NUI Galway to lead European project on innovation capacity building for higher education

Jul 15 2021 Posted: 13:56 CDT

NUI Galway is to lead a new European project to bring a new entrepreneurial focus to higher education.

i2i (Idea to Impact) will train more than 800 students and 300 staff over two years to look beyond the boundaries of their own disciplines, to think innovatively and enhance the start-up ecosystem in a network of universities and colleges.

The project is open to students, as well as academic, professional services and research staff, across several European institutions to develop a more entrepreneurial mindset in the disciplines of health, technology, climate, culture and creativity.  

NUI Galway and partner institutions in Spain, Greece, Slovakia and Bulgaria have been awarded €1.2 million from the European Union’s Horizon Programme and European Institute of Technology Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education for the i2i project.

Professor Becky Whay, NUI Galway Vice-President International, said: “The i2i project epitomises much of what NUI Galway is achieving through its globalisation project Global Galway. 

“Additionally, the network that is being developed by i2i and the ideas behind the project complement our University values and will make a significant difference in addressing our capacity and capability to foster entrepreneurship and to develop our university as an engine for innovative thinking.”

Principal Investigator on the project, Dr Tony Hall, Deputy Head of NUI Galway School of Education, said: “i2i will promote and support innovation in health, technology, climate, culture and creativity, through the collaboration of higher education institutions with organisations and partners across five entrepreneurial ecosystems: Ireland, Spain, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Greece. The award of i2i augments NUI Galway’s position as a leader in innovation in higher education in Ireland, and internationally.”

The i2i project will run for two years from July 2021 and it builds on two other flagship programmes at NUI Galway. One is the innovative Designing Futures, which is being rolled out across the University to enhance student experience as part of the Government’s Human Capital Initiative. The second is ENLIGHT, a key part of the University’s Global Galway project which aims to enhance the diversity of learning and working experience for staff and students. 

Natalie Walsh, NUI Galway’s Director of Entrepreneurial Development and i2i Co-Principal Investigator, said: “The i2i project will significantly help to grow the innovation ecosystem across our regions. We look forward to demonstrating the potential of the west of Ireland as a leader in the entrepreneurship domain and working with like-minded and like hearted partners from across Europe to build innovation capacity through partnership and create a foundation for future funding in this space.” 

The i2i project will also include the development of a shared Innovation Vision Action Plan to identify the improvements being targeted for each higher education institution and how to address gaps through knowledge exchange, collaboration, programmes and partnership.

Ends

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