October 18, 2021

Linking academic to industry: It’s mandatory and still feasible!


Alliances and networking with higher education institutions and research centres have become critical success factors for industry to stay competitive. The interactions between knowledge centres and industry have moved beyond a one-way flow of knowledge from universities to industry in many parts of the world.  UfM (Union for the Mediterranean) has organised on last 21 and 22 October 2021 with the support of GIZ, an online training focused on Tunisia case-study and the linkages between academia and industry.

After having offered a theoretical overview of the Triple Helix Model of Innovation -a set of interactions between academia, industry and government, to foster economic and social development- as a general framework, participants were invited to rethink cooperation between HEIs and research centres to address the needs of the industry through research topics required by their national contexts. Potential approaches were presented, including collaborative doctorates, industrial placements in the framework of masters’ programmes, and other hybrid degrees that connect theory to practice. Examples of best practice initiatives were given as viewed through the lens of the Triple Helix in terms of how the different players can strengthen collaboration and move towards a community of practice in the region.

UNIMED has contributed to this training (see the programme of the event) through the participation of Ms. Silvia Marchionne, Project Manager, with an intervention of the necessity to improve university governance, quality of teaching and internationalisation in order to cope with employability of graduates and PhD researchers

The online training stressed the need of an organisational change and a culture shift, as we have to move from a traditional one-way or closed knowledge transfer towards a more open exchange between academia, industry, and policymakers to create an environment that better prepares graduates with the skills they need to address complex societal issues.

This online training fits in the framework of the UfM initiative to reinforce the Innovation-Employability Nexus in the Mediterranean, launched in 2020 where the UNIMED SubNetwork on Employability has also contributed in different ways last year from a series of webinars on the topic to the UfM publication, which is a handbook of best practices to reinforce the tandem Innovation and Employability.

The initiative targets universities, research centres, policymakers, industry, and intermediary institutions to collaborate in addressing the unemployment of highly qualified graduates. It further supports UfM’s objective to establish a Community of Practice, bringing together experts and practitioners from public authorities, social partners, and civil society organisations, to discuss, assess and disseminate experience and good practices covering the priorities set forth by the Ministries centred around youth employment.

Building on the lessons learned during the trainings and previous activites, a high-level Forum on Innovation and Employability will be hosted by the UfM digitally on 18 November.

Please stay tuned!