Key features of the UAegean’s mission are innovation, internationalization and outreach. Policy Research at the University of the Aegean has enhanced both the research experience of the University staff and the accumulation of cognitive capital through the in depth and breadth development of research activities. Having been established as a significant member of the research community on a national and international level, the University of the Aegean is requested to show a high degree of adaptability in the midst of a volatile environment rapidly and directly affected by factors such as climate change, population ageing, productivity differentiations, the pandemic, etc. Research at the University of the Aegean has also contributed significantly to solving problems on a local scale, thus linking the University’s operation with the local islands communities that host its various Departments. At the same time, the University has contributed to generating a high-level scientific potential that can contribute substantially to research, university education and the production process.
Since 1985, the UAegean has been involved in more than 2500 national and international research projects with important outcomes. The UAegean is a powerful social and economic stakeholder in the North and South regions of the Aegean Archipelago. As a regional innovator, with a large number of research projects since 2012, UAegean has collaborated with more than 150 enterprises and local government agencies – on a regional, national and international level. Additionally, the full incorporation of ICTs in all aspects of academic and administrative operations, has transformed this unique Network-University into a dynamic and competitive institution on a national and international level. In consistency with research policies and relevant priorities the development through science in general and research more specifically, are based on open sciences, international cooperation and networking, technologies and innovation, with emphasis on emerging technological trends and the enhancement of multidisciplinary and primarily basic research.
Taking into account current and future challenges, such as supporting innovation, promoting research, encouraging entrepreneurship, improving knowledge dissemination, attracting new researchers to the labour market, the designed activities aim to improve the Regional Innovation Capacities for Human Capital Development, Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer, Career Development, and Mobility of Researchers (brain-gain). The large number of SMEs and family businesses, mainly in the South Aegean Region, and the UAegean start-ups initiative in both regions, contributes to the implementation of activities for the design and development of innovation experiments and applications, while maximizing the social impact of research and technology with common support mechanisms for innovation and entrepreneurship and Lifelong Learning as well. Creativity and innovation are essential in gaining a competitive advantage on a regional level, and together with entrepreneurship are considered very important key development factors for the regions.
The scientific areas in which the University of the Aegean excells are natural sciences, sciences of technology, informatics, communication and engineering, social sciences, health sciences, agricultural sciences and humanitarian sciences. On the level of funding for the relevant fields, ICTs, social challenges, the environment and sustainable development, transport and agri-food, were on the top positions during the past ten years. It is also worth noticing that around 62% of resources have been directed to insular areas issues, thus emphasizing the indissoluble ties of the University of the Aegean with the local societies of the Archipelago and its pivotal role in socio-economic development.
The UAegean developed the “UAegean Innovation 2021” which is a special initiative to strengthen its role as a Regional Innovator. This initiative contemplates the creation of a “Knowledge Hub in the Aegean Sea”, dealing with the “entrepreneurial discovery” of suitable regional specializations in the North and South Aegean Regions. Fostering innovation policies in the 2 regions of the Aegean Sea, UAegean Researchers developed more than 150 innovative project ideas for cooperation with regional stakeholders (i.e. industry, municipalities, NGOs and other socio-economic stakeholders).The 7 new Research Infrastructures (RIs) of UAegean, included in the National Roadmap for RIs3, secure new investment funds for research and technology for the next years. UAegean has also developed 5 RIs in the South Aegean and 8 in North Aegean Region. The UAegean start-ups initiative, the Summer Schools, and the Life Long Learning Activities offer knowledge, skills and an entrepreneurial environment for young researchers and society.
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