The Vision of Europe as knowledge-based society is funded on availability and application of knowledge in all segments of European life. Universities, as key provider of knowledge, and industry, as its largest consumer, are two pillows of this vision. Their harmonic action is of vital importance for achieving the proclaimed goals. Academic Institutions has a double role in provisioning of knowledge: “research” for creation of new knowledge and “education” as dissemination of current knowledge.
By a stable process of “transfer of technology”, the universities on Adriatic can act as useful Research and Technological Developer, pushing enterprises to overcome the current barriers of innovation and competitiveness. But, separated into small countries, burdened with recent political and economic breakdowns, West Balkan is mainly characterized by a large number of little enterprises which are rarely capable to take advantage of the academic research partners. In addition, usually private companies in the Adriatic area have not enough economical and technical resources to commit joint project with universities. Therefore establishment of mechanisms for cooperation between universities and industry should be done from outside, using predominantly university resources, following successful examples and under leadership of experienced partners. Only creating and powering institutionalized mechanisms able to support a strong integration between University and Business beyond these difficulties, a social and industrial development can be obtained on Adriatic area.
On the other hand, while cooperation in research and development is progressive increasing, collaboration in the field of education is just at a starting point, even if the representative of both sides declared the highest social importance. A limit consists in the fact that Industry has not a clear and complete insight into the educational institutions and procedures.
Following previous experiences of Academic-Business integration successfully performed in Italy, the project intends to develop a innovative ICT platform, able to collect technical information from West Balkan universities and to provide them to the Industry. The platform will be tested on the wood processing industry in the region.
Beyond this challenge for a new collaborative approach, other political and economical aspects have to be considered:
1. Italian wood-working machines manufacturers are strong players on WB: technological innovations could have high impact on both sides of Adriatic.
2. Within Bologna Process, all the universities have to move towards flexible and modern curricula meeting needs of the labour market and establishing trustworthy quality assurance systems; the project is in lines with their present efforts.
3. Since Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina exhibit intentions to join the Union, regional integrations are expected to have strong local support.