Polish Igniting Event

On January 28th, 2019, the Polish Igniting Event for Universities of the Future project took place at the Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer Management of Warsaw University of Technology. It was the first of over a dozen planned events organized as part of the Universities of the Future project. The event was attended by participants from Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology; CEOs of EY, Astor, Pilz Poland; workers from Wilson & Brown; teachers from Warsaw University of Technology and Warsaw University, Polish Accreditation Commission and students.
After presenting the assumptions of the project by Piotr Pałka (WUT), Maciej Markowski (PKA) and Łucja Grochal-Mościcka (W&B), Mr. Andrzej Soldaty from Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, leader of the Platform for the Future Industry Foundation, presented the current challenges facing Industry 4.0 and Education 4.0 in Poland. After the discussion panel, a coffee table workshop on subjects related to the future of Education 4.0 was organized. The challenges were analyzed in the context of HEI, industry and public institution. The workshop was divided into three parts, during which the participants discussed the following questions: “What will the organization’s work look like in 20 years?”, “What knowledge, skills, competences, and roles will be needed?” And “What steps should be taken (in the organization) to enable the acquisition of these competences?”. All participants took part in the discussion, solving further challenges for each organization. Finally, after a short summary by the hosts of HEI, industry, and public institution, the meeting was wrapped-up.

The event in Warsaw was a success. We would like to thank all participants and invite them to stay as part of our collaborative project.

ANI and P.Porto together for a Focus Group


January the 10th was the date of the focus group that ANI, the Portuguese National Agency for Innovation, together with the Polytechnic of Porto, organized within the Universities of the Future Project, gathering around the table several institutions and experts to discuss the digital transformation we’re experiencing and the new skills the industries of the future will need.

Besides representatives from members of the Project ANI and P.PORTO, the focus group – which took place in ANI’s facilities in the city of Porto –  included specialists from COTEC Portugal, a leading think and action network for advancing technology diffusion and business innovation cooperation which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the measures of the Portuguese Industry 4.0 National Strategy, from CEiiA, a Centre of Engineering and Product Development that designs, develops and operates innovative products in the mobility industries, and is one of the 10 largest R&D investors in Portugal, as well as from two large international companies, Schneider Electric Portugal and Visabeira.

The focus group discussed the draft version of the “Blueprint for the Universities of the Future” the Project is putting together and represented a step further towards the promotion of closer, stronger, meaningful and reciprocally valuable links between higher education institutions, companies, public agencies and students/alumni, leading to an innovative approach to education 4.0.

Results of the focus group are now being compiled and will help to improve our Blueprint, that will be soon available here.

Highlighting the Nordic Ecosystem of Startups

The Nordic countries are producing the most billion dollar valued businesses per capita in the world, conquered only by Silicon Valley. While the Nordics represent only 3% of the population in Europe, it has produced more than 50% of the billion dollar exits in the region since 2005. Last week, between 3rd and 7th December, BEST Helsinki from Aalto University Student Union invited technical students from all over Europe to get familiar with the Nordic Startup Ecosystem and to discuss the state of their local education to develop the blueprint for the universities of the future. A total of 16 students from 10 different technical universities arrived in Finland for one week.

The week started on Monday with a presentation of the Universities of the Future project, followed by a Focus group workshop where the students shared their options regarding the future of Education 4.0 and Industry 4.0. Due to having people from such many different backgrounds, the discussion was intensively funneling down to the vast differences in education and economy between different areas of Europe and the fact that the strategies of education 4.0 need to consider the development differences among countries.

“I had an excellent possibility to take part in the discussion of new and main challenges for universities. We were trying to identify the current problems in our education systems and find the best solutions for each of them. As for me, one of the most interesting parts was the creation of an action plan for the next 22 years according to industry 4.0. There are a lot of improvement points that can be applied by the universities in our country, for example, a collaboration between companies and universities, investing in the infrastructure and innovation, a possibility of a mentorship program and having open online platforms for sharing knowledge. Also, I was excited how great the educational platform in Aalto University compared with Ukrainian universities is, so thanks to this workshop, I realized how much I want to get my master degree there and to be closer to startup ecosystem in Finland!”

Kate Stefanovych, National Technical University of Ukraine

On the following two days, the students got the opportunity to be present in the leading startup conference Slush: The massive event gathers around 3,100 startups, 1,800 investors, and 650 journalists from over 130 countries together. The conference tickets run for hundreds of euros each, but thanks to the partnership by BEST Helsinki, the students participated for free in exchange for short volunteer work shifts. Outside their shifts, they were free to attend the event to talk with startups, listen to the speakers and gain career opportunities.

The week continued with a non-working day: The student unions of the Capital Region celebrated The Independence Day of Finland with an Independence Day torchlight procession and our participants were invited to join. This year, students joined the procession for sustainable development and Finnish nature. The participants had a chance to make presentations on Finnish culture and of course – Finnish sauna.

Friday was the last working day in which students visited the new A Grid startup community, one of Europe’s largest centers for growth companies. It houses all kinds of startups, accelerators, such as the European Space Agency and Aalto Startup Center, as well as partners and established large industrial companies, like energy company Fortum – A great example of a platform for industry/HEI-collaboration that is crucial for the adoption of Education 4.0. The visit was finished with a presentation by BEST Helsinki’s Partner Espoo Innovation Garden how it aims to bring together the various partners operating in the economic area of Espoo to encourage their collaboration and sense of community. After a heavy week of work and new experiences, the students shared their last options on the roadmap for the Universities of the Future.

The event was successful and it received very good feedback from participants. The students are looking forward to finding career opportunities in Finland and hearing more on the outputs of the project.