EXPER is a European project funded by Horizon Europe under the Widening Action, which contributes to building research and innovation (R&I) capacity of Widening areas of Europe including EU Outermost Regions.

The Challenge

Universities play a key role as aggregators of different actors in EU regional innovation systems and as connectors with other organisations abroad. In this context, Outermost Regions, such as Azores and Canary Islands, face greater challenges in terms of R&I modernisation due to structural handicaps and geographical location such as lack of proximity with excellence Higher education institutions.

EXPER Approach

To overcome the previous challenges, EXPER will deploy a community-based approach to establish and implement a modernisation strategy of its two Widening Universities – University of Las Palmas (ULPGC) and University of Azores (UAc).

The institutional transformation of these universities will be also achieved through peer-learning and cooperation with the leading Universities of Rostock (UROS) and Calabria (UNICAL). Capacity building will focus especially on blue and green economy and circular economy, which have sectors of high R&I potential for EU Outermost Regions.

Specific objectives

The project specific objectives are to:

• Raise the excellence profile of ULPGC and UAc and increase their attractiveness towards local and international talents.

• Design and plan their institutional transformation with the proactive engagement of stakeholders from their regional R&I systems.

• Promote capacity building activities to learn from best practices from UROS and UNICAL.

• Set the basis for a new European University Alliance.