European Research & Innovation Days is the European Commission's leading annual event on research and innovation, bringing together policy makers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the general public to discuss the current situation, plans and to shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond.
The panel Education and Innovation for Skills Development: Empowering the next generation, which took place on 29 September 2022, was also attended by the Rector of the University of Primorska, Dr. Klavdija Kutnar, alongside the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, who leads the European Network of Innovative Higher Education Institutions, of which the University of Primorska is a part. The Commissioner pointed out that the Network has already started its work in the first three months of its operation and highlighted the importance of the Erasmus+ programme, which has been successfully running at our University since its beginning, as one of its key objectives.
Inspired by the European Strategy for Universities and the new European Innovation Agenda, a discussion was held on the role of education and training in stimulating creativity, entrepreneurship, and students’ interest in research and innovation. They also tackled the topic of the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity of higher education institutions, which are necessary for the development of innovative pedagogies and curricula that respond to the needs of the labour market.
Prof. Klavdija Kutnar, rector of University of Primorska pointed out that, when asked what universities can contribute to a more innovative Europe, she answers as a mathematician: 'In mathematics, the very beginning was with numbers, because we had to count things. Then we had to create a counting system to count parts of whole units and that was enough for a while. But not for long - they were looking for solutions to equations, quadratic equations, cubic equations, so we needed new numbers again, this time with a negative sign, so imaginary numbers entered the system. So whenever we reach a point in research where the existing system is not enough, science has to create a new, additional system, with new rules. I believe that European society has reached the point where we need a new system of rules. And the two key documents we are talking about today, the European Universities Strategy and the European Innovation Agenda, are excellent starting points."
The conversation is available below, Prof. Kutnar's comments are from minute 28 onwards.