Zsuzsa Jávorka is Technopolis Group’s lead consultant for its activities on higher education. She mainly focuses on the interactions of higher education, research and business, working on topics on intellectual property rights, university-business collaboration and internationalisation of higher education.

Leading the way forward

The higher education sector has a number of really important roles in society. For each challenge we are facing there is almost always a response needed from higher education.

These responses can’t just be about keeping up. Higher education is a key driver for local and regional economies and innovation. “If our societies are to remain competitive, higher education has to lead the way”, Zsuzsa says. No institution can singlehandedly respond to all these challenges; collaboration among institutions and with diverse external partners is essential. Zsuzsa highlights that “there are many national and international networks with shared objectives and agendas working together to foster internationalisation, address societal challenges and the emerging requirements created by the accelerated pace of technological innovation and development.”

Digital higher education against COVID-19

The higher education sector is key in Europe’s fight against and recovery from COVID-19. Not only do world class research, human capital and research facilities support medicine and vaccination developments, “equally important is the way in which higher education has adapted to ensure continued delivery of quality education, providing highly trained and qualified individuals for the labour market,” Zsuzsa says. Technopolis Group has been working with the European Commission as part of a project on digitisation in higher education since the start of the pandemic. Higher education encountered new problems linked to going online to be solved on a daily basis. There is a lot to be learnt from the way institutions dealt with the challenges of delivering online education, assessments, examinations and even digital inclusion. “It was remarkable how the narrative moved from the initial shock to more nuanced and sophisticated approaches in the higher education sector, striving to deliver high quality education during a pandemic.” Zsuzsaconcludes.

Digitisation and innovation

Zsuzsa and her team are leading HEInnovate, an initiative by the European Commission in collaboration with the OECD. The project aims at strengthening the innovative and entrepreneurial potential of higher education institutions throughout Europe. “At the core of HEInnovate is an online self-reflection tool,” Zsuzsa explains. “It helps higher education institutions assess their areas of strengths and weaknesses and carry out action planning accordingly.” As part of this project, Zsuzsa and her team have worked with a large number of higher education institutions, organised a series of webinars and exchanged with an expert group that provides insight to a variety of national perspectives. “The project will be running for the coming years, and we look forward to the new activities that we will implement with our partners”, Zsuzsa says.

If our societies are to remain competitive, higher education has to lead the way.

Zsuzsa Jávorka, lead consultant in higher education

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