The International Conference: “Universities and companies working together” was held at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, during the first week of December, together with the seventh meeting of the Linkyou project partners.

Within the framework of the Linkyou project, composed of 13 partner entities, the International Conference “Universities and companies working together” was held at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 5th. In addition, the seventh meeting of partners of the Erasmus+ European Union project was held.

The Linkyou project seeks to launch in Latin America the Challenge Academy platform, already implemented in Europe, with the aim of improving the academy-company relationship.

Employability, knowledge transfer and innovation

During a full day, on December 5, experts from Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Holland, England, the United States, Mexico and Portugal shared their work experiences around three themes: employability, knowledge transfer for social benefit and educational innovation.

The main speaker at the Conference was Rosibel Ochoa, Associate Vice Chancellor Technology Partnerships at the University of California, Riverside. This event joins different actions that have taken place since 2016 within the Linkyou project, which will end in January 2020.

“The conference was totally successful, not only for the number of attendees, but also for the content treated. National and international speakers participated, but the most important thing was that we could detect what is happening in each of our countries regarding the employability issue, the challenges that universities are facing to generate educational innovation, the challenges that face these institutions to transfer knowledge, how to link with the business sector, for their development, and at the same time how to connect them so that students can generate new business initiatives that provide solutions to society”, said Fanny Almario Mayor, Director of Innovation of the host University.

Project objectives

Among the main objectives of the Linkyou project is the generation of tools for international used to improve the employment conditions of university alumni and increase the academy-business relationship. It is based on the need for university students to develop technical talents (from experience in technology to teamwork) and generic skills such as adaptability to changing work environments, responsibility, business management skills and intercultural competence. The Challenge Academy platform was adapted for this.

This digital tool proposes that companies identify business and technological challenges, real cases, and share them on the platform, where students and professors can propose alternative solutions taking into account national and international standards.

Another key objective of the project is to share good practices for the transfer of knowledge from universities to different social sectors. “We want to encourage the things that are created within the academy to go out and benefit society. That is the mission of knowledge transfer offices. So, with this type of project we expand our attention framework, we can learn from each other and, at the same time, know that what we generate from one or another side of the Atlantic can be used by the other, in terms of products, patents, innovations. These types of projects help connect the two regions”, said Adriana Berlanga, Knowledge Valorization Consultant from the Knowledge Transfer Office – Maastricht University Office.

Balance meeting

At the seventh meeting, the partners presented the activities carried out and planned within the project.

The members worked on the presentation of a MOOC – Massive Open Online Course about the themes of the project, prepared the dissemination of this tool and detected the target audience involved.

Each Latin American partner presented the events organized during the year and shared their reports of the activities on the Challenge Academy platform, such as the number of students, teachers and companies registered. They also shared a case study video conducted on the platform.

Using the project communication plan as a starting point, all the results obtained during the year and the pending ones were reviewed. Based on the quality plan, the results were marked to evaluate the project.

“Communication is an essential component in these projects as they involve an important interaction between universities and companies from different countries of the world. It is also essential when it comes to promoting new skills and work tools for university students. To do this, we carried out various communication and dissemination actions in the Project, including videos of successful cases where students and teachers can develop their practical work based on challenges proposed by companies”, said Marianela Morzán, communication coordinator of the initiative. Those interested can access to the case study videos on Linkyou’s social networks.

The last partners meeting will be at ESAN University, Lima, Peru, from January 8 to 10, 2020.

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