Brigitte Ecker welcomed all participants to the BeyondScale conference in Vienna, being the first time since the start of the project, where a personal meeting has been possible. Maria Kepplinger from the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research provided the national perspective of further transformation of HEIs, and the use of tools offered to support change processes in HEI to improve their societal and economical responsibility.
Moderation: Ruadhri Neavyn, Higher Education Authority
HEInnovate, a self-reflection tool as well as community of practice – lessons learned and ideas for the future way to go. Participating representatives of the Forward Looking Cooperation Projects (FLCP) – THEI2.0, RE-ACT, and UASiMAP – presented their projects and their findings so far.
In this session, vize-rector Johannes Fröhlich welcomed the participants and informed about experiences from the TU Wien i2ncubator programme and the future plans of the TU Austria. Breda O`Dwyer tried to open up the minds and eyes for the entrepreneurial mindset, explaining what it actually means in in the higher education sector in Europe.
Monika Weymann presented the European strategy for higher education and how to tackle and adapt to changing conditions linked to climate change, technology, demographic change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Raffaele Trapasso reported about experiences from the recent country reports and the next steps and last but not least, Rebecca Allisson informed about the HEInnovate tool and the community of HEInnovate. Overall, the necessity of further development of the HEInnovate tool and also the promotion of peer-learning in the HEI context were stressed.
Having heard the policy insights, the next and core topic of the conference explained and elaborated on the concept of the BeyondScale project. Brigitte Ecker provided insights on the general idea and intentions of BeyondScale. Nini Popkhadze and Donnchadh Kindlon explained how the BeyondScale project uses the various HEInnovate dimensions and applies them to the value proposition canvas. Susanna Boldrino described in detail the Inbound Activities while Helen McGuirk informed about the Outbound Activities of the project.
The accompanying research within the BeyondScale project aims at providing knowledge about the implementation of entrepreneurship at institutional level. To this end already existing research on the topic was analysed and processed and the questions on how HEIs organise learning and change processes to integrate entrepreneurship in their profiles and to strengthen the collaboration with regional stakeholders were addressed.
The presentation on Abodoo.com by Vanessa Tierney and Fiona Whelan explained the necessity of skills data mapping in order to find the perfect match for the new world of work.
The policy session included discussions on recent strategies and developments at national levels, priority settings and the big question what the HE policy is reaching for.
Takeaways of the conference day were that the different outcomes of the project presented might diverge over different countries, but that there are clearly collective outcomes. The peer learning opportunities – to learn among the different higher education – allow to innovate together, following good practices. The project BeyondScale has set the cornerstone for future collaboration while the user stories and guidelines can be a place where future stakeholders can look for further information when designing their activities.
Moderation: Roberto Henriques, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
This session of the BeyondScale Conference started with the presentation of the two spin-off projects of BeyondScale, namely the Teacher Network and the Digi Buddy Platform. The Teacher Network – or with full name the International Entrepreneurial Education Network – focuses on building entrepreneurial education, that is effective, innovative and attractive, and might contribute massively to knowledge-, skill- and attitude development in and among the area of entrepreneurship. Digi Buddy is a platform developed by the BeyondScale consortium, where HEIs can look for possible “buddies” – other HEIs with same interests based on the HEInnovate dimensions.
Daniel Pavlov shared his experience on the seminar with Bulgarian and Romanian universities on the Digi Buddy platform and Andrea Kottmann explained the processes and thoughts behind the inspiration fiches that are part of Digi Buddy. Ana Teresa Ferreira Oliveira closed the session with the presentation of Inclusive School Project, fostering community building in innovation and entrepreneurship and implementing service learning at IPVC.
Moderation: Kurt Matyas, TU Wien
The last session of the day had a focus on the green transition, innovative teaching and learning in higher education and the student’s involvement in inter-/transdisciplinary research projects.
Elisabeth Doppler explained the responsibility of the government to set political goals during societal changes by providing steering documents for higher education institutions. These include details on strategies, development and funding plans as well as the performance agreements. Judith Zimmermann from ETH Zürich presented the Student Project House, a unique initiative in the area of interdisciplinary teaching and the involvement of students.
The session ended with a panel discussion, moderated by Kurt Matyas from TU Wien. The panelists agreed on the necessity to raise awareness and promote student involvement on all the projects presented.
Bart Koppelmans shared the message of unity and empowerment where the future can and should not be designed without the student involvement and participation. Students should have the right to fail, learn from their mistakes and then try again. Enabling students’ freedom, enabling their own way of learning, their individual learning path and making them do what they do best. Contributions from the past two days showed that there are different means to an end and they are a way to change education.
Enabling mindsets and promoting entrepreneurial thinking are the key message of the last two days. In addition, assessment criteria, not only for students, but also for staff and faculty are important to educate critical and responsible members of society.