Esteban Pelayo - European Association of Development Agencies

John Goddard - EUA - European Universities Association

Marc Pattinson - Managing Director inno TSD and coordinator of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP)

Artur da Rosa Pires – University of Aveiro

Richard Tuffs - ERRIN - European Regions Research and Innovation Network

John Edwards - S3 - Smart Specialization Platform



Newcastle University (NCL)

Leader of WP3: Entrepreneurial Discovery in HEIs

Newcastle University is located in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North-East of England. The University can trace its origins to a School of Medicine and Surgery (later the College of Medicine), established in 1834. Newcastle University is a member of the Russell Group, an association of research-intensive UK universities. The university has one of the largest EU research portfolios in the UK. It attracts over 20,000 students from more than 120 different countries. Teaching and research are delivered in 24 academic schools and 40 research institutes and research centres, spread across three Faculties: the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; the Faculty of Medical Sciences; and the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. The University describes itself as a civic university, with a role to play in society by bringing its research to bear on issues faced by communities (local, national or international).It is focusing a major part of its research into tackling three profound challenges facing global society; namely Ageing, Sustainability and Social Renewal.

The Centre for Urban and Rural Development Studies (CURDS) is a major centre for the study of local and regional development. Over 162 staff have worked in CURDS since its foundation, many of whom have gone to occupy leading policy and academic positions in the field. Over 50 PhDs have been awarded for research in CURDS. The mission of CURDS is to undertake research aimed at improving understanding of the process of regional development in advanced economies. It also undertakes strategic research concerned with the design and evaluation of public policies relating to territorial management. Since its establishment in 1977, CURDS has generated in excess of £30 million of research income from research councils and public and private, international, national and local and regional bodies in the UK and elsewhere.


Politecnico di Milano (PoliMI)

Leader of WP5: Co-design and validation of the Toolkit Smart Thinking

Established in 1863 in Milan, the Politecnico di Milano (PoliMI) is one of the leading science and technology universities in Europe, producing engineers, architects and industrial designers through a variety of innovative specializing courses. The Politecnico di Milano is organized in 12 Departments devoted to research, 6 Schools of Engineering, 2 School of Architecture and 1 School of Design, spread over 7 campuses in Northern Italy for better interaction with local communities and private companies. This gives students and researchers the advantages of a small community atmosphere and the resources and services of the largest technical university in Italy with more than 40,000 students.

PoliMI has reinforced in the last years an intense internationalization policy also with the objective of increasing the number of exchanges with foreign excellent students and researchers through: the implementation of agreements with the most outstanding international universities; the creation of undergraduate, master and PhD programmes totally taught in English; the participation as active leader or partner in several international programmes and networks (CIENCIA SEM FRONTEIRAS, T.I.M.E, UNITECH, PEGASUS, MAGALLANES, CESAER).


SGroup European Universities' Network (SGroup)

Leader of WP6: Dissemination, Engagement and exploitation

SGroup is a non-for-profit founded in 1989 composed of 35 higher education institutions from 17 European and non-European countries. The SGroup is a dynamic network whose aim is to foster university excellence in education and research in a creative and innovative way. Its mission is based on four core areas of co-operation – internationalisation strategy, academic collaboration, academic mobility, and transfer of knowledge.


Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI)

Leader of WP4: Strategic changes in HEIs to align with regional smart specialization

SPI was created in 1997 as an active centre of national and international networks connected to the innovation sector with a mission being the management of projects that foster innovation and promote international opportunities. In fulfilling its mission, SPI has created competences in several different areas which include: mapping of research and innovation systems, development of strategies and policy dialogue, dissemination, training and training needs assessment, and program and project evaluation provided through its permanent staff located in Portugal, Spain, Brussels, China and the United States, and with offices in Europe, USA, China and Singapore. In addition, SPI also works extensively with industry, helping them structure their R&D and Innovation activities and supporting their connections with potential research partners and funding opportunities.

Furthermore, it is an associated member of the European Business & Innovation Centre Network and has a wide network of contacts with different kinds of R&D and innovation actors across Europe and beyond.


Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum der Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH (SEZ)

Leader of WP7: Evaluation

SEZ was founded in 1990 as the operational unit of the Commissioner for Europe of Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Economics. With offices in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, its task is to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and other research organisations to get involved in European research projects, initiate transnational technology transfer and the uptake of research results and technology foresight activities. For this, SEZ has 50 staff working in offices in Baden-Württemberg, Germany and is part of the Steinbeis transfer network with 800 Steinbeis Enterprises in Baden-Württemberg and beyond as well as partner in the Enterprise Europe Network of the European Commission with close to 600 participating organisations in over 50 countries. Additionally, it is member of the European Cluster Alliance and the global TCI network for competitiveness, clusters and innovation, and is involved in cluster policy support measures at European, national and regional level (Steinbeis is partner in the newly founded Cluster-Agency Baden-Württemberg). Furthermore, the Steinbeis network includes the biggest private state recognized university in Germany – Steinbeis Hochschule Berlin.

Since the beginning of 2016 SEZ is the contact point of Baden-Württemberg for the Vanguard initiative for New Growth through Smart Specialisation’ that seeks to better position and embed the smart specialisation agenda within relevant EU policy frameworks. SEZ has 25 years’ experience in the management and monitoring of European research projects and has been coordinator in more than 20 EU projects, among those, many in which SEZ was responsible for evaluation exercises.


Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (UPV)

Leader of WP2: Groundwork

UPV is a public Higher Education Institution actively involved in international cooperation and mobility projects. UPV hosts over 36,000 students and employs over 5,000 people (teaching, research, administrative, services staff). It is the first technological university in Spain according to international rankings (e.g. Shanghai Ranking of World Universities) and offers 33 undergraduate programmes, 73 official Master’s degrees and 28 Doctorate programmes. Even though UPV focuses mainly on Engineering studies, it also hosts a Faculty of Fine Arts and a Faculty of Business Administration and Management. It receives every year around 1900 exchange students and sends about 1600 UPV students abroad under different mobility programmes.

UPV has repeatedly ranked among the top 5 European Universities in student exchange figures under the Erasmus Programme. UPV has experience in the management of European projects and takes part in different actions (FP7, Tempus, Alfa, Erasmus Mundus, US-Atlantis, LLP networks and multilateral projects, Creative Europe, Erasmus +, etc.) and in several international networks such as ANUIES, Magalhaes, Santander Group, CONAHEC, CARPE, SEFI.


Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD)

Coordinator of the project.
Leader of WP1: Coordination, Management and Quality plan

UTAD is an institution of high level oriented towards the creation and dissemination of culture, knowledge and science by merging teaching, scientific research and experimental development. Within the current framework of innovation, the Schools and Research Centres develop scientific activity that seeks to deepen knowledge and develop technology capable of addressing issues of global, national or regional scope. UTAD’s core objectives are high quality Teaching, Research and Community Outreach, striving to be a Centre of Excellence for lifelong learning and for the creation, transmission and dissemination of culture, science and technology.

UTAD is a member of the recently created “Northern Portugal University Consortium”, in which three major universities (Minho, Porto and UTAD), together with the regional authorities, will elaborate an integrated investment plan for regional development.


Uniwersytet Łódzki (ULO)

ULO supports all the partners in the development of all WP

The University of Lodz is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Poland. It was established in 1945. The 12 faculties of the University provide programmes in 60 fields of study and 170 specializations. In addition, the University offers several doctoral programmes, more than 90 postgraduate study programmes, as well as studies in English and French. Currently, more than 47,000 students of all levels attend the University of Lodz.

The University is an active institution at the regional level i.e. ULO was involved in preparing the Regional Development Strategy for the Lodzkie Region 2007-2020. The University Development Center was established in order to integrate different units at the University of Lodz with similar roles. It includes offices responsible for supporting research and science, fundraising and international relations. Main role of the Centre is to initiate and support activities which have positive impact on university development and internationalization. The performance of the Centre is focused on 4 major areas; international research and educational projects, national research and educational projects, international cooperation and mobility of academics and students, cooperation with industry and other non-academic stakeholders.