HEINNOVATE Workshop Towards an Entrepreneurial and Innovative University





A workshop was held on 18 November, in Lisbon, at Centro Cultural de Belem premises, jointly organized by the European Commission and the OECD, on the topic “Towards an Entrepreneurial and Innovative University”.

The event was attended by members of Higher Education Institutions (HEI), the European Commission, OECD, Portugal Entrepreneurship Education Platform, invited speakers, and the Portuguese Minister for Education and Science, Nuno Crato.

Internationalization as part of the entrepreneurial strategy of Higher Education Institutions was one of the topics addressed at the Workshop, and here highlighted since we consider it strongly linked to entrepreneurship.

Internationalization is a wide concept that gathers a variety of activities and processes, it’s a “catch all concept”. It is also a main driver for Higher Education Institutions to promote internal change and improvement.

Internationalization has been increasingly gaining more relevance in the reform of Higher Education systems, leading to internal and external shifting processes in organizations. The international perspective has to be core part of the organizational strategy. Higher Education Institutions have since far been international. There is mobility of students and teachers in many institutions, in many countries, since middle age. Meaning that the concept is not new but the approaches are very different. It is about changing mindsets and opening up boarders and start being international “at home”. It is a complex process involving critical thinking, bringing added value, competitiveness, promoting employability, stimulating cooperation, synergies, sharing of resources and promoting quality.

Recent studies do not place Portugal in the top 10 best countries to study, but rather northern Europe countries. What influences these choices? Quality assurance of teaching, the city and its culture, recognition, but mainly international reputation. This is the path we have to follow. Promoting Portugal as a reference of an academic excellence destination, with an international environment, is a collective work for witch Ministers, Higher Education Institutions, students, teachers and other relevant stakeholders, have to work in a proactive way to be more competitive. Some questions were raised to the participants, which may be a good check list to know if we are in the right track. Does your HEI support the international mobility of its staff and students (including PhD students)?; How does the HEI seek and attract international and entrepreneurial staff (including teaching, research and PhDs)?; Does your HEI demonstrate internationalization in its approach to teaching? Does your HEI actively participate in international networks? Can your HEI be considered entrepreneurial?

This was the challenge raised to the HEI participants in the event and mainly a day for a very useful and enriching exchange of views that left a lot of work to be continued.

Ana Mateus, invited speaker at the Workshop