Albanian NEO Monitoring visit feedback to the project KNOWHUB

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Albanian NEO Monitoring visit feedback to the project KNOWHUB

Dear Mr. Jovanovski,

As part of the Agency’s on-going monitoring of Erasmus+ CBHE projects, the National Erasmus+ Office in Albania represented by Ms Ada Rama carried out a field monitoring visit at your institution to project ‘Reconnecting universities and enterprises to unleash regional innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

The visit took place on 10.11.2020 at the” Vlora university”, where the monitoring team could also meet representatives from the Vlora university and European University of Tirana. I would like to thank the members of the project team for their presence and for having provided updated information on the project’s progress made towards the achievement of its objectives and deliverables.

As a result of the monitoring visit and based on the information received the following conclusions can be drawn:

We are pleased to learn:

  • that good progress was made toward achieving the project goals and objectives in the first year of implementation.
  • that the consortium has established good grounds of collaboration with partnership agreements in place, clear timeline of activities, clear division of roles per each partner, setup of project management procedures and ongoing communication.
  • that UET has given a good contribution with the business stakeholders database and together with UV have conducted the highest number of interviews comparing the other HEIs form MNE and BiH, referring to the Status Quo final report.
  • that most of project activities are implemented as planned and due to the Pandemic situation, some of them are postponed, although on delay they are successfully accomplished. All partners are fully and proactively participating in activities.
  • that WP1 is completed and in terms of WP7 Dissemination/Exploitation, tasks are being conducted on time, Dissemination Plan has been confirmed and the project website https://knowhub.eu/ and social media is developed and contains information about the project and its activities. We observed as good practice that UV and UET are making good efforts to promote the project, particularly through online tools.
  • that the project management team, quality team and steering committee have been set up on due course and clear instructions on management and reporting were provided during the Kick-off meeting and through the commonly shared project management platform
  • that both Albanian HEIs have signed the bilateral agreement with the Project Leader.
  • that the impact of project will be in 1-National Level 2-Regional Level 3-Local Level (HEIs, Enterprises, students, Hub officers, PCU academic staff, Business, intermediate associations) and the main project results will be a)Commercialization Hubs installed, equipped , staffed; b)training for the Hub officers and PCU
  • that academics, managers and scientific staff and later students are benefiting from the project by gaining experiences through training on equipment, mobility and professional development and exchange with EU partners.

As main concerns and challenges the following points were identified:

  • UET should clarify and finalize the list of equipment and start tendering procedures in order to avoid any potential delays
  • UV has to make sure to have the first trash from the BoA to the KnowHub special account at the bank of second level.

In view of the above, we would like to draw your attention to the following recommendations that should be taken into account in the next phases of your project’s implementation:

  • we urge the UET to clarify and finalize the list of equipment and start tendering procedures in order to avoid any potential delays. Delivery of equipment for the establishment the HUB Centers and Laboratories is very essential, as well as the sustainability and impact of the entire project. UV needs to urge the Ministry of Finance to send the first trash from the BoA to the KnowHub special account at the secondary level.
  • we encourage the project consortium to develop a detailed risk management plan including internal operation risks within the consortium and external risks such as COVID 19, political, economic, social.
  • we suggest project partners to enrich the articles on the website and to publish working papers, reports and other documents resulting from project activities and particularly WP1 (Status quo report final, HEInnovate Introductory workshop, and  later WP 3) on project website and to share the results with their stakeholders in public and private sector. We would be happy to see more information posted on the results of the survey and training from both universities, UV and EUT.
  • We suggest to UV and UET to draw an additional task on the framework of this project, to start-up a JOIN HUBs, a network between 5 Hubs of the KnowHub Project.  According to the project description each of HUBs will have different field of expertise, in this regard by JOIN HUBs the service’s portfolio will increase and each HUB will better serve to their target group.
  • We suggest partners to apply on International Credit Mobility programme Call 2022, to ensure more staff and students during training and mobilities on the last year of the project KnowHub, and after the lifespan of the project by ensuring the sustainability of the project and partnership.