"Entrepreneurial skills and mind-sets are more important than ever in today's global markets. That applies as much to universities as enterprises. I am confident that this new initiative will encourage European higher education institutions to become more entrepreneurial and open to opportunities," said Androulla Vassilliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
The European Commission, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is launching a new online self-assessment tool for universities to measure how entrepreneurial they are.
HEInnovate enables institutions to assess their performance in seven areas: leadership and governance, organisational capacity, teaching and learning, pathways for entrepreneurs, university-business exchange, the internationalised institution, and impact measurement.
Under each of the seven assessment areas, the institutions are invited to score themselves from 0-10 in response to statements such as:
The university facilitates access to private financing for its potential entrepreneurs
The university has strong links with incubators and science parks
The website then generates results for the institution, highlighting areas of strength and weakness. It also helps the institution improve its performance by providing links to customised examples of good practice.
HEInnovate is not a benchmarking or ranking tool; all results and data remain the property of the user and will not be kept or stored by the Commission or the OECD. There are no fees or registration costs to use the service.
In 2014, the Commission and the OECD will be holding workshops and events across Europe on how to get the most out of the website.
European higher education systems increasingly have to change the way they operate due to the revolution in information and communication technologies, the financial crisis, global competition and pressure on budgets.
One of the most significant changes in response to these challenges has been the development, both in concept and practice, of the ‘entrepreneurial university' which puts greater emphasis on innovation in all areas, from research to teaching and learning, knowledge exchange, governance and external relations.
The European Commission's University-Business Forum, which brings together stakeholders from business and academia to encourage stronger partnerships and knowledge exchange, has worked on defining a framework defining the characteristics of the 'entrepreneurial university'.
Following initial discussions in 2011, the Commission set up an expert panel in early 2012 to examine the concept in-depth. These discussions inspired the creation of HEInnovate, which takes account of the diversity of the European higher education landscape and the areas which can contribute to entrepreneurial performance in higher education.