European Innovation Agenda

UAS4EUROPE Innovation Action Plan

Enable, empower and connect engaged researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators



On Friday 8 October 2021, UAS4EUROPE Co-Chairwoman Professor Marjolijn Brussaard officially presented the UAS4EUROPE Innovation Action Plan at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU. 

Following the initial idea, expressed by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, to define a renewed European innovation agenda by creating a single market for innovation, UAS4EUROPE expressed its full support to complement the European Research Area & European Education Area with a dedicated European Innovation Area in a open letter. Subsequently, Commissioner Gabriel’s cabinet tasked us with the proposal of concrete recommendations for the implementation of an EIA. 

The European Commission sees UAS as important actors and stakeholders in regional innovation ecosystems and beyond, as they not only focus on rapid market and societal impact, but also work closely with private and public sector actors to seek applicable solutions. Based on these assets of UAS, the European Commission entrusted the UAS4EUROPE network with the creation of an Action Plan for European innovation.

The action plan, which has been compiled by a dedicated expert group of high-level UAS leaders and entrepreneurs, first outlines the concrete strengths of UAS in innovation ecosystems: 

  • practice-based approach promoting innovation competencies and an entrepreneurial mindset
  • respond to transdisciplinary challenges & create lasting regional impact
  • link fundamental research, market application of new technologies and societal challenges
  • drivers of innovation ecosystems due to their regional embeddedness. 

Subsequently, overall European challenges and specific regional challenges are outlined, together with explanations of how UAS can contribute to tackling those challenges:

  • competing in the next technology wave
  • connecting innovation to welfare
  • creating future dynamic economies
  • fostering diversity and inclusivity
  • addressing the skills gap
  • mitigating technology transfer weaknesses
  • linking fragmented regional innovation ecosystems and pomoting innovation cohesion
  • promoting citizen science, open science and open innovation policies
  • broadening participation in European programmes to include all types of applied research actors

Finally, 12 specific recommendations aim to inform the concrete implementation of the European Innovation Area, ranging from deeper links between ERASMUS+, COSME’s successor programm and the EIT to seeking synergies across national and regional innovation strategies through the EIE instrument. 

UAS4EUROPE will closely follow the initiative of a European Innovation Area, with the expert group remaining a constructive partner in its implementation phase. Therefore, this page will constantly be updated with the latest information on the planned single market for innovation. 

You can read the Action Plan for Innovation here.

If you missed the launch ceremony, you can rewatch it on our YouTube channel or read the Conference report. 

Read our Conference Report



Media Coverage

Swisscore: “European UAS make EU policy recommendations” (28 October 2021)

HAfM: “Hochschulallianz für den Mittelstand unterstützt Umsetzung eines Europäischen Innovationsraums” (20 October 2021)

Neth-ER: “UAS4Europe presenteert actieplan voor Europese Innovatieruimte” (14 October 2021)

Hochschule Bayern: “Launch Event of the UAS4EUROPE Action Plan for Innovation” (13 October 2021)

Science|Business: “AUAS leaders showcase applied research innovations to EU” (12 October 2021)

UASNL: “UAS showcase applied research innovations to EU Commissioner Gabriel” (12 October 2021)

Bavarian Research Alliance: “UAS4EUROPEs Aktionsplan für Innovation in Europa – Übergabe an EU-Kommissarin Mariya Gabriel” (11 October 2021)

ERA Portal Austria: “UAS4Europe presents action plan for realising the European Innovation Area” (11 October 2021)

APA OTS: “EU-Kommission sieht Fachhochschulen als Schlüsselinstitutionen zur Verwirklichung eines Europäischen Innovations- und Forschungsraums” (11 October 2021)

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences: “AUAS leaders showcase applied research innovations to EU” (8 October 2021)