Co-creation as a formula to design and implement Knowledge Hubs.

Knowledge Hubs are conceived as an initiative whose uniqueness goes beyond the results pursued. We decided that the path to attain them was at least as relevant as the result itself. Therefore, we opted to involve the technological and scientific community of the Euskampus aggregation in the very design and implementation of the strategy set in in the Campus of International Excellence Project. A decision that is today shorn up if we consider the smart specialisation regional strategies that the European Union is promoting to assign the Structural Funds.

Operating according to the traditional model would have involved a call for funding applications with requirements that would have led to transdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaboration to solve global and social challenges by means of activating the technological and scientific capacities of the Country. If that had been the case, we would have just set up yet another help desk, thus diluting even further our already limited transforming capacity.

But that was not what it was about. It was about consolidating the leadership of the Science Community as its contribution to the development of the Country is decisive to come out of this mutl-faceted crisis even stronger. And therefore the top-down decision taking processes had to be combined with bottom-up dynamics that would enrich the value proposal of the Euskampus Aggregation in general and of the UPV/EHU in particular. The distributed leadership and the assumption of responsibilities and commitments go far beyond the input of technological or scientific capacities in the framework research projects. And that is only possible if the Community overall embraces the Transformation project that Euskampus represents.

Thus, the commitment to co-creation is a way of involving the university community to develop the collective challenge to progress towards excellence and the commitment to society of which it forms part and to which it owes everything. This approach thus consolidates the meaning of belonging to an institution whose motto is: “eman ta zabal zazu”. A feeling of belonging, co-leadership, assuming responsibilities, generosity are aspects that underpin the co-creation process used to deploy the Knowledge Hubs.

Yet, how is co-creation embodied regarding Knowledge Hubs?

150 UPV/EHU, Tecnalia, DIPC researchers and technologists and other stakeholders from the Basque Network of Science, Technology and Innovation have been mobilized in co-creation teams entrusted with defining the strategic undertakings of each of the Knowledge Hubs.
Different criteria have been followed when setting up the co-creation teams:

  • Their participation in developing strategic alliances among the entities under EUSKAMPUS;
  • The relevance of the researcher related to the areas of expertise of the CEI Euskampus Project.
  • Their participation in the Research and Training Units (UFI) of the UPV/EHU or their participation in the Tecnalia International Excellence Groups (GEI).
  • The proactivity of some individuals who have expressed their desire to contribute in designing the Hubs after the public presentations of the Initiative in February 2012.

Yet, as has been previously said, the supposed mobilisation goes beyond what is achieved by means of co-creation teams given that the participation is open to the technology and university community overall that can put forward collaborative transfer, research and training initiatives.

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Illustration 1. Participation in the Knowledge Hubs