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“Concrete actions for applied research in support of SMEs” was the main take away from COORP and SMEs Gathering on 17 January 2018, hosted by Professional College of Tirana (KPT) and supported by PERFORM.

In his welcome note, Prof. Dr. Luan Karçanaj, Rector of Professional College of Tirana, emphasised the relevance of working towards enhanced cooperation between research and the private sector. He argued that an important role in this research and business dialogue can be played also by institutions like KPT. 

COORP brought together researchers in social sciences, business and innovation and representatives of SMEs who brainstormed, shared ideas and experiences on the research and business dialogue and cooperation. 
COORP co-founders Dr Blerjana Bino and Dr Fabjan Lashi encouraged the representatives of SMEs to express their viewpoints regarding the potential and practicalities of cooperation between research and the private sector in Albania. Lindita Komani, Research and Business Developer at Talent Garden Tirana and Kompass, argued that businesses need capacity development for EU Project applications and management. She also said that applied research responding to the demands of the private sector is a suitable approach to strengthen research and business cooperation.

Representatives from Communication Progress opened up other dimensions of research and business cooperation by pointing to the quality of study programmes and competences of students. In the same vain, Erjon Curraj, researcher on innovation and digital transformation and founder of Tech360, highlighted the relevance of problem-solving approach in teaching and involving students in research projects. By empowering them, academia could better contribute to the needs of the labour market and private sector.

COORP’s new initiative of piloting three cases of research and business cooperation, with the support of PERFORM, was also presented at the event. A call for application will be launched shortly and SMEs will express the will to host a researcher for a particular output. At the end, an end-line interview will be conducted with SME and research to evaluate the results of the pilot cases. A final roundtable will be organised to present the pilot as success stories and raise awareness on the need to enhance dialogue and cooperation between research and private sector.