Innovation Powered by Applied Sciences: Topics Close to the Heart of UAS7
The last two years changed the world and with it changed the parameters of applied sciences. At a hybrid University-Industry talk, sponsored by the Otto and Fran Walter Foundation, academic, business and industry leaders from three continents shared their ideas on university-industry relations and Innovation Powered by Applied Sciences.
Patrizia Nobbe, Executive Director of UAS7 New York Inc., moderated this first of a planned series of university-industry talks. The event was integrated in this year's Moving the Cities kickoff-event. Andreas Zaby, president of UAS7 and Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin, gave a virtual welcome to the many viewers. He summarized the essence of the event for UAS7: “UAS7 universities are equally anchored in their region and are internationally connected. They promote the transfer of knowledge and have a large number of partner universities around the world. This is why innovation and applied sciences are topics close to the heart of UAS7.”
The U.S. American Perspective
Further, Sean Gallagher, Ed.D. Executive Director at the Center for the Future of Higher Education & Talent Strategy and Executive Professor of Educational Policy at Northeastern University and Nicolle Gurule Sternberger, Global Head of HXM GTM at SAP SuccessFactors both gave insights into the topic at hand from the U.S. American perspective.
“Our focus is on trends in the job market trends in higher education and how they intersect. The shift to online and remote work has implications to learning. We are in a new environment where it is unclear how much time people will spend in offices or on campus.” Furthermore, “hybrid work and hybrid learning - finding the best in both worlds is really important. We are in a period of rebooting. Innovation is a popular term and now it’s really happening by necessity,” Sean Gallagher continued.
Nicolle Grurule Sternberger further pointed out that employee burnout is real. “The experience an employee has at work directly affects their ability to cope with stress. Taking health and wellbeing, we're seeing drastic innovations on how to keep employees healthy because employee burnout is real. If the employees are not well then the organization is not well. When me and my team made that a priority our productivity went way up when we got help, the employees and our organization became a lot healthier and a lot more productive,” she states.
The Brazilian Perspective
Then, Susana Kakuta the Director of Innovation, at Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos and CEO at Tecnosinos as well as Luiz Carlos Pinto da Silva Filho, Professor at Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and Coordinator of Pacto Alegre, Innovation Pact of Porto Alegre, added the Brazilian perspective.
Susana Kakuta emphasized that we are currently in an interesting time for innovation. “We have been integrating this initiative for many years and I think it's a very interesting moment.” Her and her team aim to link the industry and tech companies and academic work, an effort that has been growing exceptionally during the pandemic. “Innovation growth increased significantly. Especially in the health sector it was possible to see the very new startups growing. It is a really new phenomenon in Brazil.” She continued, “We need to think a step further to make this international, to send people from our university to another one and give it an international context. It is a very great opportunity and we try to combine this movement in which you need to do something new with an international background.”
Luiz Carlos Pinto da Silva Filho reflected, “When we were invited to join Moving the Cities that was very exciting because we knew that was the way to create this network of talent and have this amazing experience. To be agile, and have a long-term view and at the same time be pragmatic, having a view that can be applied now. We are betting strongly on innovation as a value to transform the knowledge we're creating and by that we are generating a real impact.”
The German Perspective
Lastly, the German point of view was given by Thomas Chrometzka, CSO at Enapter and Carsten Schröder, Vice-President for Cooperation, Innovation and Marketing, at FH Münster.
“The expansion of networks is a crucial factor for us, because we need to touch like-minded organisations and individuals that want to help our cause. We knew we had to accelerate our R&D. We needed applied knowledge transfer, because with the singularity focus of our technology we needed to work with young professionals. That’s why we worked with the FH Münster,” said Thomas Chrometzka and highlighted the connection of industries and academia.
The cooperation was fruitful in both directions: “We have a totally new chance to reorganize labor structures. It is now a possibility for companies to attract people that would normally live in big cities like Munich to work remotely. Digital tools and processes offer great opportunities for a 'hybrid' future.”
“If we had a wish for post-COVID, we're seeking the more face to face meetings. It's essential to meet the other side of the computer in real life, we're hoping for an even stronger link between science and research applications. Too much is happening in books that is separate from the actual application layer and building on this gap is a huge need, we need more interactions between students and graduates, so we hope for a lot more constructive and fascinating research projects and partnerships post-COVID,” concluded Chrometzka.
With that in mind, we're excited to see how university-industry relations will evolve in the years to come. We are pleased that the Otto and Fran Walter Foundation made it possible to host such an interesting event and connect university-industry insights from three different countries and look forward to next year’s event.