Launch Event of the UAS4EUROPE Action Plan for Innovation:

Realizing the European Innovation Area

Brussels, 08 October 2021 - UAS4EUROPE, the informal network of European Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS), handed over the UAS4EUROPE Action Plan for Innovation to EU Commissioner Ms. Mariya Gabriel during a hybrid conference.

The Innovation Action Plan, which delivers twelve concrete applied research recommendations for the realization of the planned European Innovation Area (EIA), is the result of a consultation process of an expert group composed of high-level UAS leaders and entrepreneurs with extensive experience in innovation. It aims to inform Commissioner Gabriel’s initiative of a single market for innovation, which will complete the knowledge triangle by complementing the European Education Area (EEA) and the European Research Area (ERA). More particularly, it sets out how to ensure European competitiveness in the next wave of technological innovation in a sustainable, equitable and coherent way.

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 event opened with the welcome address of HE Ambassador Michael Stibbe, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the EU (Coreper I), followed by UAS4EUROPE Co-Chairwoman Prof. Marjolijn Brussaard, who highlighted the role of UAS in European innovation ecosystems and presented the UAS4EUROPE Action Plan for Innovation.

During the event, Prof. Brussaard underlined that UAS4EUROPE will closely follow the initiative of a European Innovation Area, with the expert group remaining a constructive partner in its implementation phase. Commissioner Gabriel responded on the challenges, opportunities and recommendations for a renewed innovation agenda with applied research institutions at the heart of it. Subsequently, Prof. Simona Kustec, Minister for Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia commented on the role of UAS in the EIA from the perspective of the Slovenian Council presidency.

The event included a high-level panel discussion featuring Maria da Graça Carvalho, Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in the European Parliament, Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director for Innovation, Digital Education and International Cooperation at DG EAC, Dr. Sabine Herlitschka, CEO and CTO of Infineon Technologies and Dr. Luciana Vaccaro, Chairwoman of UAS4EUROPE.

The event was hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Union and livestreamed on the UAS4EUROPE YouTube channel. Due to Covid safety precautions, only a limited number of participants could attend on-site. Around 40 R&I and industry stakeholders as well as Commission and Council representatives engaged with the speakers at the event location, while around 100 people followed the event online.

The Action Plan for Innovation is published and accessible on a dedicated website on the European Innovation Area.


UAS4EUROPEis a joint initiative of swissuniversities, Hochschule Bayern e.V., EURASHE, University Colleges Denmark, Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences (ARENE), Hochschulen für Angewandte Wissenschaften Baden-Württemberg e.V., the Austrian Conference of Universities of Applied Sciences and the University Alliance forSMEs. The network is committed to a strong position and increased visibility of UAS in the European research landscape. UAS4EUROPE represents 2.3 million students and over 60,000 research in more than 450 universities from 24 European countries.

For more information on UAS4EUROPE's activities, please visit our website:

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