In order to strengthen cooperation between researchers, European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) established joint research mobility fund, aimed at professional development, knowledge and good practice exchange in the context of high quality research in 2018. Eglė Butkevičienė and Lina Dagilienė, researchers from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), were among the first to use the opportunity.
“KTU’s membership in ECIU is beneficial for every researcher of the University. It benefits our image and opens new opportunities to disseminate information”, says Eglė Butkevičienė, Vice-Dean for Research at KTU Faculty of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, who visited Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico) in the end of the last year.
Lina Dagilienė from KTU School of Economics and Business used the mobility to expand her knowledge in circular economy research in the University of Twente (Netherlands). Both researchers are convinced that the main value of the ECIU mobility lies both in new knowledge and new contacts and networking opportunities.
Butkevičienė’s main focus of the visit to Monterrey was distance learning.
“During virtual lectures in Tecnológico de Monterrey, teachers are filmed in such a way that the students during the lecture can see them walking, showing the slides and communicating full size, naturally. I believe that this is technology of the future, which will be soon also available at KTU. This will definitely enhance students’ involvement and study quality”, said Butkevičienė.
Distance learning technologies are of upmost importance to KTU as the University has quite a few joint programmes with other universities. One of them is double degree public administration study programme together with the University of Central Florida (USA), which is starting this year, 2019. Although students of this programme will have the possibility to travel to the UCF and KTU will accept students from the US, more efficient distance learning methods would allow them to participate in lectures more actively.
The research carried out by the Tecnológico de Monterrey shows that during e-lectures students can concentrate and work productively only for 5–10 minutes. However, with the usage of additional virtual technologies the attention span can be extended up to 20 minutes.
“We are in a way fighting for students’ attention – there is so much information around. Lectures have to be very attractive”, says Butkevičienė.
Further cooperation with Tecnológico de Monterrey is already taking place – the groups of researchers from both schools are preparing for applying to the Horizon 2020 programme, joint publications are planned. Professor Marcela Georgina Gómez Zermeño from Tecnológico de Monterrey has already visited KTU with ECIU mobility grant.
“The secret behind the success of ECIU research mobility is common research topics. When the researchers are united by research field, there is higher interest from both sides and high probability of interesting results”, says Lina Dagilienė, researcher from KTU School of Economics and Business who spent a month carrying out research in the University of Twente.
Dagilienė’s research topic is connected to circular economy and she is convinced that Dutch scientists are very advanced in this field. According to her, the Netherlands are among the leaders in circular economy, their businesses are aligning their activities according to circular economy principles. Unfortunately, in European context, Lithuania is lagging behind.
“Together with colleagues from Twente we were working with data from environmentally unfriendly industries. This year, we are planning to publish the initial research results together. A mathematician, an informatics specialist and an economist are working together in our team. The colleagues were very open and accepting, I was fully integrated into the university’s life”, says Dagilienė.
KTU joined European Consortium of Innovative Universities in 2016, and is the only Lithuanian university in this network. ECIU research mobility fund is open to all the fields of research, with the priority given to the research in the topics of Smart Society and Industry 4.0. Development of entrepreneurship and innovations in research are considered an advantage.
Researchers can apply for bilateral or multilateral cooperation among ECIU partners throughout the year. Contact person for ECIU mobility in the University is Lina Vilčinskaitė: firstname.lastname@example.org