A review of the State-of-the-Art was carried out in the first half of the UNITE.H2020 project in the various R&I institutional transformation areas: research infrastructures; academia-business relations; human capital; open science; involvement of society and of the existing EU University Alliances in light of future matchmaking. This led the Alliance to highlight R&I best practices and barriers, developing a common action plan with several synergic pilots and case studies to be implemented during the second half of UNITE.H2020.
The Agenda sees its first practical implementation within an Action plan describing feasible pilot transformation actions consistent with each partner’s policy, relying on open science principles and coordinated by the different project teams. The R&I Action plan entails the following pilot actions, aiming to test new models of collaboration among Unite! partners and to promote institutional transformation in the R&I dimension of Unite!:
- the creation of a Network of Research & Innovation Services (IRIS), connecting the Research Support Offices and aiming to further expand to include Technologic Transfer Offices and Human Resources staff
- the creation of an open network of researchers involved in networking activities
- the sharing of Research Infrastructures among Unite! partners
- the investigation of new models of academia-business cooperation in R&I
- the implementation of initiatives to promote the attraction, circulation, motivation and valorisation of talented researchers
- a case study of the best practices and current barriers to Open Science within Unite! research groups
- the development of different initiatives for the societal outreach and citizens involvement
- two matchmaking workshops with other European University Alliances
Both the Agenda and Action Plan were harmonized and merged in a common document which will serve the whole Alliance for R&I strategy and development. Based on the results of the joint pilot activities, after three years of collaboration, guidelines for the further development of the Unite! R&I Agenda will be drafted at the end of the project, in December 2023. They will be formulated as a set of recommendations addressed to the Unite! governance with the aim of identifying possible successful models for modernization and transformation at R&I level, paving the way for the R&I strategy of Unite! as a European Alliance.
“We think of the pilot actions as the first seeds that we are planting in various activity areas in the UNITE.H2020 project. Based on how they will grow in the concluding part of the project, we will be able to understand what works, what doesn’t, and, in the latter case, what alternative strategies we should adopt. In short, they will allow us to draw important indications on which initiatives to promote for the growth of the Alliance in future projects, and how to do so. These indications will be summarized in a comprehensive document, a sort of instruction manual for the future of the Alliance”
Professor Federico Bosia from Politecnico di Torino.