Overall background

The renewed Lisbon agenda aims to turn Europe into a modern, dynamic, outward-looking knowledge economy. Investment in education, research and innovation - the knowledge triangle - lies in the heart of successful economies and is relevant to all regions in the EU. In the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation, universities play a special role in promoting European standards in education and training. WBC have been already included in the main European processes within areas of education and vocational training, research and usage of ICT technologies, at national as well as regional level.

Supporting actions at national and regional levels are aimed at developing inter-firm clusters and networks, enhancing pan-European cooperation among SMEs. A flexible, knowledge-based economy requires enhanced levels of innovation which would clearly be improved through better and more effective links between research and development centers at Universities and SMEs.

According to estimation of EU experts, links between University and industry must be strengthened in order to bridge the gap between business needs and university services in the area of education and research, to enable permanent transfer of knowledge, to increase financing of innovation.

Enterprises in the WBC region have been doing business in extremely difficult financial conditions for years; therefore, investing in human resources and their education was sporadic and insufficient.

University education system educates various profiles of engineers who mostly are not educated at all to use computer tools and to practically apply VM-technologies in product and process design. Graduates who need knowledge and skills of this type will be involved in planned the project activities (vocational trainings), that way lowering the number of unemployed engineers in the following period. There is a labor demand for engineers who possess new knowledge and skills in the area of VM technologies.