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Projects - Dynamic University
EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO A BETTER FUTURE, AND SUCH INVESTMENT WILL BOTH SPEED UP THE PROCESS OF RECOVERY AND EQUIP PEOPLE AND COUNTRIES WITH THE COMPETENCES TO PROSPER IN A POST-CRISIS WORLD.

ANDROULLA VASSILIOU
EU COMMISSIONER OFEDUCATION, CULTURE, MULTILINGUALISM AND YOUTH
Lat|Rus

Study on cooperation opportunities of the University of Latvia with various economic sectors and their inclusion in the Academic Centre in Torņakalns




 

UNIVERSITY BUSINESS COOPERATION 

The ever-increasing role of academia in the socio-economic development processes materially affects the mission of higher education institutions and determines the necessity to ensure a multi-dimensional approach to University Business Cooperation. Cooperation among public and private entities and academia is a precondition for a competitive development of nations, national economies and higher education systems. University Business Cooperation manifests itself as a joint research and development, academic staff and student mobility, commercialisation of research outputs, involvement of businesses in the curricula development and delivery, as well as cooperation in lifelong learning, entrepreneurship and governance. 

PROJECT OBJECTIVE 

In the period February – October 2017 the consultancy company Dynamic University Ltd. in co-operation with experts of the University of Latvia undertook a study on cooperation opportunities of the University of Latvia with various economic sectors and their inclusion in the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia in Torņakalns. The objective of the study was to develop recommendations for the development of a result-oriented and diverse cooperation between the University of Latvia and external cooperation partners, in this particular instance – companies, industries, state and municipal institutions, education and non-governmental sector and others. Within the framework of the project the University of Latvia in cooperation with Dynamic University studied the future development potential of the Academic Centre in Torņakalns with a focus on the potential of enhancing University Business Cooperation. 

PROJECT SOLUTION AND RESULT   

For the purpose of meeting the project objectives, the following tasks were undertaken: 

  • a methodology was developed aimed at assessing cooperation between the University of Latvia and businesses as well as elaborating recommendations; 

  • a background study was undertaken on the theory and topicality of University Business Cooperation in Latvia; 

  • the University of Latvia cooperation proposal, incl. the cooperation practice to date, were analysed;  

  • the needs and wants of businesses were identified – the demand analysis was undertaken; 

  • the foreign good practice was studied; 

  • recommendations for the development of a result-oriented and diverse cooperation between the University of Latvia and businesses were drafted. 

 

The study involved a review on the development elements of academic centres and the practice of subcontracting support functions in higher education institutions hence, upon developing academic centre into a contemporary campus, the University of Latvia will have a more extensive cooperation with businesses providing services required for ensuring daily operation. 

A series of research methods were applied in the process of assessing the cooperation experience to date, as well as for identifying the needs for cooperation resources, the major obstacles and cooperation potential, such as, inter alia, interviews and surveys, focus group discussions, as well as an idea forum and design thinking workshop. The total of 28 structural units of the University of Latvia were represented in 11 focus groups. Conclusions made as a result of interviews, focus group discussions and survey were analysed on the background of the actual cooperation outputs provided for the study needs by the responsible structural units of the University of Latvia. For the purpose of identifying the University Business Cooperation needs of partners of the University of Latvia an idea forum was organised with the participation of more than 40 individuals representing Latvian businesses, municipalities and non-governmental organisations – the current and prospective cooperation partners of the University of Latvia. As a result of the organised forum the needs and wants of businesses with respect to the establishment of the Academic Centre in Torņkalns and the potential for the development of University Business Cooperation therein were identified and summarised. 

The study resulted in a road map which involved recommendations for the development of a result-oriented and diverse cooperation between the University of Latvia and businesses, industry representatives, state and municipal institutions, education and non-governmental sectors and others. Recommendations included in the road map were structured according to the established challenges and based on four major recommendations: 

  • invest in enhancing cooperation; 

  • fully exploit the cooperation potential; 

  • build the culture of cooperation; 

  • build a cooperative infrastructure/ environment. 

At the closing of the study in a workshop the potential samples of potential cooperation projects and directions were simulated, based on the design thinking method, by applying information gathered within the framework of the study as to the cooperation potential of the University of Latvia. The workshop was attended by more than 30 cooperation partners of the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme project “Live Baltic Campus: Campus Areas as Labs for Participative Urban Design” representing universities, municipalities, businesses and non-governmental organisations of Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden. Samples of potential cooperation projects presented during the workshop joined various faculties and institutes of the University of Latvia representing various fields, as well as external cooperation partners. 

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