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Higher Education and Smart Specialisation in Lithuania - Final Event

The final event of the case study on Lithuania took place in Vilnius on 19th February 2020. Organized by the Joint Research Centre in partnership with the Government Strategic Analysis Center (STRATA), this event brought together more than 50 policy makers, higher education institutions and international experts to discuss how HEIs contribute to the implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) in Lithuania.

The findings of the HESS Lithuania case study were presented during the event, with a focus on three topics:

1. How do HEIs contribute to S3 in terms of skills and human capital? Which particular skills and competences are needed by companies for S3?

2. How can researchers become more engaged in S3? Which are the main challenges to their participation and which initiatives could be promoted to make them more active?

3. Which factors hinder the attraction and retention of highly skilled personnel? Which are the opportunities and strengths of the innovation system to be promoted?

The event offered the opportunity for participants to reflect on the current challenges addressed by HEIs to engage in Smart Specialisation Strategies, exploring potential ways forward and actions that could be taken to address them. Presentation of relevant experiences from other European regions and member states illustrated possibilities for the Lithuania research and innovation context. 

The experience of Ikerbasque in attracting international talent highlighted the importance of sustainable funding mechanisms to attract researchers and the broad formal agreement between research and innovation stakeholders in supporting talent attraction to the Basque Country. Next, the experience of the Artic University of Norway underlined the importance of building strong partnership with the government and with other Nordic universities to address the skills shortages. Later, Estonia presented the innovative funding mechanisms created to boost university-business collaborations and increase the attractiveness of educational offer on ICT fields. In addition, the InnoHEIs Interreg project, in which Lithuania is involved, presented its planned activities to capitalise higher education infrastructures and enlarge their role for regional innovation development.

Finally, DG Education and Culture presented the HEInnovate framework, demonstrating how HEIs can explore and assess their innovative and entrepreneurial potential.