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Research and Innovation

As Transform4Europe (T4EU) is a university alliance of proven excellence in strategic collaboration between the universities and a wealth of non-university stakeholders from the surrounding regions in a multi-actor knowledge and innovation ecosystem, then the next step for T4EU universities is to capitalise on this ecosystem to transform their achievements in research and innovation. Together, the diverse actors in the T4EU ecosystem can serve as powerful engines for the mutual development of innovation and performance capacities, jointly fostering both research of excellence and impact, and smarter, sustainable, competitive regions. T4ERI is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme under the call “Swafs: Support for the Research and Innovation Dimension of European Universities”.


T4ERI will devise new strategies to harness this untapped potential, with the focus mission digital and environmental transformation for smart, sustainable and inclusive regions. It will develop a joint agenda for research and innovation, a joint strategy for attracting and retaining outstanding researchers, and a joint strategy to open science to all members of the T4EU ecosystem.

True to the essence of the alliance, T4ERI will systematically collaborate with regional stakeholders from business and industry, culture, politics and civil society at every step of the process. By 2024, T4ERI will have significantly increased collaboration in research and innovation across all disciplines, will have enabled joint access to key research infrastructure across the alliance, and will have targeted joint action plans to launch one or more major joint research centres relating to its focus mission, to attract and retain excellent junior and established researchers, and to foster engagement and involvement of civil society in research and innovation, further paving the way towards the European University of the future.


The proposed structure of the T4ERI project is organised around three pillars to complement the T4EU education agenda by research and innovation components:

Collaboration in Research and Innovation – creating a joint agenda for research and innovation in the T4EU focus area of digital and environmental transformation for smart, sustainable and inclusive regions, enable access to research infrastructures and develop virtual collaborative research centres.

Best Careers for the brightest Minds – developing strategies for strengthening human capital in research and innovation, including promotion of young talents and leadership in science and increase the attractiveness of the T4EU partner universities to excellent researchers by developing joint innovative standards for scientific careers and improving professional research support.

Science4All (WP4) – developing the Science4All joint strategy for Public Engagement, Science Communication and Open Science ensuring involvement and engagement of citizens, civil society and public/private authorities in research and innovation. In addition to that, the aim of WP4 is to reinforce cooperation with non-academic actors, esp. stakeholders from the Regional Innovation Ecosystems.

Additionally, the project will encompass the overall administrative management and coordination and ensuring consistent communication and dissemination, safeguarding optimal visibility and a wide outreach to all relevant stakeholders (policy makers, academic communities, stakeholders from the regional innovation ecosystems, all members of the universities).

The project will involve stakeholders and share best practice from other University Alliances. One of the main outputs of the T4ERI project is the White Paper on Collaboration in Research and Innovation that will summarize the key learnings from the Pilot implementations of the project’s work packages including findings on legal, regulatory, and financial barriers, and policy recommendations on the way forward.

Meet the experts

Elen Garcia
Photo: T4ERI materials
  • Elen Garcia, University of Alicante, lead of the expert group Collaboration in Research & Innovation

Elen Garcia is a Senior Project Manager in the Institutional Project Management Office (OGPI) at the University of Alicante, where she is responsible for the elaboration and implementation of international projects. Within T4ERI, Elen García is coordinating Work Package 2 and its main activities, inter alia, the development of theTransform4Europe partnering tool, which enables the alliance researchers to collaborate and access the partners’ main research infrastructure.

If you would like to know more about Elen, her team, and her work, you can contact her by email: elen.garcia@ua.es

Damian Guzek
Photo: T4ERI materials
  • Prof. Damian Guzek, University of Silesia in Katowice, lead of the expert group The best careers for the brightest minds

Damian Guzek is an associate professor in the Institute of Journalism and Media Communication at the University of Silesia in Katowice. Within T4ERI, Damian and his team are developing joint innovative standards for scientific careers at all experience levels as well as a joint strategy to promote young talent and academic leadership, aiming to boost the quality of research at the member universities.

If you’re interested in these activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Damian and his team by email: damian.guzek@us.edu.pl

Saule Milciuviene
Photo: T4ERI materials
  • Saulė Milčiuvienė, Vytautas Magnus University (VMU), lead of the expert group Science4All

Saulė Milčiuvienė is an associate professor at the Law faculty and senior researcher at Vytautas Magnus University.
Together with her team, she is creating Transform4Europe network for Public Engagement in Research and Innovation (PERI), developing a training program for T4EU scientists to improve their skills in Science Communication (SC) and a joint strategy and common standards to be at the forefront of Open Science (OS).

If you’re interested in these activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Saule and her team by email: saule.milciuviene@vdu.lt

Discover our research

Unveil the depth of our knowledge hub! Dive into ‘Discover Our Research’ – our document repository is a powerhouse of innovation, exploration, and informative studies.

In the “Transform for European Research and Innovation” project (T4ERI), a significant milestone has been achieved in diagnosing barriers and opportunities in research and innovation (R&I) in staff development. Through the SWOT analysis via an online survey, insights from the HR and science specialists across the partner universities have highlighted the best practices and identified gaps. Best practices include promoting the research staff mobility, the career development centers, and the leadership programs, contributing to overall academic growth. The identified gaps involve challenges connected with attracting young STEM researchers, dealing with national legislation, and addressing the language barriers in the academia. This milestone marks a crucial step toward fostering innovation and excellence in the  European research.

  1. Survey and analysis of best HR staff development practices and indicators (pdf, 321 KB)

This analysis explores the barriers that appear in the early research careers, covering the PhD students and the research team leaders. Mateusz Paliga’s section identifies the issues including inconvenient class locations, insufficient supervisor support, and academic staff’s lack of ambition. The PhD students also express concerns concerning the workload, the finances, and the limited resources. Barbara Kożusznik and Katarzyna Więcek-Jakubek’s part highlights the barriers including the absence of mentoring, the cultural fit issues, and exclusion from the informal networks as thechallenges that persist throughout the different research leadership stages. This milestone offers the insights that will help to enhance the early researchers’ career mobility and flexibility.

This document emphasizes the key elements of the academia-business collaboration: regular meetings, short-term projects, and long-term research. It underscores the need for universities to streamline their processes, enhance communication, and promote their research capabilities. Scientists should also be market-aware in terms of practical solutions. The methodology includes an anonymous survey conducted among the T4EU alliance stakeholders, emphasizing transparency, mentoring, and efficient communication. Recommendations include introducing mentoring programmes, engaging young STEM scientists through competitions, and active participation in the Open Innovation initiatives. The partner universities should mediate collaboration, simplify processes, and ensure mutual benefits. Business partners are encouraged to create opportunities, stimulate innovation, and support research interests.

This document presents an overview of the research and innovation (R&I) in staff development practices within the T4EU university alliance. These practices encompass various activities targeting the academic teachers, the researchers, and the support staff. The universities have adopted best practices aligned with the HR strategies, and introduced the internal training programmes as well as collaboration with the technology transfer offices. The document also recommends best practices and highlights the critical gaps concerning the above, with a SWOT analysis outlining the internal strengths and weaknesses in that respect, along with the external opportunities and threats. In conclusion, it serves as a basis for developing a joint strategy to enhance the alliance’s R&I capabilities.

The T4ERI project, part of Work Package 3 (WP3), has devised a fundraising strategy for the international doctoral research networks. It covers the purpose of fundraising, successful strategies (public and private grants), ways of finding the sources of funding, and assessment of the institutions’ fundraising strategies. The alliance’s strategy aims to raise awareness  and secure funding for the doctoral candidates. The plan includes a timeline, a dedicated team, and a budget of €115,000 primarily for training costs.

This approach seeks to diversify funding beyond the state subsidies and to engage businesses in the research support. It underscores the importance of a long-term planning, strategy development, and collaboration between the universities and the business sector for the effective fundraising and research backing.


Step into the world of T4ERI, where we’re driving innovation through three core strategies that are set to make waves across the entire Transform4Europe alliance:

  • Research & Innovation
  • The Best Careers for the Brightest Minds
  • Science4All

The core strategies are available at: Mission, Vision and Strategies – Transform4Europe.



Marie Darimont & Donka Stephan
Saarland University
Department International Relations
phone: +49 681 302-2872
e-mail: transform4europe@uni-saarland.de