Scope & results

SMILE’s contextual focus is smart manufacturing − the hallmark of the next industrial revolution, representing a cornerstone for economic competitiveness and growth in order to create jobs and improve the quality of life of citizens.

SMILE’s overall objective is to accelerate institutional change and increase higher education institutions’ innovation and entrepreneurship capacities as well as their integration into regional innovation ecosystems. It aims to do this by using the EIT knowledge triangle model, extended by civil society (quadruple model) as the main driver for systemic institutional change. This objective is further complemented by inclusion, gender equality, green and digital transition, and quality, following the main development vectors to be achieved by the European Education Area by 2025.

A holistic view of the knowledge triangle, including all actors in a multilateral manner, will enable to achieve SMILE’s targets. The project’s major concepts directly refer to the knowledge triangle actors: innovation orientation refers to research, mutual learning − to education, and open entrepreneurship − to the business domain.

The project’s Innovation Vision Action Plan (IVAP) consists of a systemic approach of novel actions all interacting in a comprehensive manner. One major premise for this project’s success is mutual learning. Participants learn from each other by scouting peers’ existing knowledge and identifying which knowledge is most vital to be shared to increase the network’s overall entrepreneurial and innovative capacity. The actors will jointly identify the network’s knowledge gaps and derive areas to build new knowledge in.

To benefit from these actions, novel tools and measures will be generated to disseminate this new knowledge not only within the network but further to all types of external stakeholders. This approach again emphasises the openness and innovation orientation of the SMILE project.

These different actions of SMILE are depicted via a scouting function to identify knowledge gaps and heterogeneous knowledge stocks. Four actions will then build up on the scouting and will further influence each other during the whole project, namely: digital learning nuggets, learning labs, coaching, and training.

The IVAP will further be completed by governance and transferability actions, ensuring that the higher education institutions in the consortium will benefit from SMILE. The project will support 13 start-ups; train 735 students, as well as 36 academic and 41 non-academic staff members; and mentor 45 students. The SMILE holistic approach allows the consortium partners and several stakeholders to benefit from this project by disseminating the generated knowledge to the public.

Project information

Type of Action: EIT-KIC Action

Programme: EIT HEI Initiative

Financed by: European Union

Duration: 1 July  2022 – 30 June  2024

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