Transformation of higher education institutions towards strengthen R&I and scientific excellence


With the goal of developing an approach capable of supporting higher education institutions in performing transformations that strengthen R&I and increase scientific excellence, the INITIATE approach will be created in collaboration with the project consortium and local stakeholders from Widening countries, SMEs and public agencies. The project’s long-term viability will be aided by its diffusion and communication, which will also allow for further improvement of final solutions.

Objectives and ambition

INITIATE is a project that aims to empower higher education institutions to develop R&I through institution transformation. INITIATE, in its widening dimension, seeks to raise excellence in science and knowledge valorisation of Europe's universities through cooperation and knowledge circulation. Through stakeholder inclusion and co-design approach, INITIATE will design an approach for institution transformation that will reflect on the current needs and resources of the institution, external elements such as policy barriers, good practices from other initiatives and identification of possible collaboration areas with other institutions including local ecosystems.
1Specific Objective 1
To foster practical usability of INITIATE approach ensuring the match between higher education institutions and relevant stakeholders to improve the interaction/mutual learning among experts, researchers, policy and decision-makers, SMEs and other stakeholders involved in the R&I (WP1,WP4)
2Specific Objective 2
To design INITIATE approach for the higher education institution transformation together with supporting tools and feed the INITIATE knowledge community with a coordinated training and capacity building strategy increasing knowledge exchange in Widening countries (WP2, WP3, WP4)
3Specific Objective 3
To demonstrate and validate the INITIATE approach for institutional transformation for strengthening R&I and scientific excellence in 3 Widening countries (WP5)
4Specific Objective 4
To form an Alliance for green energy transition and deploy a sound strategy towards the exploitation and replication of INITIATE results (WP4, WP5, WP6)
5Specific Objective 5
Promote, raise awareness and facilitate the adoption of INITIATE approach to support the wide- scale energy transition of EU through actions that contribute to the R&I development, scientific excellence and cooperation between higher education institutions, SMEs and stakeholders in local ecosystems (WP4, WP6)

Key exploitable results

Table on below summarises the project’s KERs, their target groups, and the deliverables associated to them (“D.”). In addition to having the expert know-how about the tools, it is also essential to obtain knowledge and feedback from users, understanding the regional energy contexts and also understanding the viewpoints of the stakeholders to avoid unrealistic scenarios and be able to implement the solutions without hurdles. This type of knowledge will also create an environment that supports R&I development and stimulates discussion among energy system experts about the technical, social, environmental and economic implications of different market and policy frameworks.

1KER 1
Understanding of expert needs, and the development of effective user engagement, value-creation, and value-sharing strategies that elicit the knowledge sharing among European Universities, in particular in Widening countries
2KER 2
Knowledge Base for understanding of existing standards, policy frameworks, regulations, social, economic, sayironmental and technical aspects that support the wide integration of clean energy technologies.
3KER 3
INITIATE approach for successful higher education institution transformation that underpins the R&el development in green energy sector
4KER 4
Knowledge exchanger for researchers in Widening countries and study visits for various stakeholders for better knowledge creation and circulation
5KER 5
Steering policy recommendations for the development of R&l and green transformation of EU countries based on the exchange in R&I Labs.
6KER 6
Repository (database) on relevant outputs and initiatives and web-based Investment advisor for broader audience
7KER 7
INITIATE Knowledge Hub for education materials and knowledge exchange through online interactive module
8KER 8
INITIATE Roadmap for development of R&I in energy transition sector and Alliance for greenenergy transition


INITIATE will contribute to the following outcomes:

  • Successful institutional reform and upgrade of higher education institutions in the R&I dimension (empowerment to be actors of change), through integrated collaboration between institutions and with other actors in local ecosystems;
  • Mainstreamed culture of excellence in science and value creation amongst higher education institutions, and particularly in less research-intensive institutions and countries, in particular Widening countries, through consolidation of geographically inclusive alliances of higher education institutions, achieving long-term collaboration;
  • Contribution to accelerated institutional reform in R&I dimension and strengthened R&I capacities in higher education institutions, notably those located in Widening countries, in particular;
    • Modernised research careers in higher education sector, interoperable with other sectors;
    • Accelerated digital transition of the R&I dimension of the higher education sector across the entire ERA;
  • Increased global competitiveness of research in higher education institutions by strongly increased critical mass in terms of upskilling, knowledge creation and knowledge circulation in the green transition and other key European policy areas such as European Missions;
  • Contribution to implementation of the relevant ERA Policy Agenda actions in higher education sector.


INITIATE will also contribute to following expected impacts:

  • Increased science and innovation capacity for all actors in the R&I system in Widening countries;
  • Structural changes leading to modernised and more competitive R&I systems in eligible countries;
  • Reformed R&I systems and institutions leading to increased attractiveness and retention of research talents;
  • Mobilisation of national and EU resources for strategic investments;
  • Higher participation success in Horizon Europe and more consortium leadership roles;
  • Stronger links between academia and business and improved career permeability;
  • Strengthened role of the Higher Education sector in research and innovation;
  • Greater involvement of regional actors in the R&I process;
  • Improved outreach to international level for all actors.

Transformation of higher education institutions towards strengthen R&I and scientific excellence