Capacity building in Higher Education (KA2)

Enhancing capacity of universities to initiate and to participate in clusters development on innovation and sustainability principles (UniClaD)

UniClaD is an Erasmus+ KA2 project that aims to enhance the development of the potential of universities as an integral part of agro-industrial clusters by the creation of expertise centres as pre-conditions for the development and successful functioning of agro-industrial clusters in three target countries: Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine. The project is mainly directed to HEIs and practitioners in the field and builds on the following analysed problems and needs in the target countries:
  • In Ukraine, the state emphasizes cluster development in regional policy, especially in agriculture, but faces challenges in implementation and understanding within professional and academic spheres. This project seeks to establish clusters based on M. Porter's definition, involving Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) significantly. The transition of universities towards roles in innovation and knowledge transfer is supported by Ukrainian education law, fostering partnerships with enterprises. However, challenges like limited legal frameworks and resources impede the creation of effective clusters. EU support is crucial for addressing these issues and fostering practical research applications and robust university-enterprise collaborations across various sectors.
  • In Moldova, economic growth and competitiveness hinge on the production, transfer, and diffusion of knowledge and innovations, supported by collaborative networks of research institutes, universities, and businesses. The government's commitment to industrial cluster development, as evidenced by the formation of the "ELCHIM-MOLDOVA" cluster in 2013, brings together entities like "TOPAZ," the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Agency of Technology Transfer. This collaboration focuses on innovating in electrochemical and electrophysical material treatment, incorporating experiences from EU partnerships.
  • In Azerbaijan, the cluster development program, part of the "Azerbaijan 2020" vision, aims to transform the country into a regional industrial hub using a cluster-based approach, particularly in competitive sectors. While current focus is on the petroleum industry, there's a plan to expand into agriculture, machinery, and IT, learning from European experiences and involving Higher Education Institutions more actively in these emerging clusters.

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