Staffordshire University (SU), located in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, was established in 1971 although last year it celebrated a centenary of educational activity under its previous names. It has a strong track record in innovative teaching and learning and scholarly activities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The university has a considerable local, regional and international presence – with some 14000 students in the UK and nearly 6000 in affiliated colleges in Europe and Asia studying its programmes. SU has been the coordinator of 12 Tempus projects (and a partner in 9 other projects) and one Erasmus+ project (under the Capacity Building in HE strand), and been involved in many other EU programmes such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, FP V, VI and VII, INTERREG, GRUNDTVIG and Strategic Alliance. It has the academic staff and financial and administrative expertise in successfully managing large scale educational projects.
The University has been actively engaged in and contributed to the debate on graduate employability in the UKHE sector and pioneered a programme in this area. It now requires all its study programmes to demonstrate that they contain skills, knowledge and qualities which make graduates ‘Employable, Enterprising and Entrepreneurial’ (the 3-Es).
The Business School, where this project will be located, has close relationships with local and regional firms through its ‘Corporate Programme’ unit and its Placement Office. The School offers training courses as well as undergraduate and postgraduate awards to company employees in their own companies through the ‘In-company Awards Programmes’. Staff from the ‘Corporate Programme’ unit, which manages work with companies, will be involved in this project. The Placement Office arranges industrial placements (internships) for students on certain awards and has developed links with companies over decades. The School has also been active in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, funded by the UK Government, which aims to encourage collaboration between universities and companies to encourage innovation and develop synergies.
The Business School has a dedicated International Links Office with experienced staff who have been managing and administering its EU programmes for over 20 years. The project will be managed by this Office.
Role of the University in this project
SU will take the lead role in the organisation of the EUFORIA project, building on its considerable experience of managing and delivering large scale Tempus projects over the past 23 years. It will contribute to the project in 5 different areas:
i: Managing and coordinating the project as a whole, ensuring that the Work Plan is adhered to
ii: Overseeing the distribution of the project grant to partners on the basis of the programme rules and SU’s financial regulations
iii: Leading WPs 3 and 8 of the project in which it has considerable experience and expertise and contributing to other WPs;
iv: Offering academic staff who have the relevant expertise and teaching/training material the opportunity to take part in Workshops, Seminars, training and other project activities in Kosovo;
v: Hosting teaching staff of Kosovar institutions for various project related activities.
As the lead partner, SU will provide a focal point for the project and guidance and support for other WP leaders. SU will be accountable for the project in a transparent manner and will report to the Steering Committee on a regular basis.
Staff involved in the project:
Dr Iraj Hashi is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Research on Emerging Economics at SU Business School. He has been the coordinator/grantholder of 11 Tempus projects (including 3 in Kosovo) and a partner in 8 others since 1992. He has published books and journal articles on the process of transition in East and South East European countries (including Kosovo) and knows the area very well. He received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II for services to Development of Higher Education and Economic Reconstruction in Kosovo in 2007 and a Presidential Medal of Merit from the President of the Republic of Kosovo in 2015 . His extensive experience of managing Tempus projects, knowledge of the conditions in Kosovo and his wide range of contacts in the government and HEIs in the country will be instrumental in the implementation of project activities. His academic work on entrepreneurship and innovation will also be important for the enterprise survey and the analysis of survey results (WP1 and WP3 of the project). His publications relevant to this project include:
Entrepreneurship and SME Growth: Evidence from Advanced and Laggard Transition Economies, International Journal of Entrepreneurship Behaviour and Research, 17 (5), 2011:456-487 (with Besnik Krasniqi).
Determinants of the Choice between Different Innovation Regimes amongst Firms in the Enlarged Europe, in G. Canullo, F. Chiapparino and G. Cingolani (eds), The Adriatic-Balkan Area: from Transition to Integration, Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2011:141-170 (with Nebojsa Stojcic).
The impact of innovation activities on firm performance using a multi-stage model: Evidence from the Community Innovation Survey 4, Research Policy, 42(2), 2013: 353-366 (with Nebojsa Stojcic).
Export behaviour of SMEs in transition countries, Small Business Economics, 42 (2), 2014:407–435 (with Petrit Gashi and Geoff Pugh).
Mrs. Jenny Herbert completed her LLB at Leicester University and the Law Society’s Final Examinations at Chester College of Law. She has been working as International Links Administrator at Staffordshire University Business School since 1994. Throughout this period, she has been responsible for the administrative and financial management of the School’s 21 Tempus projects (12 of them as Coordinating Institution, including 3 in Albania and 3 in Kosovo). She has travelled widely in the Balkan region (particularly Kosovo) and has developed extensive contacts in many academic and research institutions. She manages the International Links Office in the Business School which has extensive experience of working with partner country institutions, making arrangements for hosting visiting academics and organising their programme of work while in the UK. She would be the Project Manager of the EUFORIA project and be responsible for the administration and financial management of the project, ensuring accurate record keeping, compliance with the rules and regulations, and completion of the project audit and reports.
Ms Clair Hameed (MSC, MIoEE) is Programme Manager for enterprise & entrepreneurship within the Faculty of Business, Education and Law at Staffordshire University. She has been working in the field of University – business interaction/collaboration and knowledge exchange since 2001 (WPs 1 and 4). This has involved work on several major regional projects, several of which have been funded by the EU. The biggest current project is SPEED Plus – a £5m business start-up project involving 5 West Midlands Universities to establish 300 businesses and generate 300 new jobs in the region over a 3.5 year period. On top of this the project has also engaged with 3000 people interested in starting a business, and provided 12 hours of business start-up support to 600 new businesses (see www.beinspiredatstaffs.ac.uk for this and other projects). Clair is a fully qualified business advisor and works closely with all the regional bodies who deal with business start-ups and SME growth e.g. the various Chambers; Councils; social enterprise bodies (WP5). This enables her to provide the ‘beneficiaries’ with the maximum benefit the projects can offer.
Ms Marion Morris completed her BA(Honours) in Business Managementat SU. She has worked as an International Links Administrative Assistant at SU Business School since 2000 where she has provided administrative support for the School’s Tempus, Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+ projects. She has supported all aspects of the administrative work, taking particular responsibility for visiting academics and students to Staffordshire University, arranging their accommodation and welcome/induction. Ms Morris also arranges travel for SU staff to partner countries. She has organised the purchase of books for Tempus projects, completed the appropriate paper work and supported the completion of the intermediate and final reports of these projects.
Jonathan Fairburn is Professor of Sustainable Development in the Faculty of Business, Education and Law. He has expertise in geographic information systems and the use of very large datasets; he is currently working on the latest version of the English Index of Multiple Deprivation for the government which was released in 2015. He has led many teams on European projects at Staffordshire University including INTERREG, GRUNDTVIG, Transversal and ERASMUS. He was a key member of the FP7 GPRIX project which evaluated business support measures in traditional industries across Europe. The results from that project directly influenced the allocation of funds by the national innovation agency in the UK. He has worked with businesses in the region for over 20 years developing student placements as well as carrying out research and consultancy for them (relevant to WPs 1 and 3). He is currently researching for a local company on the ‘country of origin’ issues in the luxury goods sector in the UK. At a local level he was responsible for leading the strategic marketing of the city of Burslem with the ‘Totally Locally’ brand involving 42 local businesses and a host of local stakeholders where the use of social media and mainstream media were key parts of this project. He has extensive media experience in print, radio and TV as well as having organised four large national conferences thus ensuring that results of project activities are disseminated and have maximum impact (relevant to WP6).
Rob McKay heads the Corporate Programmes unit in the Faculty of Business, Education and Law at Staffordshire University. The team designs and delivers ‘in-company’ and other ‘work-based’ programmes and contributes to the Faculty’s engagement with businesses. Prior to joining Staffordshire University in 2010 he had worked in the field of economic development, regeneration and inward investment for over a decade, in both local government and regional development agencies. He has substantial experience of building and managing relationship with industry at a senior level; supporting innovation-led companies in developing strategic partnerships; leading and managing structural change in organisations; managing the delivery of business support, regeneration and marketing services; and managing complex multi-agency funded projects, including some within the EU finance and state-aid legislation. His experience of developing relationship with businesses and delivering education and consultancy services to businesses will be crucial for this project (WPs 1, 4 and 5).
Dr Stephen Longden’s career has developed in both industry and academia. His business experience includes work in Operational Research for Steel companies in Sheffield, Systems Analysis and Database Design for manufacturing companies in Sheffield and Hereford, and Systems Accounting for a multinational company where he designed and implemented a multi-currency accounting system for the group. Before joining Staffordshire University in 2011, he was a Head of Department at the Derbyshire Business School.