3 min

New European Network for Innovation

St. Pölten UAS as Co-Founder of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network for Smart and Sustainable European Regions (E.I.N.S.)

New European Network for Innovation

The European University E³UDRES² coordinated by the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences has launched the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network for Smart and Sustainable European Regions (E.I.N.S.) together with the University Industry Interaction Network (UIIN).

In an effort to overcome the challenges of the climate crisis by means of future-proof solutions and to use the chances of the digital change in the best way possible, there are plans to expand and further develop the European Innovation Area. In this context, higher education institutions are to assume a more prominent role and cooperate closely with the realms of business and administration as well as interested citizens.

The idea is that insights from teaching and research can contribute to new marketable products and services through the founding of companies and other forms of knowledge transfer. To promote the necessary expansion of universities’ innovation capacities, the EU has started a new initiative supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). With E.I.N.S., the St. Pölten UAS leads one of the 24 pilot projects selected in the first pilot call in 2021.

Using Regional Strengths and European Networks

While global capacities for innovation are concentrated in a small number of urban centres and big universities compete in research-oriented rankings, the aim of E.I.N.S. is the further development of “Smart & Sustainable European Regions”.

To do this, the network combines the innovative powers of the internationally successful University Industry Interaction Networks (UIIN) and the European University E³UDRES², a collaboration of six comparably small but agile universities with strong roots in their respective regions. In addition, the new innovation network cooperates closely with a variety of players: business agencies, incubators, venture capital funds, start-up communities, and others promoting digital and green innovation.

“A large part of the European population lives in small and medium-sized towns and rural areas. Not only do these regions contribute to the high quality of life in and the cultural identity of Europe – they also breed those small and medium-sized enterprises that are a cornerstone of the European economic performance. All institutions of our alliance contribute to the promotion of innovation in their regional environment. The Europe-wide exchange of experience leads to new impulses and enhances quality”, explains Hannes Raffaseder, leading coordinator of E³UDRES² and E.I.N.S. and a member of the St. Pölten UAS’ Executive Board.

Promoting Entrepreneurial Competencies

Central elements include helping students, staff members and the management of the universities involved to acquire entrepreneurial competencies, fostering intensive interaction with various partners in regional innovation ecosystems, engaging in Europe-wide networking, and supporting start-ups and spin-offs.

Inspiring Chat on this Topic

The first public event in this context was an “Inspiring Chat” on the topic of “Entrepreneurial Education” on 31 January.

  • Selma Prodanovic (Vice President of European Business Angel Networks),
  • Hannah Wundsam (Managing Director of Austrian Startups),
  • Diethard Struelens (CEO of artfuse.io), and
  • Jurgis Prieditis (IT developer and former head of the Valmiera Business Incubator)

joined an online discussion panel together with other experts.

European Initiative

With the new EIT-HEI initiative (Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education), the European Union enhances the innovative capacities of higher education institutions. 24 projects were selected from among 64 submissions in the first pilot call 2021. The St. Pölten UAS is the only Austrian university to head one of these projects: E.I.N.S. Two more universities of applied sciences are involved in other projects.

„The fact that the projects E.I.N.S. of our European University E³UDRES² in collaboration with UIIN was selected by the experts within the framework of this initiative highlights our position as a “Leading Institution” – a title awarded to us by the Austrian Spin-Off Initiative last autumn”, adds Raffaseder.

E³UDRES² European University

E³UDRES², the Engaged and Entrepreneurial European University as Driver for European Smart and Sustainable Regions, is a higher education alliance funded by the European Union within the framework of the European University Initiative and coordinated by the St. Pölten UAS. Further partners are: Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal (Portugal), Politechnica University of Timisoara (Romania), Hungarian University for Agriculture and Life Sciences (Hungary), University College Leuven Limburg (Belgium), and Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (Latvia). The European University Initiative is among the most important strategic activities of the European Union for the further development of the European Higher Education, Research and Innovation Area. Approximately 280 universities and 18 universities of applied sciences are involved in the 41 European University Alliances that are currently funded. The St. Pölten UAS is one of only three universities of applied sciences in Europe that coordinate such an alliance at the moment.

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FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Raffaseder Hannes

FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Hannes Raffaseder

Chief Research and Innovation Officer (CRO and CINO)
Mag. Permoser Gabriele

Mag. Gabriele Permoser

Head of Service Unit
Research and Knowledge Transfer