UASNL is an alliance of 17 Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences, who work together to strengthen the European impact of applied research and innovation. In UAS, knowledge transfer, applied scientific research and educational activities are strongly intertwined. Labs, projects, internships and workplace learning are often implemented in research programmes, fostering the mutual learning between businesses, education and research. The professional orientation of the UAS student makes them a valuable contributor to the labour market and increases the graduate’s employability skills. In addition, UAS students frequently participate in research projects leading to innovation through new businesses. This provides a win-win situation for the region, institute and the student. The UAS uses research outcomes to improve their curriculum or further research, and the student has gained hands-on work experience that can be utilised by companies in the region.
UASNL would like to offer its experience in knowledge impact, ecosystem approach to innovation and regional networks to help develop the European Innovation Area.
Europe is facing large societal challenges. Whether it be the current pandemic, climate change or security, we need new knowledge that is instantly applicable in the process of tackling these challenges. Practice based research at universities of applied sciences (UAS) delivers, and through their research they bridge the gap between fundamental science and society. They are strong knowledge and education hubs in the region. As such, they systematically interlink stakeholders in the regional ecosystem to tackle societal challenges together with citizens, public and private partners with a direct contribution to social and economic development as result. UAS are strongly rooted in the region they operate in, and facilitate collaboration and exchange between public, private, societal and academic partners. This is the way forward, where economic growth stems from collaboration and the focus on improving the lives of people through social and technological innovation. In such climate, SME’s, Start-Ups and Scale-Ups excel, because they find the right partners in UAS to grow their business in the ecosystem.
UASNL welcomes the development of the EIA, and underlines its complementarity to the EEA and ERA as a third pillar in the knowledge triangle. UAS are in the driver’s seat to facilitate, participate in and coordinate this knowledge triangle. We would like to share expertise and best practices of our UASNL institutes to develop the EIA. The following pages provide practical examples of the way of working for UAS, and show their position and impact in the region.
‘Universities of Applied Sciences are important players in the region. They connect theory and practice, ideas and implementation, research and applications. This makes them a linking pin spanning research and education, business and society. Together with the regional partners, they form the backbone for transitions we need to face. I wholeheartedly welcome this regional engagement and wish the partners every success’. (Prime minister Mark Rutte, Speech delivered during opening event UASNL, October 2020).
Please find some examples of Dutch regional innovative ecosystems below, involving UASNL partners.