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INDUSAC: An initiative to revolutionise collaboration between universities and companies

ANDREU COROMINAS, International Projects at the UPC Technology Center (CIT UPC).

At a time when fostering collaboration between industry and academia is more important than ever, new innovative, cooperative approaches are needed to connect both sectors. The INDUSAC project, in which the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech Technology Center (CIT UPC) is participating as a partner, is designed to do exactly this: to establish a fast co-creation mechanism between universities and companies, focused on people. INDUSAC is designed to revolutionise the way that companies and universities collaborate in Europe. To achieve this, a dynamic community of companies, researchers and students will be created to respond to over three hundred international technology “challenges” in the next three years.

The academy hopes to bring together at least a thousand companies, three thousand students and three hundred researchers by the end of the project.

The INDUSAC project is based on person-centred design principles. This enables great flexibility in the co-creation of projects, for which durations of between four and eight weeks are established. As part of INDUSAC, a new platform will be developed that will go beyond simple conceptualisation of challenges. On it, over three hundred projects of international co-creation will be launched that will ensure solid validation of the tool.

INDUSAC is focused on four main areas. Each one covers in a unique way the entire European business and industrial spectrum: circularity, sustainability, digitalisation and industry 4.0. Around these areas, companies will define their challenges with the help of templates and guides drawn up in the context of the project. In addition, tools and support material will be included so that students and researchers can respond to these challenges consistently.

One of the most ambitious aspects of INDUSAC is the creation of a dynamic community of representatives of industry and academia. It is expected to bring together at least a thousand companies, three thousand students and three hundred researchers at the end of the project. This collaborative ecosystem will redefine the way these actors subsequently continue to collaborate.

The methodology is the key engine behind the success of the project, as it favours the creation of mixed and international teams and aligns industry needs with the interests and ‘expertise’ of students and researchers. This methodology will materialise in a platform and will offer tools to help propose the challenges and develop the processes needed to resolve them. This will ensure effective, smooth operation and collaboration. With an easy-to-use interface, functions and characteristics will be applied to this digital platform that will simplify collaboration processes.

This pioneering initiative represents a significant step towards a more collaborative and sustainable future, to make Europe a centre of innovation and industrial growth.

Launch: 1 November

The new platform will be launched on 1 November 2023 and a call will be kept open so that companies can propose – free of charge – their challenges to European students and researchers. To resolve these challenges, groups can be formed of at least three students and researchers of different nationalities. If the solution that is presented is selected, the group will receive financial compensation from the project. Companies should monitor the development of the solution to ensure the success of the proposal.

In this way, INDUSAC provides innovative solutions for companies through collaboration with students and researchers; access to young talent, academic research resources, new networks and contacts; compliance with sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals; identification of new markets and international business opportunities; reduction of research and development costs; and greater competitiveness in a business environment that is under constant change.

As the INDUSAC project progresses in the coming years, the transformative impact that it will have on the competitiveness of companies and European universities will become clearer. This pioneering initiative represents a significant step towards a more collaborative, sustainable future, to make Europe a centre of innovation and industrial growth.

INDUSAC was launched in September 2022 and will last three years. It is funded by the European Union through the Horizon Europe programme. Other participants in the project in addition to CIT UPC are Bax & Company and Innoget (Spain), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya (Hungary), the Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia), the Bydgoszcz Industrial Cluster Tool Valley (Poland), the  Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – KIT (Germany), the Cyprus University of Technology and EIT Manufacturing East (Austria).

INDUSAC is one of the projects that the UPC will present at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2023 (SCEWC23), which will be held from 7 to 9 November at the Fira Barcelona (at the Gran Via trade fair site). INDUSAC will be exhibited on the UPC stand of 60 metres squared and at the meeting that — under the title ‘Shaping the Urban Future: UPC Solutions for Greener, Sustainable, Inclusive and Digital Cities’— will be held in the same university exhibition space on Wednesday 8 November from 10:30 to 12:45. For further details about the UPC’s participation in SCEWC23, see here.

More information about the INDUSAC project is available on the official website and at this link.

See the original publication: Interempresas