ifempower Winter School

ifempower Winter School

31.01.-05.02.2021: First ifempower event 2021 was held under the title ‘How does the idea become a business? Matchmaking and knowledge exchange for business angels, female entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, experts and other stakeholders’. It aimed to provide a platform for matchmaking and online knowledge exchange for business angels, entrepreneurs, experts and other stakeholders.

Since the event was part of the week-long ifempower winter school, its main part was the pitch session during which the business ideas of students attending the intensive training were presented. A professional jury provided hands-on feedback to the presenters with the aim of supporting their development and turning into real businesses.

Then, the event provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange related to business investment and nurturing marketable business ideas in a frame of a roundtable discussion and break-out session.

10th Meeting of the Joint Governmental Commission Baden-Wuerttemberg – Romania

18.11.2020: representatives of ministries and invited experts from Baden-Wuerttemberg and Romania met online to elaborate a joint work plan for next 2 years. Jürgen Raizner contributed with concrete project proposals in fields of energy efficiency, geothermal energy and support actions, e.g. fostering entrepreneurship and technology transfer.

GENDERACTION: Training and mutual learning workshop. An approach by Steinbeis.

Experts from Danube region and Western Balkans were invited to Training and Mutual Learning Workshop on Gender Equality (GE) on 10th and 11th of March 2020 at the University of Belgrade. Purpose of the meeting was to include gender aspects better into national and international programs and into development of funding actions.

Roxana Boboruta, Steinbeis Project Manager, participated in the workshop and contributed with insights relating to entrepreneurship in Research and Innovation.

Conclusions could be summarized as follows:

  1. What are the most important topics to address GE?
  • Awareness campaingns relating to GE issues and explaining benefits (GE awareness could make the difference for funding decions in any EU-funded program when 2 project ideas are equal)
  • Female archetype in different regions for building reliable strategies (such sociological studies and conclusions could offer solutions for GE policies especially in Eastern Europe)
  • Best practices transfer (bet on the power or example in international consortiums).

2. What are barriers to GE in R&I?

  • Worst forms: no BA, MA or PhD programs on gender issues are available at universities.
  • Soft resistance: gender equality building as a competence cannot be certified by educational responsible bodies (both private and public).

3. What is needed to put  gender equality onto agenda in a specific country (mainly Eastern Danube region)?

  • Best practices transfer
  • Actions towards bodies responsible for minorities issues, and consequently for policies (mainly in Eastern Europe). EU integration baseed on democracy values is directly connected with respecting rights of minorities (as one of the most sensible issues in EU history). Gender equality is a cross-cutting issue relating to reliable women long-standing representation and trusting the expertise provided.

Mainly, where there is no official position  relating to GE as an academic competence, it is included in programs relating to minorities. Which is sufficient.

Economy is a beneficiary of society progress and innovation relates on Business Enterprise Sector (according to OECD definition).

Roxana Boboruta introduced ongoing project “ifempower” as a best practice example what results from international collaboration of higher education instituions and business actors. ifempower tackles GE by promoting female entreprenurship.

From another approach, Steinbeis network itself and promoted transfer model could be seen as a solution for more representation of females in research. Descentralized network of Steinbeis gives female researchers easy access to projects in R&I.

SMEmPOWER Efficiency

Bucharest, 28.02.2020: Roxana Boboruta and Juergen Raizner attended Energy Efficiency Seminar organized within Horizon 2020 funded project “SMEmPower Efficiency”. Steinbeis was invited to present Learning Energy Efficiency Networks as best practice from Germany, ready for implementation in Romania.

SMEmPOWER Efficiency aims to

  • empower the knowledge and skills of at least 720 energy experts of SMEs and connect them into a platform
  • elaborate concrete energy savings proposals in at least 160 selected SMEs pilot sites
  • facilitate the connection with over 5000 energy professionals through the web platform.
  • enhance the energy efficiency of at least 80 pilot sites

Project website

Meassures to optimize energy efficiency require investments. To achieve a quick return of investment is cruicle success factor in promoting energy efficiency. Juergen Raizner introduced Learning Energy Efficiency Networks to the participants of the event.

Steinbeis is supporting actions aimed to improve framework in order to promote best practice examples. One of these initiatives is “Romania Eficienta” project to which Steinbeis center from Bucharest is willing to contribute by organizing expericence exchange mission.

Also in the field of energy efficiency, Steinbeis Transfer Management is willing to facilitate projects with Icelandic partners or to join international consortiums based on exchanging best practices. December 2019 was dedicted to build connections with most important companies from Iceland providing services for geothermal energy and energy efficiency in general.

We thank SAMER, Society of Auditors and Energy Manager from Romania, and Servelect for organising a high level seminar – and for inviting us.

Steinbeis at ifempower event in Porto

Porto, 02.02.-06.02.2020: consortium meeting, expert training and multiplier event – an intensive work program has been completed. ifempower entrepreneurship modul is ready for implementation at partner universities. ifempower mentorship program, elaborated by Steinbeis, is accepted. 

Main subjects of transnational meeting of partners were focused on implementing mentorship program and on establshing entrepreneurship support points in partner countires. Staff training for entrepreneurship support points insures that responsible experts will act in line with project requirements. Representatives of Steinbeis, Roxana Boboruta and Juergen Raizner, became certified support point staff.

Juergen Raizner moderated interactive workshop on ifempower Mentorship Program. The session was accompanied by valuable points of view from entrepreneurs coming from Austria, Hungary, Germany and Portugal.  Final version of mentorship handbook under the responsibility of Steinbeis was agreed. ifempower Mentorshib Program will be launched at partnering universities. Handbook is available in English. Translations into German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Romanian, Portuguese and Spanish language will follow. Steinbeis presentation on ifempower Mentorship Program is available here.

Organized by our Portuguese partner, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovacao at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, project partners received multicultural and valuable input from stakeholders. Thus, 57 entrepreneurs from 12 EU countries offered different approaches related to answer the challenge “How to nurture the entrepreneurial potential of women?”. Various workshop methods were applied with the purpose of knowledge exchange and synergies in the field of female entrepreneurship focusing on successful mentorship and counselling programs.

ifempower aims to empower female students from higher education institutions to get engaged in entrepreneurship. ifempower investigates the main roles, hindrances, gaps and needs of female entrepreneurs to elaborate an internationally transferable module for university students from any fields to broaden their knowledge on entrepreneurship related topics and to provide hands-on training for their engagement in self-employment and entrepreneurship. The project represents an innovative and participatory approach by developing a mentorship programme for these students through the involvement of practicing entrepreneurs. ifempower will also launch personal consultancy services for any interested women and an online support toolkit available for the broader public coping with issues rooting in female entrepreneurship.

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Alpine Research and Innovation Capacity Governance – kick-off meeting

A project of Steinbeis Danube Center, Austria

Milano, 26.11.2019: Steinbeis project manager Roxana Boboruta attends A-Ring kick-off meeting as observer. A-RING’s main project goal is to establish the basis for an effective and permanent transnational cooperation among different levels and actors, to develop a shared R&I policies for the Alpine Region (AR). The project fosters mutual recognition among policymaking, clusters, research and business, enhancing an active role of R&I bodies in local and regional development and innovation in strategic topics within AR.

Steinbeis Donau Zentrum located in Vienna is one of the 28 partner institutions involved as observers. A-RING is financed through Interreg Alpine Space program and it is aimed to build: a Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) and roadmap for innovation in alpine space; an Alpine Region Open Science Lab; trainings and multi-stakeholder alpine R&I think-thank.

During kick-off meeting, expertise from Steinbeis was proposed to be delivered within Technical Panel (TP) gathering experts from the observers. Thus, Juergen Raizner – expert in Danube region and coordinating Danube Competence Group – is ready to share knowledge into activatian and implementation of working groups for Alpine Seed Labs. TP`s role is to provide work package leaders with technical guidance and suggestions.

Starting from the kick-off meeting proactive discussions in the form of design thinking were held between project partners. Concerning the subject which directly involves the observers but also the ones aimed to link alpine space with other macro-regions, questions targeted the best practices into implementing the „living lab“. How should be designed the Alpine SeedLabs? How to develop further a SeedLab? How digital and phisical space should be reconciled when implementing the concept?

Besides being available to contribute to smooth running of the project, Steinbeis Danube Competence Group through Donau Zentrum is ready to support dialogue with other stakeholders and contribute to macro-regions synergies, especially related to Danube region.

A-RING is a project with chances to achieve great results and develop a reliable SRIA (Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda). Cohesion was achieved starting with the kick-off meeting as all project partners were invited to visit the „Science & Technology Museum“ in Milan city centre. Museum offers amazing mind travel into the speed of innovation especially related to the past century: hosting 300t Toti submarine and a few miligrams of Moon rock from Apollo 11 mission offered to the President of Italy

A-RING is a project with chances to achieve great results and develop a reliable SRIA (Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda). Cohesion was achieved starting with the kick-off meeting as all project partners were invited to visit the „Science & Technology Museum“ in Milan city centre. Museum offers amazing mind travel into the speed of innovation especially related to the past century: hosting 300t Toti submarine and a few miligrams of Moon rock from Apollo 11 mission offered to the President of Italy.

Danube Rectors’ Conference Bucharest

Annual Conference 2019 – Consolidating the Role of Universities in Innovation Ecosystems: Challenges and Future Developments

Bucharest, 07.11.2019

Organizer: Danube Rectors’ Conference
Host: “Politehnica” University Bucharest

Danube Rectors Conference is a network of almost 70 universities in the Danube Region for fostering academic collaboration and lobby actions towards regional development. In order to perform these tasks, DRC maintains connections with national and international organizations, e.g. national Rectors’ Conferences, EUA, UNESCO, EU, Council of Europe, etc.

Jürgen Raizner as coordinator of Steinbeis Danube Competence Group (Stuttgart, Vienna, Bucharest, Uzhhorod) was invited as speaker to the annual event. Title of his presentation: “Science and Entrepreneurship. Synergies for economic growth“.

Technology transfer model applied by Steinbeis Network was explained to academic community as a feasible and proven method to connect industry with universities. Moreover, as a catalyst for better understanding, Jürgen Raizner presented examples from industy to point out what opportunities exist for universities to support enterprises in becoming innovation by solving problems (technology transfer). A challenge: What strategy should a well established enterprise with well known and traditional brands follow to keep its position on the market – taken into account growing international competition?

In compliance with EU strategy for Danube Regionk, tackling innovation gaps through technology transfer, Steinbeis implements also projects to foster entrepreneurship among scientists:

  • ifempower Erasmus + funded project not only tackles a gap in gender distribution in work fields but also opens a sensitive subject: women`s approach towards business environment in general. Entrepreneurship module built under the umbrella of this project will be piloted at partnering EU universities and promoted further.
  • Recently closed project under the leadership of Steinbeis center from Romania – European Early Innovators Initiative – aimed to support the entrepreneurship of young scientists by directing their focus closer to industry is another example of technology transfer that can be deepened by universities.

Given these two simple initiatives fostering university–industry collaboration in both directions: research and curricula focused on current industry and industry actors involved in education process.

Facts like Danubius Young Scientists Award should have priority for different industry departments in such a way that through technology transfer model, ideas become marketable products.

Besides its purposes, DRC serves also as platform for strengthening already existing partnerships. Thus, for Steinbeis event translated into a great opportunity for conversation to Ukrainian environment. Prof. Smolanka, rector of Uzhhrod university is already partner of Steinbeis network through Steinbeis Transfer Management Ukraine (led by Mike Nagorkin). Prof. Smolanka, as a reputated academician in Romania, /scientist, visited also STM headquarters in Palais Ghica Victoria and reinforced the partnership. So new actions are on the way to be designed.

Business Forum Geothermal Energy

Timisoara, 19.09.2019: Business Forum Germany-Romania on financing geothermal projects in Romania

Organizer: Romanian Association of Building Services Engineers
Host: “Politehnica” University Timisoara

Benefits of geothermal energy as an alternative to traditional energy supply started to gain more attention in Romania. Therefore a preparatory workshop to identify collaboration opportunities in exploiding geothermal energy took place with strong participation from research field, from business sector and from public administration.

In the West Region of Romania drilling research projects were already performed so data are available for stakeholders and investors interested in developing business projects. Progress in implementation can be proved by already existing good practice examples, e.g.

  • Beius city – the single city in Romania what is entirely heated by geothermal energy;
  • Oradea city – location of first geothermal power plant;
  • Therme Bucharest – first aquapark based on geothermal energy;
  • ELI-Np Magurele – the largest shallow geothermal application in Europe;

Steinbeis actions in Romania are aimed to connect research with industry in various fields. Thus, in this sector, actions based on request from German investor interested in producing vegetables in greenhouses heated through geothermal energy, resulted into expanding the market potential by organizing a specialized business forum.

Specialized bodies in the field like Geoexchange Romanian Society with wide expertise in geothermal area through prof. Robert Gavriliuc and Mr. Gabor Kaba is the main promoter of the meeting that took place in Timisoara in order to tackle the subject.

Support actions were carried out by Mr. Ioan Dobosi, representing the Romanian Association of Building Services Engineers (AIIR – Timisoara). Contribution came also from local administration bodies like “Vest” Regional Development Agency and Vice-mayor of Timisoara municipality, Mr. Dan Diaconu. Openness to collaborate in the field was expressed by presenting both national funding programs with target-axis and already funded projects.

Presence of “Politehnica” University of Timisoara enhance the probability of future projects to happen as facilities from Research Institute for Renewable Energy are enough to carry out the needed future complimentary research requests.

Future forum on geothermal potential is planned to take place in April 2020 and it is aimed to be a platform on which

  • an economic mission from Germany would support the business collaboration and
  • Romanian geothermal market potential will be presented to future business partners.

Steinbeis is ready to facilitate technology transfer by getting directly involved or finding suitable partners for applying in projects funded through Geothermica, Operational Program Large Infrastructure Program (Priority Axis “Promoting clean energy and energy and energy efficiency in order to sustain low-carbon emissions economy”) and Horizon 2020 component addressing to SMEs. Learning Energy Efficiency Networks (LEEN), management system developed by Fraunhofer Institute is under STM facilitation and could become basis for various projects carried out with companies, local administration bodies and universities. For this, more than 40 specialized centers on energy/geothermal field could be involved in different initiatives for geothermal energy potential in Romania.

Director of Steinbeis Transfer Management, Jürgen Raizner, explained areas of collaboration within next German–Romanian Business Forum. Project manager for different initiatives on behalf of Steinbeis Romania, Roxana Boboruta was present in this meeting in order to follow-up on diverse opportunities raising from the discussions held.

YES! EUSDR

26.06.2019, Bucharest: Youth – Entrepreneurship – Science. YES! EUSDR. Steinbeis Romania organised this official side event to Annual Forum of EU Strategy for Danube Region.

For details, please go to our Event website.

MSCA Presidency Conference 2019

04.–05.06.2019, Bucharest: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions to foster Scientific Excellence

Organized under the auspices of Romanian Presidency for EU Council, MSCA 2019 Presidency Conference in Bucharest has reunited more than 200 participants, national or EU experts representing universities, research institutes or private sector, from more than 30 countries. The topics discussed at this meeting aimed to extend participation and share excellence in the future framework “Horizon Europe” Program, career development and researcher mobility, including both the academic and non-academic sector, optimizing synergies between the European Research Area and the European Space of Education. Different awards were offered for various categories showing the richness of MSCA projects: “Scientific Careers for Policy Making”, “Sharing excellence”, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”.

Steinbeis played a very active role during these conference as director of Steinbeis Romania, Jurgen Raizner was speaker at session “Inter-sectoral mobility – MSCA as a tool for launching and fostering collaborations”. The main topics were: exploiting complementary R&I competences of the organizations to synergise and implement the R&I projects; human capital in the European R&I system – counteracting innovation divide, entrepreneurial culture and business skills; opportunities for SMEs/industry, researchers and employers, working conditions. Presentation held pointed out Steinbeis experience in entrepreneurship in research field though concrete actions like European Early Innovators Program or ifempower. Moreover, components from Steinbeis model were explained as a solution not only to inter-sectoral mobility but to entrepreneurship in research in general. Thus, in the framework of transfer from knowledge source (university) to end user (economy), key characteristics of the succesful Steinbeis model were forwarded to public:

  • Innovation potential from Steinbeis Transfer Centers (STC) as driving force for economic growth
  • Economic problem solutions increase experiences and competences of the STC
  • Economic problems very often generate new research activities at universities
  • Customer initiate project start

Event website: www.msca2019.eu

Entrepreneurial thinking is a competence what researchers need to develop. Innovative Training Networks seem the be the easiest and most attractive MSCA tool to approach or to deepen the collaboration with private sector.  Thus, for economic growth we need:

“A new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers, able to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit“ (MSCA, Innovative Training Networks)