Barbara Tan and Eugénie Delzenne are based in the Department of Research, Innovation and Valorisation Antwerp (RIVA) at the University of Antwerp.  Within the YUFE alliance, they are particularly active in the areas of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Flipped Knowledge Transfer. Within Inno4YUFE, they are focusing on developing a Flipped Knowledge Transfer Office, creating pathways for the YUFE International Start-up Community, and supporting the YUFE Acceleration Programme.

Our role in Inno4YUFE
Our role in Inno4YUFE is to support institutional engagement and change to support a better integration of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) across the YUFE Alliance. This is done in close collaboration with our YUFE colleagues who are also active in E&I at their own institutions. Together, our objective within Inno4YUFE is to unleash the full innovation potential of our students and start-ups by adding a dedicated E&I dimension to the YUFE Virtual Campus and the YUFE Student Journey.

To achieve these ambitious goals, we are supported by a mixed team of ICT experts familiar with the virtual campus architecture, as well as E&I experts from the YUFE universities. The YUFE Alliance requires a future-proof and user-oriented solution facilitating E&I interactions and learning, for which we count on the valuable expertise of our YUFE colleagues from the University Carlos III of Madrid and Maastricht University.

Towards a YUFE Flipped Knowledge and Technology Office (FKTO)
As part of our role in the area of institutional engagement and change, one of our key objectives is to promote ‘Flipped’ Knowledge Transfer by fostering community-driven innovation. The flipped approach corresponds to a new model of knowledge transfer which is both solution-oriented and demand-driven, to promote partnerships between universities and industry.

In the first phase of the project, together with our partners, we implemented a YUFE Flipped Knowledge Transfer Office (FKTO). We started by mapping current knowledge transfer practices at YUFE partner universities and conducting SWOT analyses to identify a set of core activities to be carried out to further develop the flipped approach. YUFE partners are strongly committed to building a flipped knowledge transfer community, which can act as a hub for exchanging best practices and getting support with specific queries related to demand-driven knowledge transfer and stakeholder interactions.

Expanding our support service for student entrepeneurs
Inno4YUFE offers a range of opportunities to foster the development of an entrepreneurial mindset amongst students. Working alongside our YUFE colleagues, we have had the opportunity to reflect on how we currently support our students and student entrepreneurs, and how we can develop our offer further.

A key element of the YUFE E&I dimension is the new YUFE International Start-up Community. The aim is to offer a hybrid space for like-minded entrepreneurs and external partners from YUFE universities’ networks to connect, fostering start-up growth and internationalisation and our future ambition is to integrate it into the Virtual Campus.

The flagship event of the YUFE International Start-up Community will be the Inno4YUFE Acceleration Programme, spearheaded by Maastricht University. Working with our partners, we are preparing the second edition of the Acceleration Programme, which will be hosted in-person at the University of Antwerp in March 2023. The programme will offer selected YUFE start-ups the exciting opportunity to collaborate with peers, academics, and industry professionals from different European countries to harness their entrepreneurial ambitions and contribute to the expansion of the community of European innovators.     

Our approach to collaborative working
We have embraced the challenge of working as part of a Europe-wide team that is spread physically across different countries. Inno4YUFE is an ambitious project, with distinct targets and goals, but we have found it exciting to establish synergy with our colleagues at other institutions and continue to learn from one another each time our small team comes together.

We are proud of the positivity we have generated in our collaborative approach to the deliverable tasks assigned and have achieved a lot in a short period of time. We truly appreciate the opportunity of working across borders on both a personal and institutional level.

Looking to the future
Inno4YUFE is a student-centred project, integral to the broader YUFE Entrepreneurship and Innovation ecosystem. As part of the expansion of YUFE goals, we look forward to seeing Inno4YUFE activities continue to address both societal and business demands, while ensuring that participants are developing their skills in preparation for operating in a competitive marketplace.