University directors meet to strengthen links between academia and business

November 27, 2002

Brussels, 26 Nov 2002

Directors from European higher education institutions are meeting in Denmark on 25 and 26 November discuss the role played by universities in making Europe the world's most competitive knowledge-based economy.

The meeting is being hosted by the Danish EU Presidency, and involves officials from the EU, candidate countries, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Activities at the event include discussions and exchanges of experiences on the role and governance of universities.

Mogens Berg, special adviser to the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, says of the event programme: 'One of the key items will be the relationship between universities and business, an area for which countries all over Europe are formulating innovation strategies to create closer ties between research environments and business.'

The role of Europe's universities is changing: institutions can no longer focus solely on teaching and research, but must find commercial applications for the results of their work, thus contributing to economic competitiveness. A key element in this process is the existence of strong links between academia and industry, and a number of initiatives, such as the new special development environments, aim to promote such links.

The special development environments, says Mogens Berg: 'have been established to promote the development and growth of knowledge-based enterprises, and in order to facilitate active communication of knowledge, for the benefit of commercial development of companies.'

Through such initiatives, the administrators of Europe's higher education institutions and the wider scientific community hope to create a more dynamic and competitive environment for research. As one of the guiding principles behind the European Research Area, representatives from the Commission will also be attending the event to participate in the discussions.

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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