High level representatives from business, higher education and politics meet in Brussels for the 2009 European University-Business Forum. The forum is an opportunity to network, showcase successful partnerships and discuss new forms of cooperation between higher education institutions and businesses. Its objective is to achieve more intense forms of collaboration and more structured relationships between the two sides to better meet the challenges of globalisation.
Opening the forum, the European Commissioner for Education and Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel’, stressed the urgent need for greater partnership between the worlds of business and education: “In difficult times, it is vital that we work together, that we exchange our ideas, discuss and debate together problems and possible solutions. This is all the more important in the area of university-business collaboration, which has traditionally not been one of Europe’s strong points. Working in partnership is more important than ever, especially for academia, research and businesses. “
Cooperation between higher education and business is now widely recognised to have benefits for both sides. It stimulates knowledge transfer in both directions, opens opportunities and improves returns through long-term partnerships and helps prepare students for future employment.
Participants at the Forum will discuss how to modernise governance structures within universities, how to develop curricula — in particular with a view to foster entrepreneurship — and how to improve the provision of continuing education within businesses. They will further explore the best forms of knowledge transfer and ways of enhancing mobility between disciplines, sectors and research settings.
The first European University-Business Forum took place in February 2008 and was followed by a series of thematic forums throughout the year. The objectives pursued by the Forum are in line with the Commission’s Communication “Delivering on the modernisation agenda for universities - Education, research and innovation” of 2006. The Commission will incorporate the results of this year’s Forum in a Communication on University-Business cooperation, which will be presented in April 2009.