Acceleration Services in support of the institutional transformation of Higher Education Institutions - Accelerate Future HEI

Accelerate future hei

Higher education institution (HEIs) are crucial drivers of knowledge ecosystems, and increasingly also of innovation ecosystems possessing the potential to impact through education, research and regional development. Through Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe funding, the European Commission has been active in supporting HEIs to increase the engagement and impact in the context of their region, by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship activities. The new European Research Area is expected to strengthen the Research and Innovation dimension of HEIs through a comprehensive institutional Higher Education Transformation Agenda in synergy with the European Education Area, reinforcing their role as drivers of change, fostering their recovery, enabling shared objectives between the EU and Member States’ initiatives to support higher education institutions in their efforts to transform on their education, research, innovation and service to society missions. Given that that impact is achieved through active engagement of the knowledge and digitally-driven HEI with its environment, understanding the context in which the HEI exists and aims to impact is vitally important. Initiatives such as the EC’s Smart Specialisation recognise the symbiosis between the HEI and its region, whilst the existence of ecosystems in both university-business cooperation and entrepreneurship are recognised. To engender transformation within HEIs to create better impact pathways, is an exercise in change management and processes. To drive change then, a comprehensive series of sequential and parallel activities need to occur that raise Awareness, Desire, Knowledge that lead to Action, which then needs to be measured to enable the new behaviour to be Reinforced. This can be achieved through a focussed support system that builds on the status quo, develops a vision and activities described in a roadmap and then executed in application projects supported with coaching, training and international exchange.


1. To identify the status quo of the HEI and their ecosystem with regards to entrepreneurial and innovative activities through a comprehensive Scanning and Scoping phase

2. To develop an acceleration development roadmap that incorporates a vision, realistic activities to be executed through a transformation acceleration project within the Developing phase

3. To test and implement acceleration services that help institutions implement a transformation strategy and roadmap, by creating a shared knowledge base, coaching service and virtual meeting place for HEIs to connect with peers and external stakeholders such as other ecosystem actors, investors and public funders. The acceleration services will provide: access to coaches, mentors, expertise and facilitated discussion from academia or outside academia, with different profiles that match with the areas from the transformation agenda. These individuals should provide support for

i. strategy development,

ii. roadmap development, and

iii. implementation of the above roadmap (through institutional transformation acceleration projects and mapping the required support resources), as well as provide

iv. detailed advice on access to funding from EU, national, and regional sources to allow the HEIs to deliver on the transformations. This advice should enable HEIs to formulate standard methodologies to develop specific investment agendas that consist of different funding and financial instrument branches, aligned with the priorities and areas of the common transformation agenda.

4. To include an evaluation mechanism that enables partners to assess the strategies from HEIs

supervised by an ‘acceleration board’ of independent experts. The evaluation mechanism will monitor

progress of the HEIs in the implementation of the chosen areas from the transformation agenda.

5. To generate policy feedback to the European Commission and Member States, as well as to provide

widespread dissemination of the pilot results to other target groups

Implementation period: 01.01.2023. – 31.12.2026.

Funding/ programme: Horizon Europe programme, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. /European Research Executive Agency

Aim: Together, we aim to develop and pilot test a methodology for acceleration services to support HEI institutional transformation


Cooperation partners:

TUM International (TUMint)

Momentum Consulting (MMS)

Instituto Superior Técnico (IST)

Université de La Reunion (UR)

Universidad Europea de Canarias (UEC)

Universidade da Madeira (UMa)

St. Pölten University of Applied Science (STPUAS)

UC Leuven-Limburg University of Applied Sciences (UCLL)

Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE)

Politehnica University Timișoara (UPT)

Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (ViA)

Project funding: 3 197 063.75 (for ViA 208 750.00) Project manager (e-mail): Iveta Putniņa (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Involved staff: Agita Šmitiņa, Vera Grāvīte-Lapere 

More information: Home - Accelerate Future HEI


1. Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences launches new project to accelerate the future potential of Higher Education institutions in Europe. Read here

2. Testing partner ViA explores best practices in university transformation during its international week. Read here


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