What is a Pole of excellence and innovation?
From its vantage point of observer, UNESCO will play its role as a catalyst to the full by encouraging UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks to become poles of excellence and innovation. A pole of excellence is “a combination, in a specific geographical location, of universities, higher education institutions, training centres, foundations, and public or private research units working together on joint projects of an innovative nature. Such a partnership is structured around a specific field or theme that is consonant with UNESCO’s priorities, and must reach a critical mass in order to achieve a certain level of quality and international visibility”.
A pole of excellence and innovation should:
- Conduct research activities fostering partnerships between research and services and industries;
- Master the use of technology, in particular distance learning technology, to provide high-level training in its field;
- Integrate public and private sources to ensure successful applications and developments;
- Offer industry the possibility of using research results to implement profitable activities that have an impact on sustainable development;
- Innovate today for building tomorrow;
- Provide leadership in technology innovation in education (by creating for example, groundbreaking software);
- Act as a strategic resource pole offering a forum for sharing of knowledge and experience;
- Contribute actively to developing the respective sector of activities at the national and/or regional level;
- Offer research activities at international level that interfaces with the environment, and attract its own resources by having the capacity and the autonomy to bid for projects, which permit its implementation;
- Create institutional space, which can be virtual, for research and training and documentation, and an Internet site.