In order to achieve the greatest possible dissemination of the work done in the project, the USIA project partners participated on October 28, 2022 in the international scientific conference “New Perspectives on Global Education, Research and Innovation” organized by the University of Shkodra, one of the partners of USIA.
The panel organized by USIA partners: “University to Society Innomediaries in Albania: Co-Production of knowledge and research that matters” was part of the agenda of the scientific conference, bringing to a wider audience of project stakeholders the results of the work done by university professors and students during the implementation of the working package, wp5- Second a researcher program and wp6- piloting University to Policy Cooperation through Policy Labs.
Current crises have highlighted the importance of integrating research, politics and practice to work on solutions for complex social problems. The higher education sector is an area with high potential and relevance for the overall development of Albanian society and economy. For the pro-European development of the country, young academics, researchers, project managers, innovators, and students are of crucial importance. Thus, it is the main motivation for the USIA project consortium to enhance an enabling higher education environment that supports university to society collaborations in order to co-produce knowledge and research with an impact that is not only academically insightful but also applicable to the development of Albania in light of European integration.
The papers presented explore the mechanisms of boundary spanning including relationship and trust building, knowledge translation and developing solutions of university, businesses and policy making. All the approaches reduce wicked problems to a manageable scale, by grounding them in local decision-making, reducing their scope or reducing the problem analytically. Professors and students argued that despite the ambition of businesses and policy making to modernize, unless they are institutionally well embedded, their effects are likely to be small scale, local and temporary.
The project has strengthened the institutional and human resources capacities in HEIs in Albania and the capacity-building program, models, guidelines, best practices, strategies, and pilot programs of cooperation (Second a Researcher, Policy Lab, Policy Challenge Fund) are contributing to the modernization of HEIs governance and their integration in the European Higher Education Area.