Enhancing Innovation Competences and Entrepreneurial Skills in Engineering Education (InnoCENS)

Project Overview

Project Title Enhancing Innovation Competences and Entrepreneurial Skills in Engineering Education (InnoCENS)
Project Number Erasmus+ 573965-EPP-1-2016-1-SE-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP
Country Kazakhstan
Overall Project Value(EUR) 500 001 - 1 000 000
Project Start – Project End October 15, 2016–October 14, 2019
Project Status Active

Funding and Implementing Organizations

Origin of Funding European Union
Project Budget(EUR) 968.567
Implementing Organization / Consortium

• Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
• Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland)
• Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain)
• National Polytechnic University of Armenia
• National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia
• Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia
• Scientific Educational Reforms Foundation (Armenia)
• Yerevan Telecommunication Research Institute (Armenia)
• Georgian Technical University (Georgia)
• Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University (Georgia)
• Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia
• SMART Consulting (Georgia)
• Belarusian State University (Belarus)
• Ministry of Education of Belarus
• Almaty University of Power Engineering and Telecommunications (Kazakhstan)
• Taraz State University (Kazakhstan)
• Bologna Process and Academic Mobility Center (Kazakhstan)
• ND & Co, Ltd (Kazakhstan)

Contact / Team Leader / Project Team
  • Huaan Fan, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (project coordinator), +46 76 9453650, huaan.fan@abe.kth.se
Beneficiary Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)

Project Summary, Objectives and Results

Project Summary

Armenia, Georgia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are currently facing economic difficulties as consequences of economic policy, recent international financial crisis, collapse of world oil/gas prices and economic slowdown in China and other emerging countries. The situation causes an urgent need to implement structural economic reform to transform traditional economy to diversified, knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. However, present higher education in these countries does not have a strong link to innovation and entrepreneurship. It has failed to become the driving force to create new innovative enterprises which lead to new jobs and economic growth. This project aims to enhance innovation competences and entrepreneurial skills in engineering education through university-business cooperation in order to support creation of new enterprises, new jobs and economic growth in the partner countries.

Main objective: to introduce innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering education at partner universities to support socio-economic development.

Project Objectives
  • To develop and start a new master course on Innovation system for engineers.
  • To develop and start a new master course on Entrepreneurship for engineers.
  • To introduce innovation pedagogy and innovation competence assessment.
  • To establish 8 innovation centers at partner universities.
  • To support students and staff to commercialese innovation ideas and create new start-ups.
  • To organize an innovation competition for students and staff members.
  • To disseminate the results to other universities in partner countries.
Education Sector HE, VET (IVET & CVET)
Components of the Education Process Education Management, Institutional strengthening & capacity building, Social Partnership, Standards and curriculum development, Teaching and learning technologies (arrangements), Training of teachers / trainers
Occupational Field Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
Target Groups Decision-makers and managers in VET and HE institutions, Employers and employer organisations, Learners (scholar, student, apprentice etc.), Lecturers, teachers, instructors, trainers
Related Projects

Not assigned


Work package 2: Foster an innovation culture in partner countries

This WP will increase the awareness of the importance of innovation for economic growth. To better design project activities, a questionnaire survey will made among universities and enterprises in the 4 countries. The survey is expected to give information on present situation on innovation development and university-business cooperation in these countries.

During a 2-weeks period, 24 partner country staff will visit Swedish national and regional agencies, universities, research institutes and private companies. The visits will enable them to see how Swedish innovation systems are set up at local, regional and national levels, which actors and stakeholders are involved, how universities cooperate with the industry, and what kind of business mentoring services universities are providing.

To increase engineering students’ knowledge on innovation systems and processes, a master course will be developed in 2017 and introduced at all partner universities during 2017/2018.

In autumn 2017, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be established at each of 8 partner country universities. Each centre will have 2-3 staff and equipped with computers, printer, copy machine, digital projector for video conference. Each centre will be governed by an Advisory Board with representatives from administration, industry, staff and students. The mission of the centre is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at the university, offer innovation and entrepreneurship master courses and provide business development services.


Work package 3: Introduce innovation pedagogy

To help engineering students become more innovative the innovative pedagogy which promotes active learning and curricular design focusing on innovation competencies introduced. To achieve this, two workshops will be organized.

The first workshop will be organized by TUAS in Finland. Participants will learn the active learning philosophy of innovation pedagogy and various active learning methods such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL), project-based learning, collective learning, etc.

In spring 2018, each partner country university will run a course-based innovation pedagogy. At the end of the course, an evaluation will be made after collecting feedbacks from students and teachers. These feedbacks may be considered in future course rounds.

The second workshop will take place in Taraz, Kazakhstan, and focus on curricular design. After that, partner country teachers will revise the curriculum for one existing education program. Revision will result in a new program description which clearly defines different types of competences which students are expected to receive. Furthermore, for each course a new syllabus will be developed with learning outcomes specified.


Work package 4: Define and assess innovation competences

Subject knowledge which students are learning at universities are not always sufficient to make students creative. In this WP, outcomes from previous European projects will be used to define the types of innovation competences students should obtain and how these competences can be assessed by teachers and by students themselves.

This activity will start with a workshop on innovation competences and assessment, which will take place in Minsk, Belarus. Based on previous European projects, the workshop will define desired innovation competences, such as critical thinking, creative thinking, communication skills, team work skills, interdisciplinary skills, etc. The workshop will also address how these competences should be promoted and facilitated in teaching and learning.

Effective assessment is a prerequisite for effective learning, especially when we wish to promote innovation competences. The project will take advantage of previous EU projects to develop tools to assess innovation competences and competence development by students. These tools will be implemented in spring 2018.


Work package 5: Promote entrepreneurship and university-business cooperation

This WP aims to promote entrepreneurship knowledge and skills so that students are able to commercialize their inventions or turn their business ideas into startups, spin-offs, etc.

We will first provide training to trainers at the innovation centres so that these trainers can train other staff and students at each university. The training course will be given by UPV in Spain. The first part of the course will focus on idea generation, technology-based entrepreneurship, market analysis, product and process development, financing and human resources. The 2nd part concerns business development support: how to evaluate business potential of an idea, how to turn an idea into a sustainable business concept, how to write a business plan, etc.

To provide students with basic knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship, a master course named “Entrepreneurship for engineers” will be developed during 2017 and offered to students in Spring 2018.

To promote entrepreneurship through university-business cooperation, an event called “Entrepreneurship Day” will be organized. This event will bring universities and business community together to exchange ideas and information, discuss entrepreneurial projects and identify best form of university-business cooperation.

Based on training course in Spain, trainers at each innovation centre will spread entrepreneurship knowledge through seminars and brochures, support business development by evaluating business ideas from staff and students and helping them start new businesses.

Successful business ideas or startups can participate in the innovation competition for partner country students. Candidates will present their business idea and business plan. A special jury will be formed to evaluate all business ideas and choose one winner for each partner country.

Project Results
  • Study visit on Swedish innovation systems.
  • Training of trainers on entrepreneurship, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain.
  • Questionnaire survey on innovation and entrepreneurship in partner countries.
  • Development and Introduction of master courses Innovation systems and Entrepreneurship for Engineers.
  • Workshop on innovation pedagogy at Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland.
  • Workshop on innovation competence assessment at Belarusian State University.
  • Workshop on innovation-oriented curricula design at Taraz State University, Kazakhstan.
  • Establishment of 8 Innovation centers.
  • Develop and provide business incubator services for students and staff members.
  • Organize an innovation competition in four partner countries.

Links and Materials

    Link to project relevant data