Higher Education for S3 in Lubelskie

The  research  shows  that  HEIs  in  Lubelskie  have  great  potential  to  contribute  to  innovation  and  regional development, with strong and complementary universities as well as research institutions and higher vocational institutions. The overall issue of S3 governance is tackled and shows a good partnership between the Marshal’s Office and the regional HEIs, built on a history of cooperation in developing innovation strategies, which is longer than that of other Polish regions. However, the role of HEIs in implementing S3 is hampered by a lack of targeted instruments in  the EU  co-financed  regional  operational  programme.  In  particular,  the  current  situation  of subcontracting  HEIs  by  companies  for  research  and  innovation  projects  has  not  led  to  their  successful mobilisation.

As  for  education,  there  are  several  interesting  instruments  in the  relevant  national  education programme but they are not linked to S3 implementation. In addition to the governance of S3, the action research focused on the role of HEIs in two priority domains, namely the bioeconomy and photonics. It reveals two contrasting approaches to the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process, a key element of the Smart Specialisation concept: One relies on technology push by building on the research strengths of the regional HEIs, with the other being led more by the market. Both priorities have a lot to offer the region but appropriate lessons are needed on how to increase their impact and critical mass. Based on  the  results  of  this  action  research specific  recommendations  are  put  forward  to  support the  process  of revising the Lubelskie S3.

Main conclusions and recommendations

  • Each HEI from Lubelskie has positive experience and knowledge in some aspects of the functioning of HEIs. It would  be highly  beneficial  to share this experience  among  HEIs  in Lubelskie through regional knowledge working groups (informal cooperation supported by the Marshal’s Office)
  • The engagement of HEIs from Lubelskie in the implementation of S3 is rather low due to the fact that policy instruments at national and regional levels proposed in the Operational Programmes are mainly dedicated to entrepreneurs (it concerns the OPs from all regions in Poland in the perspective 2014-202010).
  • It is still possible to implement new activities in the current ROP. New activities should be based on short-term and simple mechanisms with a relatively small financial scale, based on GBER and ESIF regulations like industrial PhDs or support scheme for universities’ spin-offs.
  • The priority of photonics should be explicitly defined in the S3 and better linked with complementary activities (based on photonics) carried out by HEIs and research performing organisations from Lubelskie and other  European  regions  (building  critical  mass  through international/national  networking  and  mobilisation  of new regional partners like universities’ spin-offs). The regional potential, especially from the perspective of business part, seems to be not sufficient to establish instruments such as competence centres or public-private partnerships, but it could be strengthened by joint projects carried out by consortia of HEIs and regional enterprises.

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