8th European University Business Forum
Thursday, 24 October, 2019 - 08:30 to 25 Oct 2019 - Brussels - The Square

University business cooperation - a crucial partnership for innovation and sustainable development

The 8th UBForum Forum will bring together policy makers, representatives from higher education and business and other stakeholders to discuss and debate the role of University-Business Cooperation for Innovation and sustainable development. It provides a unique opportunity for discussion, sharing of experience, exchange of good practice, networking and mutual learning.  

The Forum will feature plenary and parallel sessions, keynotes and panel discussions, pitches, and interactive workshops. It will also host an exhibition with a number of projects demonstrating how the cooperation between higher education and business works in in practice.  

Under the overall focus of the Forum on Innovation and Sustainable Development, topics like skills mismatch, lifelong learning, regional and local eco-systems, social innovation, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurial individuals and entrepreneurial organisations, institutional change will be discussed.

The 2019 UBForum is a place for learning, for discussing, for engaging in new and concrete initiatives.

The UBForum will take place at:
The Square
Place du Mont Des Arts
1000, Brussels

Map to the venue

We are looking forward to meeting you at the Forum!


Day 1 - 24/10/2019




Official opening session


Key note address


Coffee break - Exhibition


Panel Discussion - Partnerships for sustainable development – Challenges and opportunities


Lunch - Exhibition


Parallel sessions

Block 1: Tackling the skills mismatch

Addressing Europe’s skills mismatch requires action. More students need to be attracted to  fields of study that prepare them for jobs where shortages exist or are emerging. In many EU Member States there is unmet demand for graduates in science, technology, engineering, (arts) and maths (STE(A)M) fields, medical professions and teaching. Second, all students in higher education, irrespective of discipline, need to acquire relevant transversal skills and key competences that will allow them to thrive. In particular digital and entrepreneurial competences get increasingly important.

14:30 - 16:00  WORKSHOP 1.1    Attracting students to disciplines that prepare for jobs where shortages exist or are emerging

Many Member States still face significant youth unemployment rates; however at the same time countries face shortages for graduates in science, technology, engineering, (arts) and maths (STE(A)M) fields, medical professions and teaching. This workshop will present a number of initiatives that aim to address these challenges.

16:30 - 18:00  WORKSHOP 1.2    Providing learning experiences that enable students to acquire the right mix of knowledge, skills and competences

This workshop session will look at different examples of how to bridge the gap between higher education the labour market, with a focus on developing approaches that build the skills and competences students will require in their future private and professional lives.

Block 2: Supporting the work force to adapt to the future

This stream will discuss how higher education institutions and businesses can work together to make Lifelong learning a reality. New trends in the labour market and new technologies will continue to increase demands on higher-education graduates in the coming decades. Individuals must constantly upgrade their knowledge, skills and competences, particularly in light of demographic developments in Europe.

14:30 - 16:00  WORKSHOP 2.1    Preparing and supporting students and graduates as future lifelong learners

This workshop will look at strategies and concrete examples that support students and graduates to become ‘lifelong’ learners.

16:30 - 18:00  WORKSHOP 2.2    Supporting up-skilling and re-skilling

This workshop will present and discuss concrete examples how Higher Education (HE) and Business can support up-skilling and re-skilling of both staff and potential job-seekers.

Block 3: Building local and regional eco-systems

This stream will present and discuss how higher education institutions, businesses and other stakeholders can work together to support economic and social innovation at local or regional level. The session will also explore how higher education institutions and local actors can collaborate to design and implement   study programmes that ensure graduates will acquire the skills and competences needed at both the local and regional level.

14:30 - 16:00  WORKSHOP 3.1    Supporting social innovation

This workshop will present and discuss examples of collaborations between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), business and other stakeholders in support of social innovation.

16:30 - 18:00  WORKSHOP 3.2    Higher Education for Smart Specialisation

In this workshop participants will learn about collaborations between HEIs and local actors in support of local and regional eco-systems – particularly with regard to design and implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategies.

Block 4:   Working together addressing societal challenges and building societal trust

This session will discuss projects involving HEIs, business, research community and social organisations to address societal challenges and issues, and how these activities can enrich the learning experience of students. It will also discuss how higher education and business can cooperate to overcome challenges in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, big data and automation.

14:30 - 16:00  WORKSHOP 4.1    A driver to reach Sustainable Development Goals 

This workshop will discuss collaborations between HE, Business and research in support of the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

16:30 - 18:00  WORKSHOP 4.2    Artificial intelligence and automation – opportunities and threats

This workshop will discuss the opportunities and threats for higher education, triggered by the developments and use of artificial intelligence and automation. 

Block 5: Developing an entrepreneurial culture

Europe needs entrepreneurial graduates. This session will investigate the development of entrepreneurial attitudes at the organisational and individual level. 

14:30 - 16:00  WORKSHOP 5.1    Developing entrepreneurial organisations

This workshop will discuss initiatives to support innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education institutions and systems.

16:30 - 18:00  WORKSHOP 5.2    Nurturing entrepreneurial individuals

This session will discuss examples of higher education institutions’ capacity to provide supportive learning environments - and thereby allowing professors, researchers and students to develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets.


Networking reception/cocktail in exhibition area

Closing reception for Day 1

Day 2 - 25/10/2019


Presentation and discussion of conclusions of parallel sessions 


Sustainability in action - Short pitches of start-ups engaged in the field of sustainable development


Coffee Break - Exhibition


Key note address: "Looking Ahead"


Panel Discussion




Lunch & Conference end