University-Business and university chair-Business collaboration, in a European framework

Sanuker is a Hong Kong-based company led by a team with strong ties to universities, and we believe in giving back to society some of the benefits we enjoy.

The University of Valencia was founded in 1499, and in more than five centuries the impact of its graduates on world history has been, and is, very important.

Now, from East to West, we are building a new bridge, with the purpose of exploring new paths, and contributing to a better society.

The following post is meant as the port of origin of this adventure, contextualising what a Chair is within the European framework, and how it fulfils its role as a bridge between the university and business worlds.

The European framework of University-Business collaboration.

European higher education strategies set out a number of challenges to be met:

  • Ensure long term financial sustainability;
  • Improve the quality of employability;
  • Foster entrepreneurship;
  • Encourage and facilitate the international mobility of teachers, researchers, and students, between enterprises and educational centres;
  • To adapt to the need for continuous and multidisciplinary learning;
  • Promote the establishment of a framework of cooperation and mutual understanding, to ensure the transfer of knowledge.

These strategies are articulated in the following eight initiatives:

Collaboration in R&D&I

Cooperation framework that includes R&D&I activities, research contracts, R&D&I consultancy services, innovation activities, creation of cooperation networks and alliances, scientific publications derived from research in collaboration with a company.

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Mobility of teachers and researchers

Temporary or permanent transfer of teachers and researchers to businesses, and of members of businesses to the academic field.  

Student mobility

Temporary or permanent transfer of students to the business environment.

Commercialization of results stemming from R&D

Through spin-off formulas,  inventions catalogues, patents or licences.

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Curricular development

Development of continuous learning (courses, modules, conferences) conducted by staff from public and private sectors, in degrees, master’s programmes, Doctorate programmes or vocational training programmes.

Continuous learning

Offer of training plans that include the acquisition of skills, competencies, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that are useful for all stages of life.

Entrepreneurship

Actions to foster the assumption by universities of new challenges, through the development of a culture of innovation, in collaboration with businesses.

Governance

Inclusion of representatives from the business world in university governing bodies and, similarly, the inclusion of academic staff in company decision-making and boards of directors.

In conclusion, it is a case of establishing guidelines for the development of trust and mutual commitment between universities and businesses, which will result in the establishment of shared goals geared towards common interests. This is the European concept of university-industry collaboration.

University-Business and university chair-Business collaboration, in a European framework

What is a university business chair?

A university-business chair is a means of establishing a strategic and lasting collaboration between a university and a company or entity, in order to carry out educational, research, development and innovation activities, and/or knowledge transfer in one or more areas of common interest in both directions and towards society.

They are directed by academics of recognised prestige in their fields, and with a long-standing relationship with the university hosting the chair.

For the university, it represents a direct link with the business sector and a way of obtaining short, medium and long-term funding for educational activities, dissemination of knowledge, and support for R&D&I, which are part of the university’s general interest objectives.

Interpreting the role of university-business Chairs

In the light of the above, the possibilities of actions of a U/B Chair are as broad as the imagination of its actors.

In reality, we find U/B Chairs developing very diverse activities, adapted to respond to the needs that arise at any given moment.

European universities are obliged to adopt the University Strategy 2015 (EU2015), which requires universities to incorporate University Social Responsibility (USR) into their strategic plans. In recent times, both businesses and universities have been positioning their respective university-business collaborations in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility, making collaboration much more fluid and social in nature.