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Joint University and Small and medium sized enterprises Training

Developing an innovative model for University-SME Cooperation: the JUST Pan-European report

The Partnership of the Erasmus+ JUST project is proud to announce the release of a significant deliverable within Project Result 2: the Pan-European Report, a comprehensive stocktaking of current models of Higher Education Institution (HEI) and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) collaboration. This report provides an in-depth analysis of the existing frameworks and practices at both EU and international levels, encompassing perspectives from universities, businesses, and students.

JUST, which stands for “Joint University and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Training,” addresses the pressing need for stronger collaboration between academia and the business sector, particularly SMEs. The project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, includes a consortium of 9 partners from Belgium, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and Slovakia, representing both the university and business sectors, as well as business agencies and an organization from the tertiary sector.

Key Findings of the Pan-European Report

The Pan-European Report reveals that while the majority of HEIs engage in some form of university-business cooperation (UBC), there remains a significant gap in active collaboration between academics and businesses. This limited engagement has been identified as a critical factor reducing the labour market relevance of study programmes, the employability of graduates, and the overall impact of research. Despite efforts by European governments and the EU Commission to promote UBC, a widespread lack of awareness persists about how HEIs and businesses can effectively cooperate and the benefits of such collaboration.

The report highlights that cooperation is most developed in research and development, followed by education, yet the overall level of cooperation remains low. It identifies eight types of collaboration and underscores the need to understand practical collaboration models and synergies between HEIs and SMEs. Identifying and addressing the main barriers and drivers for cooperation is crucial for unlocking the full potential of these partnerships, especially during this phase of transition and recovery.

This comprehensive report is a preparatory step for developing the JUST project’s University-SME collaboration model, offering practical insights and frameworks to guide future partnerships. By enhancing these collaborations, the JUST project aims to align educational programmes with labour market needs, boost student employability, and drive innovation within SMEs.

For more information, please visit www.just-training.eu or contact the project team at just.training.eu@gmail.com.