PLN 87M to deepen business-academia collaboration

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NCBiR opens Competencies Development Programme aiming to deepen business-academia collaboration. Besides developing communication and teamwork related skills, the new programme will give its participants the opportunity to acquire new IT competencies.

On March 22, 2016, the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) announced the results of the first edition competition for projects under the Competencies Development Programme. As many as 41 universities will receive funding to develop skills relevant to the needs of the economy, society and the labour market. Each of the 61 projects carried out involves entrepreneurs – potential employers of students who are part of the programme.

The NCBiR support universities whose projects were selected in the competition under the Competencies Development Programme with a total of PLN 87 million. Beneficiaries will receive funding to implement activities affecting the competencies sought by employers. This will be carried out, among others, by certified training courses and workshops, additional practical tasks in the form of projects, study visits to employers, as well as by cooperation with foreign entities and socio-economic environment i.e. companies interested in the development of student competencies.

“To address the challenge of university graduates’ skills mismatching the labour market and employers’ expectations, one needs to constantly deepen business-academia collaboration. The introduction of practical classes jointly developed by universities and entrepreneurs to the curricula will increase the core competencies of the young generation, which will constitute the strength of the Polish economy in future,” said Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education, Piotr Dardziński, PhD.

The maximum grant amount that can be obtained for a project under the Competencies Development Programme is PLN 10 million. Students from across Poland and from all fields of study – technical, economic, medical as well as artistic psychological and social – will benefit from classes co-organised by universities and businesses. Future designers, speech therapists, geologists, IT specialists and much more will improve competencies that are useful in many professions and desired by many employers. These include e.g. communications- and teamwork-related soft skills.

“With the Competencies Development Programme, tertiary education students will learn what PBL and entrepreneurship are. They will develop their analytical, language and IT skills that are vital in the environment of modern technologies – says Deputy NCBiR Director Prof. Jerzy Kątcki. – By taking part in projects selected for funding, students will acquire specific skills that match the needs of the labour market. This will give them a better start in professional future and fill in the gap employers complain about,” adds Professor Kątcki.

In the first competition under the Competencies Development Programme under Measure 3.1 of the Operational Programme Knowledge Education Development 2014-2020, tertiary education institutions submitted a total of 440 funding applications. Criteria adopted by the NCBiR helped identify the best projects.

The year 2014 saw a pilot Competencies Development Programme, which covered 73 projects with a total value of more than PLN 58 million. The NCBiR will shortly announce the next edition of the competition, and allocate a total of more than PLN 1 billion for projects selected therein by 2020.

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PLN 87M to deepen business-academia collaboration