From 15-18 April 2013 the City of Trondheim and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) hosted a dynamic EUniverCities Network meeting. During a three-day conference the city and university opened their doors to present the main developments and challenges regarding the city-university cooperation. In return the participants shared their fresh observations, suggestions and recommendations – based on their experience and expertise – during the Peer Review sessions.
Overall the participants were very positive about the position of Trondheim. The city/ region has many assets in the field of energy, off shore and fish farming. Furthermore, initiatives such as StudiebyEN, Technoport and the NTNU School of Entrepreneurship were observed as best practices.
So what is actually Trondheim’s problem when it comes to city-university cooperation? During the Peer Review sessions – in which participants worked in small groups – this question popped up frequently. The discussion in the groups shifted from problem solving to looking for new opportunities. How can Trondheim reach the next level? A small selection of recommendations:
- Create a strong link between the university and regional SME’s. Systematic, coherent innovation is needed. One of the opportunities is to create an umbrella initiative where SME’s, the university and other knowledge institutes get to know each other face-to-face. Inspiring examples from EUC members are: Growlink (Linköping, Norrköping – Ostsam Region) and AAU Matchmaking (Aalborg University)
- Co-create inspiring city spaces that promote innovation. Keywords: functional mix, openness, serendipity, multi-disciplinary. A big opportunity in this context is the new campus development in Trondheim
- Attract companies. Next to promoting start-ups it is important to attract big firms to open a branch at the campus by offering talent and research collaboration, by using the networks of professors and alumni, and by building clusters around scientific excellence available at the NTNU and other R&D organizations such as SINTEF
- Promote public sector innovation. Keywords: Open innovation, innovation-enhancing procurement, city-run research fund for smart proposals/ideas
These recommendations need to be explored in detail. Shortly after the EUniverCities Network meeting the City of Trondheim, the NTNU and other partners have come together to discuss the suggestions that have been collected during the Peer Review sessions. A follow-up of this local meeting – to formulate concrete actions – will be organized after the summer break.