International Academy "Knowledge and Innovation"


The establishment of the International Academy "Knowledge and Innovation" comes as a response to the directives of the "Horizon 2020" programme of the European Commission, aiming to develop key technologies for economic upswing through the usage of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), which requires that human resources with "new knowledge and skills for new jobs" be created.

The establishment of the Academy of Knowledge Management is based on more than 500 international partnerships realized by Varna Free University, as well as on the university’s participation in educational and research networks and international projects. Members of the Academy include prominent professors from leading universities and research centres, as well as leading experts from international companies from the USA, Germany, Russia, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Japan, Israel and many other countries. Among the most active participants are companies from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany – the STARBAG construction company; Greenhouse Group, E Ambiente from Italy, the Director of the University of Delaware Centre for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the USA – Prof. Dr. James O’Neil and the Director of the University of Cincinnati Economics Centre for Education and Research, the USA – Prof. Dr. George Vredeveld. At the end of November professors from Ben Gurion University, Israel are going to conduct a knowledge management training at VFU, dedicated to the usage of the latest generation of web technologies for the establishment of the digital work place Enterprise 2.0. Specialized courses on digital marketing, electronic management etc. will also be offered.


Objectives
The Academy further builds upon the experience VFU has acquired of closely linking education with business and practice through a number of university projects, amongst which "European Business – Guarantee for the Professional Aptitude of the Higher Education Graduates at VFU", "European Cluster of Knowledge and Research for Sustainable Development", "Academic Park 2020", "Experts and Students – Partnership for Competitiveness", "Academic Entrepreneurship in Tourism", "Leadership in the Global World" etc. The Academy also places the technological realization of the educational process at a new, higher level by offering all advantages of Problem Based Life Long Learning, of the Skills Oriented Learning, as well as of the cooperation learning based on research.
The Academy’s main objectives include:

  • internationalization;
  • close linking of the educational process to the needs of the business and the labour market;
  • "new skills for new jobs";
  • innovative models of teaching and training;
  • transdisciplinary nature of the educational curricula;
  • unity of research and education – trying out of research ideas in "live laboratories" and discovering the future through action rather than through analysis alone;
  • interrelated model of commitment – teaching, training and research activities are to be reinforced through cooperation and exchange of knowledge;

Nature of the Academy
Within the Academy learning modules for students of the three educational degrees – Bachelor, Master and Doctor - will be organized under the forms of courses, seminars, master classes, summer schools and other common initiatives. Education activities under the Academy encompass research and project development, forming of international teams whose tasks will be to define interdisciplinary research problems, to train students to deal with specific research tasks and to elaborate proposals to apply for grants awarded by the EU, NATO, international foundations and other alternative sources.

The International Knowledge Management Academy presents the university’s new vision of the educational, research and innovation processes in a dramatically changed economic environment, which requires an interdisciplinary approach and a major knowledge investment.

The Academy combines the potential of renowned higher education institutions, research centres and various companies in order to create the managers of the future and to guarantee the competitiveness of the "knowledge triangle" – education-science-innovation. The initiatives under the Academy result from the idea of obtaining knowledge through research, disseminating it through education and implementing it through innovation. This "triangle" performs at its best when its accompanying framework conditions reward knowledge which is put into action for the benefit of the economy and society. In the 21st century the most powerful production tool is human knowledge.

During the Academy online communications will be used to enable electronic and distance learning.

Trainees will acquire skills to initiate knowledge management programmes and to implement them in a real company environment. Knowledge management means creating a full-scale system which captures knowledge and transforms it into business strategies, policies and practices across the board.


Success factors:

  • Flexibility and adaptability of management and functioning;
  • Innovation and technologization ("Expansion into ICT");
  • Digitalization and virtualization of content and activity;
  • Cooperation and interaction in an international context (Truly International);
  • Partnership with the business and establishment of network international campuses-clones for research and education;
  • Non-conventional strategies: new disciplines, interdisciplinary scientific research etc.
  • Integration of knowledge and reinforcement of the relations between disciplines;
  • Problem-based learning: interdisciplinarity, solving concrete business problems in a real environment, team work.

During the current academic year, opportunities are available to students to enroll on the Academy modules. On completion of a module, they will be awarded prestigious certificates and credits. This will help to enrich the traditional modes of education and will contribute to the fulfillment of the university’s key priorities.

 

By taking part in master classes and seminars students will be able to build up their portfolio of competences and qualifications in order to achieve successful realization on the labour market, both locally and globally.