The second DISCO Innovation Lab was held in April 2023 in Lucerne, Switzerland, with the goal of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in education. The event was hosted by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU). It was also attended by representatives from the consortium’s partner organisations: Krakow University of Economics (KUE), Lviv Polytechnic National University (LPNU), European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT), and local stakeholders. The programme began with a welcome and an opening session. The participants were introduced to the University, specifically the School of Engineering and Architecture, and the Knowledge and Innovation Transfer (KIT) Department.
The participants discussed innovative teaching spaces and methods, exploring ways of integrating innovation and entrepreneurship education into study programmes. By way of illustration, Christian Hohmann, Stephen Wittkopf and other HSLU representatives demonstrated an innovative room for virtual modelling and space for product design using 3D printers.
The group then moved to Hergiswil, where Magdalena Herová (HSLU) spoke about the fascination with outer space in education and the importance of motivating and educating the future generations of engineers, innovative entrepreneurs, and scientists. Participants were also given the opportunity to visit the International Space Station’s communication room.
The participants were then taken on a tour of the Central Swiss Innovation Ecosystem. The Switzerland Innovation Park Central was introduced along with a digital innovation start-up in the Suurstoffi district, the BSc Programme Mobility, Data Science, and Ecosystems.
Several case presentations were also made at the occasion. The Gender Observatory, prepared by Eva Fabry and Dimitris Raftopoulos (ECWT), highlighted the importance of gender-related research and included a World Café session moderated by Stephanie Kaudela-Baum (HSLU).
At a session led by Oliver Stoll (HSLU), Bohdana Huriy (KUE) spoke about Recoveris, a start-up that creates solutions to help Ukrainian refugee women regain their physical and emotional health.
The next presentation addressed the difficulties of developing a digital business and focused on the development of Ukraine’s digital sector and partnerships with stakeholders to support start-ups and innovation. Oleh Sokil of the LPNU presented this case, and Alexander Werbik (HSLU) served as the moderator.
The presentations were followed by discussions and lessons-learned sessions exploring future research questions and new funding options. Francesco Spöring, Grants Advisor at Euresearch Central Switzerland, provided information about funding opportunities, including those available from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).
The event also covered future research trends and prospective areas of collaboration arising from the DISCO project. The Polish-Swiss Cooperation Programme, Erasmus-supported COIL development, and other funding sources were mentioned.
The participants then discussed new opportunities to support Ukraine, considering the country’s most pressing needs and potential assistance from Switzerland, Poland, and Norway. This session was moderated by Stanisław Alwasiak (KUE) and Nazar Podolchak (LPNU).
The last session of the Lab, led by Stanisław Alwasiak (KUE) and Christian Hohmann (HSLU), focused on the DISCO project’s future impact, with an emphasis on reaching out to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as early adopters, encouraging engagement with social and industry actors, and incorporating new partners into the work’s methodologies and organisation.
Overall, the DISCO Innovation Lab in Lucerne provided a fascinating platform for exploring innovation, education, and collaboration, thanks to its focus on a variety of case presentations, discussions, and future research directions. The next Innovation Lab is scheduled to take place in September 2023 in Krakow, Poland.