, Italian institutions and enterprises are strongly interested in this developing area, as marked by recent industrial investments.
Large prominent companies from Italy (as FIAT, Iveco, Magneti Marelli, Telecom Italia and others) find the West Balkan environment profitable for their business, preferring it to other developing countries, but lamenting the infrastructural shortage of technical and educational facilities. A partnership, made of 23 different partners/associates over 5 countries, will directly connect 8 universities with 5 public institutions and 10 private subjects, enterprises and consortia of enterprises.
This trans-national association aims to promote and facilitate the contact among Educational and Business galaxies, creating “new channels and methods of communication”. Considering that public institutions, private consortia inside the partnership will act in the name and for the interests of their public and business associates, it is evaluated that Adria-HUB impacts directly over more than 120 protagonists of social and economic life in the Adriatic region. Moreover, large business associations (like Chambers of Commerce and Public/Private Associations) are going to widely spread methods and outcomes generated in the partnership.
Specifically, Adria-HUB intends to institutionalize relationships and integrations acting on different levels:
1. Political Approach: merging interests and efforts for common purpose, overcoming divisions between populations inherited from past;
2. Educational Evolution: comparing education models and effects, pushing the university curricula toward the needs of industry;
3. Social Action: reinforcing the employment of young people and their correct positioning on the labour-market;
4. Implementation of ICT: creating an advanced web-oriented platform to connect data and information all over the Adriatic region;
5. Workforce Straightening: merging individual skills and industrial needs towards the recruitment of the most appropriate professionals;
6. Transfer of Technology: providing industrial needs for technology to the universities as source of innovation;
7. Research and Development: forwarding the R&D efforts and capabilities of university partners toward a “business-driven research”;
8. Industrial Innovation: focusing resources and attention on a specific industrial sector, the wood processing industry, relevant for the whole area;
9. Eco-sustainability in production: developing methods and prototype solutions in respect to environmental and eco-friendly aspects.