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Unite!’s pathway for the management of open science and innovation in the European Universities Alliances

Unite! university alliance presents a new university open science and innovation governance model and five policy recommendations for fostering a new university scientific knowledge co-creation and transfer policy for a sustainable world.
Unite! White paper - a new university open science and innovation governance model and policy for a sustainable world

Open science aims to increase scientific collaboration and sharing of information for the benefits of science and society. The grand societal challenges we are facing for a sustainable world can only be tackled through new ideas and humanistic ideals, new levels of integration, new science and innovation practices and mechanisms of global collaboration.

Unite! presents a new university open science and innovation governance model and five policy recommendations for fostering a new university scientific knowledge co-creation and transfer policy for a sustainable world. This white paper contributes to advancing the role of universities and European Universties Alliances (EUA) in building a global open science system. The work has been carried out in the UNITE.H2020 project by the working package focused on creating a High Impact European open science and innovation university (WP6).

Link to the white paper

The new governance model and five policy recommendations

Using Unite! Alliance as a test-bed for universities and European Universities Alliances (EUA), we organised five Unite! Open science policy forums to understand what policy actions, redesigns, and incentives university managers, policymakers, and funders should promote at university, regional, national, and European levels to implement the proposed model.

The forums were carried out from September 2022 to October 2023 and led by eight European universities in Unite! Alliance: Aalto University in Finland (Aalto), Darmstadt Technical University in Germany (TUDa), Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), INP-University Grenoble Alpes in France (UGA), KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden (KTH), the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Spain (UPC), the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy (Polito), and the University of Lisbon in Portugal (ULisboa).

The image shows the Unite! open science and innovation governance model

The governance model (image above) illustrates how university researchers can administrate, organise, and conduct open science and innovation in their research teams. This model can also provide guidance on designing and setting up open science and innovation support services for the adoption of these practices at universities. Thirdly, the model can support university managers to develop university and school-level actions, redesigns, and incentives for the effective administration of open science and innovation in universities.

Recommendation 1

Renew university open science and innovation policies and develop school-level open science strategies, implementation, and evaluation plans.

Recommendation 2

Reform the university reward systems of science and innovation.

Recommendation 3

Promote transdisciplinary open science support services for an efficient openness in the sharing and production of knowledge and its transfer.

Recommendation 4

Incorporate open science competencies in bachelor, master, and doctorate education to foster global citizenship.

Recommendation 5

Enhance interoperability of digital infrastructures and accessibility of physical infrastructures of universities for a peaceful humanity.

Europe as an engine of open science and innovation by 2030

With these policy tools we aim to contribute to outlining the subsequent policy actions for the next period (from 2025 onwards) of the European Research Area Policy Agenda and to support developments toward advancing a future EU Open Science Recommendation to help constitute Europe as an engine of open science and innovation by 2030.

As exemplified by the methodologies used in this white paper and the Unite! Handbook on open science and innovation, EUAs may be used to identify and mainstream best open science and innovation practices, co-design and organise research support services, and guide the renewal of university governance models. By leveraging the potential of EUAs, we envision a harmonious European open science ecosystem that transcends boundaries and thrives on collaboration, innovation, and accessibility.

Unite! H2020 – WP6’s team provided evidence-based policy guidelines for university managers, policymakers, and funders to enhance efficient open science and innovation management at universities. The governance model and the policy recommendations lay the foundations for building up European open science and innovation universities and alliances in Europe.

Read and download the white paper here

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Open science can expand the human right to science recognized in the Art. 27.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “from the sharing in scientific advancement and its benefits” to “the co-creation of scientific knowledge by all humanity”.

Unite! intercultural students working in a group around a laptop

Unite! University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering (external link)

Unite! is the alliance of the nine technological universities created to contribute to the European Universities Initiatives proposed by the European Commission.

Unite! logo, bubbles and text "Unite! handbook of best practices for effective mainstreaming of open science and innovation at Universities"

Unite!’s Open Science and Innovation Handbook - a practical guide for researchers

A practical guide for researchers, R&I services, and university managers to transition from modern to open science.

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