University of Central Lancashire: Developing Innovation and Entrepreneurial Mindset

UCLan Cyprus has successfully completed its participation in the second and final part of the HEIght project (Higher Education Innovation Growth and Training: heightening sustainable innovation in our HEIs and societies) funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). HEIght is an initiative of a pan-European consortium of four forward-thinking higher education institutions (HEIs) and one actor from another side of the knowledge triangle, united to cultivate a mutually beneficial and collaborative consortium. It leverages existing innovation and entrepreneurial knowledge of all partners and draws on the resources of HEInnovate to spur on growth of the sustainable innovation in our communities and in our institutions. More specifically the consortium consists of the University of Central Lancashire, UK that coordinates the project, UCLan Cyprus, The Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST), Özyeğin University in Turkey and the National Centre of Entrepreneurship in Education in the UK(NCEE). HEIght delivers on the consortium’s shared vision of prosperous, inclusive, and climate-resilient societies where food systems and other areas of human activity that are sustainable, trusted, and healthy contribute to net zero carbon emission economies. Through training, designed and tailored to developing innovation and enterprise, these activities support the development of academic and non-academic staff and students. UCLan Cyprus participation in the project is coordinated by Dr. Marios Raspopoulos from the School of Sciences and Dr. Fanos Tekelas from the School of Business and Management with the participation of other academics and researchers across the University.

During phase 1 of the project (June 2021-December 2021) , a new short-term training programme, named the Innovation Toolkit was developed, delivered and piloted with a small set of students (33) from the School of Sciences and the School of Business and Management of the University. The Innovation Toolkit consisting of seminars, guest speakers, workshops and mentoring aiming to develop the Students’ Entrepreneurial Mindset and Innovation capacity on climate-related topics. The learning objectives of the programme include: (1) explaining the multidisciplinary nature of idea generation and how ideas can become innovative products or services, (2) demonstrating an understanding of the skills and attributes required of an entrepreneur essential for starting a new venture, (3) cultivating creative and innovative thinking, (4) explaining the nature of the business start-up process and its requirements and (5) completing business plans that articulate and apply financial, operational, organisational, market, and sales knowledge to identify paths to value creation through company formation (for-profit), social innovation (nonprofit); or intellectual property licensing. During Phase 2 of the HEIght programme (January 2022-June 2023), three Innovation Toolkits took place, the first in May 2022, the second in December 2022 and the third in March 2023. A total of 127 students have successfully completed the programme which included business Idea competitions leading to monetary awards as well as field trips to reputable enterprises that promote sustainability and circular economy.

Sustainability is achieved through enabling lifelong learning, particularly through the development of Communities of Practice. The Innovation Toolkit forms a tool for transformative change beyond the life of the project in which UCLan Cyprus aims to contribute in both nationally and internationally. UCLan Cyprus strategic visions since its recent establishment is to become an Entrepreneurial University promoting academic success through entrepreneurship and innovation and create a vibrant ecosystem for its students to develop their entrepreneurial mindset to be able to develop their ideas and turn them into innovative products/services or businesses. The HEIght project strongly facilitates the development of this vision. Key members of staff have been trained through a series of entrepreneurship/Innovation training that will help them to become leaders of change in the University to implement this strategic vision.

The HEIght project will be completed in June 2023 where a total of 160 students have successfully completed the HEIght Innovation Toolkit.

Source: University of Central Lancashire I News (