Tallinn University has been pioneering the EIT HEI Initiative

Last week, from June 3 to 5, 2024, the EIT HEI Initiative gathered representatives from higher education institutes from more than 30 countries in Brussels for a Sparks meeting to discuss the successes and challenges of the EIT HEI projects dedicated to entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer.

EIT HEI 2024

Aija Sakova, Manager of Business Cooperation and Knowledge Transfer at Tallinn University, who attended the seminar, acknowledged proudly that Tallinn University has been one the pioneers within the 65 different projects that have been supported through EIT HEI initiative. “The uniqueness and challenge of this initiative has been to connect both entrepreneurial education and research and innovation activities with industry. The projects have been about creating (learning) ecosystems, sharing knowledge, experience and best practices and building partnerships.”

At Tallinn University, we have had the luxury to learn from our partners in several different phase projects: UniCorn (Fostering Knowledge Transfer from Universities to Business − Innovation to Unicorn), UniteD (Universities for deep tech and entrepreneurship) and C-Accelerate (increasing the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity in higher education in the fields of the arts and creative practices).

Project UniCorn, which was praised for its regional approach at the summit, helped Tallinn University gain clarity on the knowledge transfer activities within social science, humanities and arts (SSHA) and how we can measure them. UniCron brought together several Estonian universities (University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology), also partners from Latvia (Stockholm School of Economics in Riga) and Lithuania (Vilnius University) and we had the possibility to learn from the Technalia in Spain – the largest centre of applied research and technological development in Spain.

UniteD has been focusing on defining innovation, collecting success stories about entrepreneurial collaborations and offering MA and PhD students the possibility to attend international entrepreneurship courses.

C-accelerate has given the FilmEU – European University partners the opportunity to learn from Aalto University and its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Best teaching practices for entrepreneurship in creative fields have been shared and gathered, new courses developed, staff und students trained and mentored. Also a pilot course on “Entrepreneurial mindset for junior researchers” was developed at Tallinn University.

"We are optimistic that the initiative will continue to propel our innovation ecosystems forward and support the institutional change that is needed. Although partners from other HEIs stressed that its still a challenge to invite some researchers out of their ivory towers we as the representatives of academic communities have to act opportunity and impact driven, address the social development goals and find pathways for supporting change,” says Sakova.