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Reconnecting universities and enterprises to unleash regional innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

We will support developing of entrepreneurial and innovation capacities and enhance their cooperation with enterprises giving them the central role in the regional innovation ecosystem in
Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Montenegro.

– About the Project


Until the beginning of the 1990s in Albania (ALB), Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) and Montenegro (MNE) the universities had close cooperation with the industry, taking the position of main development partners and innovation enablers.

During the turbulent 1990s and the transformation of the socioeconomic systems, these links were cut. Twenty years later, in the contemporary free and globalized market conditions, there is lack of experience for establishing sustainable university – enterprise cooperation in each of the targeted countries.

Three issues were identified as the main reasons for the lack of cooperation: (1) lack of awareness about the universities’ capacities; (2) bureaucratic burden resulting from the absence of a one-stop-shop (focal point) and of defined instruments and tools that can be provided; as well as (3) lack of infrastructure (especially equipment) at the universities.

This project tackles the lack of systematic and sustainable cooperation between universities and economy in ALB, BIH and MNE.

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This project has been designed to respond most adequately to the specific needs and problems in the partner countries. Commercialization Hubs will be developed at all participating universities not as research centers, but as interfaces between higher education institutions and enterprises and society. These Hubs will attract enterprises, especially start-ups and SMEs, to the universities because of the knowledge and skills of their staff (professors and students) as well as the valuable technology that they will possess.

Besides, the Commercialisation Hubs will enhance participation of the universities in international projects and programs, detection and valorization of research results, creating strategic relationships with industry, liaisons and relations with potential sponsors.

The Hubs will be equipped with rapid prototyping technology (RPT) that has become a necessary instrument for technical and engineering sciences, medicine, urban planning, etc. and/or Lean Manufacturing (LEAN), which is very significant for increasing the competitiveness of the enterprises.

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KnowHub is responding to the regional, national and local needs for the establishment and strengthening of the link between the higher education institutions and economy.

Knowhub will target:

  1. Enterprises with developmental goals and inspiration, but lack of knowledge and infrastructure in Albania, BiH, and Montenegro.
  2. Business development associations, government bodies, such as Chambers of Commerce, Ministries, Governmental Agencies, etc. in Albania, BiH, and Montenegro
  3. Students, academic staff and management from the:
    • European University in Tirana,
    • University of Vlora,
    • University of Sarajevo,
    • University of Mostar,
    • University of Montenegro.

– Methodology

We are focusing on all three areas of the university’s action –research, technology transfer and teaching, with an overall objective of developing the cooperation between the enterprises and higher education institutions and consequently improving the (self)employability of the graduates. The project focuses on enriching engineering with entrepreneurship and innovation. The project is based on the development and functioning of the Commercialisation Hubs at each of the involved PCUs that will be the meeting point for the entrepreneurs and students.

The main milestones are:

1. Status-quo analyses for knowledge transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship at the target universities and in their national ecosystems

The development of the hubs and their instruments will be elaborated based on two aspects and the respective methods:

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2. Setting-up 5 Commercialisation Hubs

The Hubs will be merged with already existing centres at all 5 PCUs. This project will utilise the existing capacities to support the universities to reach more operative level which will contribute to the sustainability and further development of the R&D activities…

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3. Capacities building at the 5 Commercialization Hubs

The Hubs’ officers and other relevant university staff will receive extensive training on 3 different models of university–economy cooperation during 3 study visits with thematic trainings on Lean Manufacturing at University of Girona (ESP), Rapid Prototyping at University of Vaasa (FIN) and Business Development at FH JOANNEUM in Graz (AUT).

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4. Setting up portfolio of services and instruments and implementing pilot projects

The conducted analysis identified Rapid Prototyping Technology (RPT) and Lean Manufacturing (LEAN) as the best connecting point between the universities and the enterprises. This technology has ever more growing application in technical and engineering sciences, whereas it is being applied widely across industries.

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5. EntreEdu Development Programme for for the staff and students of target universities based on the EntreComp Framework

In order to address the lack of Innovation and Entrepreneurship activities at the Western Balkan universities, trainings focusing on the competences from the EntreComp Framework will be developed.

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– Results

To assure the achievement of specific project objectives, we will:

  1. Analyse and understand the knowledge transfer, innovation and entrepreneurial infrastructure/activities at the target universities in the national ecosystems.
  2. Set-up and equip 5 Commercialisation Hubs (one at each target university) that will serve as one-stop-shop for cooperation with enterprises and support of students and academic staff to commercialise their research results and entrepreneurial ideas.
  3. Develop capacities of the Commercialisation Hubs, their services and instruments.
  4. Increase knowledge transfer and joint activities between the target universities and local enterprises through the Commercialisation Hubs.
  5. Increase students’ (self)employability through practical placement and practice-oriented interdisciplinary trainings covering selected EntreComp Framework’s competences.
  6. Train academic staff on entrepreneurial education to enable and encourage them to include entrepreneurship in their teaching.

To reach the project objectives we will conduct analyses, structure, organize, train and equip 5 Commercialisation Hubs by delivering:

2 innovate workshops

5 target university assessments

1 status-quo report

5 peer-review report

1 strategy development workshop

5 commercialisation Hubs strategies

Equipment for all 5 Commercialisation Hubs

Job profiles for Hub Officer

Trainings for developing the capacities for sustainably management of the 5 Commercialisation hubs

Practical trainings on Lean Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping and Business Development

5 Business and Activity plans for Commercialisation Hubs

5 workshops for development of Hubs’ Portfolio of services

5 Portfolios of services for Commercialisation Hubs

Call for pilot projects

Pilot projects.

We will also :

  • Increase awareness on the potential of the target universities as innovation partners by the local enterprises
  • Increase skills and competences for employability of the students
  • Develop progressive modular teaching materials for entrepreneurial educators
  • Develop training materials for students and potential entrepreneurs
  • Develop and use evaluation tools
  • Conduct trainings on entrepreneurship and innovation for university academic staff and students
  • Prepare Conference presentations
  • Prepare and implement final Conference.



KNOWHUB is a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the EU.

Project coordinator:
FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH
Eggenberger Allee 11, 8020 Graz, Austria
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bojan Jovanovski
Tel. +43 (0)316 5453 6812 | Fax: +43 (0)316 5453 6801


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.