Virtual campus connecting research and education institutes with SMEs and public authorities with the aim to boost the transition to green and circular economy.
The Amsterdam Green Campus is a non-profit foundation and a cooperation between academia, applied science and vocational education. All are colleges and knowledge institues in agri, food, life sciences and chemistry within the northwest region of the Netherlands. The Campus works to boost economic growth in the green sector, “green” standing for research and education for sustainable development, green growth and transition to a circular economy.
The virtual campus connects research and education with SMEs (the market) in a number of triple-helix cooperation projects. The main focus is the market valorisation and realization of innovative ideas. Companies from the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam that have an innovation demand or government institutions that have a research question can go to the platform and initiate a joint project. Furthermore, the campus links beta science to alpha and gamma science from the insight that Science & Technology have to be aligned with Social Organizational Science and should have a clear focus on market acceptance. Against this background, the campus is an attractive context for young students and graduates for their start-up project ideas. And the connection to ‘Start-up village’, a learning and test space, is very valuable.
The success of the Green Campus is mainly a result of the demand that exists in the ‘outside world’ (SMEs, industries, policymakers) for testing and valorizing ideas and questions they have by research institutes
The AGC obtained several subsidies when they started (Municipality, Chamber of Commerce), and still receives funding from the member education institutes. The Campus has two employees and an office in the science department of the University of Amsterdam. The annual budget is 230k plus 2 fte.
Evidence of success
The Green Campus has turned into an important platform that organises seminars, knowledge exchange and collaborations between different parties who receive advice and support in acquiring funding for concrete projects.
Within the first 2 years of their existence they managed 12 projects and numerous initiatives with a total value of more than 2 million €.
Their success is confirmed by the fact that the founding education institutes have extended their financial support for the coming years.
The biggest challenge was to get approval of the founding educational institutes, to Green Campus becoming a non-profit organization. Thus becoming independent of these institutes.
Being a non-profit organization gave them freedom, an independent position, and possiblity to act quick and flexible.
Potential for learning or transfer
There is often a gap between universities/knowledge institutes on one hand, and SMEs and governments on the other hand. Between ‘study & research’ and ‘entrepreneurship & practice’. Green Campus tries to close this gap, by providing the possibility for students and researchers to put their ideas into practice. And the other way around: for SMEs to ask for their ideas to be tested.
The concept has also led to educational innovation, because never before practice has been so integrated in educational programs and research.
The concept can easily be copied by other regions.
To start what is needed, is several enthousiastic educational institutes that feel the need to improve the connection between research & education, and practice (the market/SMEs).
This common goal needs to be supported by a strong network of parties from the triple helix in the region. Together they will have to apply for funding.
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