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Seven European universities initiate a project to strengthen collaboration in research and innovation

  • Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit
  • January 27th, 2021
The FIT FORTHEM team at the University of Valencia.
The FIT FORTHEM team at the University of Valencia.

FORTHEM, a network of seven European higher education centres, including the University of Valencia, has launched the FIT FORTHEM research project, an initiative within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission that was created to draw a map of joint research and innovation policies that include open science and research, internationalisation and technology transfer. The initiative, endowed with two million euros, is directed at the University of Valencia by María Dolores Pitarch, director of the Interuniversity Institute for Local Development and professor in the Department of Geography.

This Monday, January 25 and Tuesday, January 26, the opening meeting of the European project FIT FORTHEM (Fostering Institutional Transformation of R&I Policies in European Universities) took place, with which, in addition, it will help to design the strategic planning of R&I D in the universities of the FORTHEM alliance (Fostering Outreach within European Regions, Transnational Higher Education and Mobility), and to support the joint research activities of the project and to promote long-term integration. The project also intends to exchange best practices in research and innovation and to work on common strategies for mutual access to the research infrastructures of the partners.

In this sense, the seven universities will also cooperate in a virtual support centre that will provide specialised advice to researchers planning joint grant applications to binational, multilateral and European programs. Likewise, FIT FORTHEM also foresees the strengthening of the multinational and multisectoral joint creation of knowledge and innovations, and the expansion of its scope. In this way, associates will be able to improve their professional skills in research management, strategic planning and scientific communication.

The FIT FORTHEM team at the UV is made up of María Dolores Real, vice-rector for Innovation and Transfer; Esteban Sanchis, delegate of the Rector for Mobility and head of FORTHEM; Carolina Moreno, professor of Journalism and director of the ScienceFlows Research Group; and Lola Garzón, professor of Economics and Coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Support Program (UVEmprén). Also Paz Ruiz, technician of European Projects and Internationalisation; José Manuel Barrueco, Library technician and expert in Open Access; Isabel Mendoza, researcher at ScienceFlows; and J. Javier Serrano and María Dolores Pitarch, member and director of the Interuniversity Institute of Local Development and professors of the Department of Geography.

Partners of the FORTHEM Alliance are the University of Valencia (UV), the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (JGU, Germany), the University of Burgundy (UB, France), Jyväskylänyliopisto (JYU, Finland), UniwersytetOpolski (UO, Poland), the University of Palermo Studies (UNIPA, Italy) and LatvijasUniversitāte (UL, Latvia).

The transformation processes proposed by FIT FORTHEM in all universities will be preceded by an assessment of the joint potential of the partners and an in-depth study of the differences between the academic and innovation systems of the participating countries. On this basis, FORTHEM can continue to develop joint activities that go far beyond the scope of projects funded by ERASMUS+ and Horizon 2020 and can serve as a model for other European universities.


FORTHEM Alliance and European Commission

FIT FORTHEM was born on December 4, 2020, when the European Commission and the FORTHEM Alliance signed an agreement to finance this research project within the Horizon 2020 program “Science with and for society” with a duration of 3 years. The FORTHEM alliance aims to facilitate student mobility, create a virtual campus, connect researchers through joint projects in thematic laboratories, promote common outreach activities in society and support institutional integration.


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