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Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Universities

Creating a culture of innovation in contemporary Ukraine is one of the key objectives of the national economic development and Euro integration. Furthermore, the existence of effective environment for innovation in the globalized economy is actually one of the conditions for existence and development of any company in general.

The primary objective of national innovation policy is to create the socio-economic, organizational and legal conditions for effective reproduction, development and use of scientific and technical potential, implementation of cutting-edge, environmentally friendly, safe, energy and resource saving technologies, production and promotion of new competitive products.

Ukraine is experiencing economic crisis nowadays, so the government had to cut off funding to study groups and centers of technical creativity for young people.

In western universities professors are often employed in research institutes which cooperate with private firms. Consequently, research institutes, whose goal is technology transfer, maintain a close relationship with both universities and industry. Professors are allowed by the university authorities to create private research centers, which are independent legal entities on the university campus. In Ukraine, despite the high scientific and technical potential of research organizations and universities, the most crucial issue is to create a culture of innovation exactly at this level. We need a clear policy on how to work with students and involve them in all stages of the innovation project, to form the basic knowledge about preparation and implementation of innovation projects etc. A comprehensive program for research organizations’ staff is also required because the level of their activity in the field of innovation can be characterized as "extremely poor". The autonomy of universities needs diversifying sources of research funding, replacing government financing. To fulfill this goal, universities should be converted into a vehicle to transfer scientific ideas to industry and society as implemented innovations.

The strength that gives higher education institutions an innovative capacity, and hence entrepreneurial potential, is their autonomy. While diversity is richness, institutions and educators will gain from exchanges and mutual learning, open sources of information, examples of good practice across Europe. Coordination is needed at a policy level to ensure that all higher education institutions are given the necessary incentives and opportunities to take on this challenge. It is very important to determine how entrepreneurship can be integrated into primary, secondary, and higher education; adopt legislation supporting relations between private business and universities; establish awards for entrepreneurial universities, teachers and students, and promote positive examples of academic spin-offs. At their level of responsibility, higher education institutions could: set up a strategy and an action plan for teaching and research in entrepreneurship, embedding practice-based activities, and for new venture start-ups and spin-offs; create an entrepreneurship education department, which would serve as an entrepreneurial hub within the institution and spread the teaching of entrepreneurship across all other departments.

Universities and technical institutions (e.g. polytechnics) should integrate entrepreneurship as an important part of the curriculum, spread across different subjects, and require or encourage students to take entrepreneurship courses. Special attention should be paid to systematically integrating entrepreneurship training into scientific and technical studies and within technical institutions, to facilitate spin-offs and innovative start-ups, and to help researchers acquire entrepreneurial skills. There needs to be more focus on developing the skills necessary for fully exploiting innovation and knowledge transfer activities in combination with the commercialization of new technologies