Innovation Competencies Development

Newsletter 2013

18.12.2013 16:28 Age: 5 yrs

New: INCODE publications on website now

New: The

INCODE barometer and user guide,

INCODE rater training manual

and the

Presentations of the Final INCODE Conference

are published on the INCODE site now.

20.11.2013 20:51 Age: 5 yrs

INCODE Final Conference

The INCODE final conference took place in Hamburg on 15th of November 2013. A very interested audience discussed with the INCODE members and gave feedback on their view of the project results that were presented in a diversified an vivid way.  

All presentations of the Conference can be found on the INCODE-website on

A podcast of the conference will appear soon on the INCODE site.







12.09.2013 15:49 Age: 5 yrs

INCODE Final Conference on 15th of November 2013 - Program out now

"Making mistakes at no risk" - on 15th of November a one-day conference of the EU funded INCODE project is taking place at University of Applied Sciences Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

This conference will include issues on major subjects of the INCODE project like the development of a new Teaching and Learning Method and a tool for assessing Innovation Competencies.

Teachers, students and representatives of the labourmarket are invited to join the conference.


free registration:


> INCODE conference-program (printable version)


Making mistakes at no risk – Innovation Competence Development and Assessment in European Higher Education


Prof. Monika Bessenrodt-Weberpals (UAS Hamburg)
Jussi Riihiranta (UAS Turku)


Innovation Competence –
How should Universities meet the demands of current and future EU-labour markets?

Dr. Thomas Frahm (Norgenta GmbH)




Innovation Competence –
A complex concept and an ambitious aim in higher education

Prof. Liisa Kairisto-Mertanen (UAS Turku)
Prof. Frances Watts (UP Valencia)


Coffee break




Research Hatcheries –
A new way to develop innovation competence in higher education

Meiju Räsänen (UAS Turku)
Prof. Jan Trommelmans (KdG Antwerp)






Assessment of innovation competence I  -
Construction of a new measurement tool

Prof. Juan Marin-Garcia (UP Valencia)
Prof. Amparo Garcia (UP Valencia)


Coffee break




Assessment of innovation competence II -
A training program for securing reliable and valid rating results

Prof. Helmut Helker (UAS Hamburg)
Dr. Christiane Stange (UAS Hamburg)


Discussion on transfer of project results






10.09.2013 16:51 Age: 5 yrs

Universitat Politècnica de València

The Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) is a young, prestigious public institution providing modern and flexible degrees tailored to the needs of society. Its history dates back to the early 70s, although some of its schools are over a hundred years old. Currently, its academic community comprises more than 38,000 students, almost 2,500 lecturers and researchers, and 1,500 administration and services professionals.

It is composed by three fully equipped campuses. One is located in the city of Valencia (Vera) and the other two are located in Alcoy and Gandia. The Vera Campus covers around 700.000 m2 (7,534,737 ft2) and is almost 2 km (1.24 mi.) long from one end to the other. It is a pedestrian campus with over 106,000 m2 (1,140,974.4 ft2) of green areas. The cafeterias and terraces, kiosks, banks and other establishments are meant to make day-to-day university life more comfortable.

Its offer for students includes all types of resources and services: classrooms, libraries, laboratories, state-of-the-art computer equipment, wireless network, email account from the first day, lessons  in Spanish, Valencian and English, scholarships and grants provided by the university itself so that no one is deprived of the opportunity to study, and much more.  

All of the UPV campuses share the same philosophy and provide the same opportunities and, although there are no significant differences between studying in one city or another, Alcoy and Gandia provide a more personalized education and a more intimate environment. In fact, the number of students per group is smaller than in other public universities, so students receive one-on-one attention, which will ultimately lead them to be more successful in their studies.

With this goal, faculty members and students help newcomers adapt to university life. Not only is their initial contact with the university facilitated, but new students are also monitored at key times during the course year, and given advice on which electives to choose and how to improve their performance.

Moreover, the UPV has official accreditations of quality. For instance, the American Agency ABET, the most important in the world, has accredited four UPV degree programs and recognizes its equivalence to the Master’s Degrees taught in USA. This quality seal guarantees that the referred studies fulfill by far the requirements of the corresponding professions. For the graduates, this guarantee implies better opportunities of labour insertion and a better employment projection. At the same time, it allows the UPV to create more double degrees and to attract a larger number of foreign students.  

The UPV organises over 1,800 courses a year in all specialties so that each student is able to shape their curriculum to meet their interests, and has signed agreements with 400 different universities, under which students have the possibility of spending a semester in one of the 50 countries worldwide where exchanges are offered: not only in Europe, but also in the US, Japan, China, Australia, Canada and Latin America.

On the other hand, the UPV has excellent sports facilities throughout the campus. Students can choose from 75 different sports disciplines: sailing, rowing, diving, sport fishing, fencing, climbing, mountain climbing, archery, aikido, taekwondo, capoeira, cycling, yoga, rugby, handball, swimming, beach volleyball, athletics, tennis paddle… With their UPV ID card, they can participate in a large variety of cultural activities: classical, pop and jazz concerts, painting and photography exhibitions, urban arts festivals, etc. Students can also participate in writing, gastronomy, wine tasting, and percussion workshops, among others.

The institution pays special attention to the insertion of UPV graduates to the labour market. It promotes the contact with the business world through remunerated internships. Students have the opportunity to do internships in private and public enterprises, the Public Administration, technological institutes, consulting firms, non-profit organizations and engineering firms. In addition, the UPV's Servipoli Foundation assists them in finding part-time jobs that are compatible with their studies both on- and off-campus so they can earn extra money without having to miss classes.

The UPV is an innovative university that aims at developing creative and relevant ideas with an impact on society. That’s why the UPV has the Ideas Institute, the first support program for the university entrepreneurship in Spain, which has backed the creation of more than 400 companies since 1992.

For all these reasons, the UPV is one of the best starting points for beginning a career in research in both public centers and innovation departments in companies. Internationally, it is the leading university in technological research in numerous areas, and it is one of the top three Spanish universities in terms of R&D research cooperation agreements with companies. Additionally, it is on the leading edge in terms of patents and technology licensing.

The UPV strives to use optimally its teaching, technological and financial resources to be a competent and qualified university, capable of generating ad attracting national and international talent. And all this effort has its rewards: it is the only Spanish technological university ranked as one of the top universities worldwide, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), and has been ranked among the 100 best universities of the world that are less than 50 years old (THE).

In short, the UPV is among the universities preferred most. Each year hundreds of foreign students choose UPV because of its academic level and its typical Mediterranean life style. Graduates like and are satisfied with the UPV. In fact, 94.5% would study at the Universitat Politècnica de València again if they had to start all over.

30.06.2013 11:57 Age: 5 yrs

5th Meeting of INCODE in Turku (Finland) on 10th-12th of June 2013

Developing the INCODE Barometer (ICB) and testing it within the Research Hatcheries (REHA) was a main task of the INCODE group as yet. In the Turku-meeting one of the main subjects was the systematic application of the ICB within the REHA setting for the users of the Barometer. For this reason a one-day rater training session was arranged by the German partner in the course of the meeting.

After a friendly “Welcome again” from the finish hosts the meeting program started with Jussi Riihiranta (TUAS), the Coordinator of INCODE who presented the new information on administrative and organisational project-issues.
The actual update of the INCODE Quality Plan again was presented by Erwin Smet (KDG). In general the work of all of the partners was in time so far and due to the different Quality tools a sophisticated review of the different work-packages assures that every task of the project work can be monitored satisfyingly.
Christiane Stange (HAWH) gave an updated presentation of the dissemination activities that already took place to date. In the context of this session a fruitful discussion occurred on the format and content of the upcoming INCODE-conference on 15th of November 2013.
INCODE aims at integrating the development of innovation competencies into the Higher Education Curriculum. The INCODE approach comprises the new REHA teaching and learning method in connection with the INCODE Barometer to assure the results of this method. Teachers use the Barometer as raters to assess if the performance of the students in unfolding innovation competencies has improved which would be an indicator that the REHA method is successful. Special skills and competencies of those who are using the Barometer as an observation tool are required. For this reason the HAWH Team has designed a Rater Training as a one-day workshop with different content elements like Behaviour Observation Training, Rater Error Training and Frame of Reference Training. The training was held in Turku by Helmut Helker and Christiane Stange (HAWH) with the INCODE partners and a group of additional lecturers from Finland. Experiences with this pilot training will help to modify the structure of the training and will be useful when creating a Rater Training Guide or Manual.
A first proposal for the structure of the ICB guide was presented by Amparo Garcia (UPV). The ICB guide aims at enabling teachers and other potential raters to apply the Innovation Competencies Barometer in the right way. It consists of a short but comprehensive introduction on aim and application of the Barometer, the ICB rubric with indicators and scales and an example for the necessary contextual alignment of the Barometer.
Meiju Räsänen (TUAS) introduced structure and ideas for the REHA guide. The guide will enable lecturers to create a Research Hatchery setting for their own student target group. After the second round of the REHA pilots will be completed and thoroughly be analysed all the results of the two REHA pilots will lead to a comprehensive REHA guide. The guide is based on manifold experiences the INCODE partners have made with this special method for enhancing the development of innovation competencies in students.
Again the INCODE meeting had a very positive atmosphere due especially to the finish hosts. It was very fruitful to exchange ideas among the partners taking into account that to integrate the development of Innovation Competencies into the Higher Education Curricula is a challenging and important task for all universities.

05.04.2013 11:09 Age: 5 yrs

Hamburg - University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

With 14,000 students Hamburg University of Applied Sciences is the second largest institution of higher education in the Hamburg region and one of the largest of its kind (university of applied sciences) in Germany.


Founded in 1970, our roots go back to the 18th century. Our practice orientation guarantees a continuous adjustment of teaching based on current development. Small groups, interdisciplinary projects and academic support ensure that our students feel at home at our university.

Engineering & Computer Science, Life Sciences, Design, Media & Information, Business & Social Sciences - Hamburg University of Applied Sciences offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes within its four faculties leading to the academic qualifications »Bachelor« and »Master«.

Applied Sciences
Practice orientation is our trademark: theory from lectures is put into practice in the laboratories, study projects are completed in the form of case studies, close cooperation with industry ensures a direct link to the future field of work. In many programmes students have to complete a semester-long internship in industry. In addition to an academic title, our professors worked for many years in private companies and public institutions before joining the university.

1,800 international students study at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (13 % of all students), representing over 100 nations. We also welcome international guest students from our partner universities abroad. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences has cooperations with over 140 European universities as well as universities in North and South America, in Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.

Teaching and Learning
To create innovative learning and leaching processes is one important goal of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. To foster the quality of teaching and learning our university successfully has participated in several national tenders. For instance Hamburg University of Applied Sciences has established a coaching program for teachers which comprises individual and team-coaching with professional coaches for all teachers of our university. Furthermore multiple project-learning opportunities with a high amount of practical implementation of theoretical knowledge in the curricula and manifold contacts to different employers characterise the way our university helps to manage the learning processes of their students.
For a successful academic education the relationship between research and teaching is moreover very important to enable students to solve new and complex problems.
“In this context the methods and tools of INCODE are a good possibility to connect research and teaching in such a way that it gives the opportunity to our students to unfold their potentials in a comprehensive way.” (Helmut Laberenz, Vice-President HAW Hamburg)

Hamburg - City with many faces
In the North of Germany and in the heart of Europe; Hamburg is Germany's second largest city (1.8 million inhabitants) and offers an excellent quality of life and international flair.

City on the water
Hamburg is a city on the water. The »Alster«, a 1.6 km² large lake in the middle of the city, is the perfect place for sailing, canoeing and rowing; not just for sportspeople but also for city people who prefer a leisurely boat trip on a mild summer evening. The river Elbe flows through Hamburg and connects the city and its international harbour with the world.

Dynamic City
Hamburg is one of the most dynamic commercial centres in Europe, with a strategic focus on six innovative segments: aviation (Airbus), the international port and logistics, IT and media, life sciences (biotechnology, medical technology and health care), renewable energies and nanotechnology. Competence clusters interlink companies, universities and research institutes and Hamburg University of Applied Sciences offers not only degree programmes in these fields but also works closely with many companies and institutes to ensure that knowledge is shared and developed.

Green City
Hamburg is a green city with 5 million trees and numerous large parks making life in this city very pleasant. Whether at the weekend or after work and whatever the weather; Hamburg citizens enjoy the parks at the »Alster«, the 140 hectare large »Stadtpark« or the flower paradise »Planten un Blomen«. Europe's »greenest« city offers a wide range of possibilities for everyone who enjoys spending time out of doors.

City of culture
Hamburg is a city of culture. A vibrant theatre scene offers everything from big, classical productions to fringe theatre. Hamburg is famous for its ballet and is the third largest musical city after New York and London. Fifty museums offer a varied programme of exhibitions and collections. The Beatles achieved international acclaim in the Hamburg Starclub and today world stars are at home in the arenas and on the stages of the city.

City of nightlife
Hamburg is famous for its Reeperbahn - home to clubs and pubs and theatres to keep you amused into the small hours. But not just on this street - parties and events happen all over the city.

21.03.2013 14:53 Age: 6 yrs

Interview with Erwin Smet and Emiel Billiet - Karel de Grote Hogeschool Antwerp

Erwin Smet and Emiel Billiet are responsible for the Quality Management in the INCODE Project.

Erwin Smet

Emiel Billiet

? Please present yourself and tell us a bit about your backgrounds and your motivation to join the project INCODE

Erwin Smet: I’m together with Mil Quality Coordinator  at the Department of Applied Engineering of the Karel de Grote University College.  My background consists of two main topics.  The first one is robotics.  I’m teaching robots and I’m also responsible for our robotics lab.  We have at the moment five up-to-date industrial robots (KUKA and Panasonic).  The second topic is of course Total Quality Management (TQM).  This is based on my experience in training people in industry on Kaizen and quality techniques.  I was interested in the INCODE project since competences are a major topic in TQM of higher education.  

Emiel Billiet: I was involved in quality activities from the beginning of my job at the Karel de Grote University College.  This was due to my six years experience in industry, where my job was also related to all kind of quality aspects. The INCODE project is an opportunity to deliver our knowledge in things we believe in.  Another part of my job at the University College is teaching.  The main part consists of mechanical related topics like basic mechanics, fluid mechanics and pneumatics.

? What is the job of quality evaluators in a European project?

Erwin Smet: A quality evaluator in a European project is rather looking at process quality than product quality.  We are not telling that the quality of the products is not important.  But product quality is the responsibility of the  individual work package (WP) members and leaders.  In the INCODE project the goal of one of the work packages is to develop a competence barometer.  The members of  that WP are the experts in their field, the field in which they are developing this new tool. 

Emiel Billiet: They are in touch with peers in other universities and presenting the tools at conferences.  They are testing, adapting and improving the tool.  Our task is checking whether they follow all these necessary steps (as promised in the application) to reach the ultimate goal. Are they producing all the deliverables as defined in the project application?   

? Quality management seems to be the same as checking the quality of a project.  Do you agree?

Emiel Billiet: No,  quality management means that we are monitoring during the whole project different  key indicators.  Based on these indicators we decide whether the project is “in control” or not.  Some of the key indicators we use, are: “project organization is clear to the partners”, “the project has no considerable delay”,   “balance between work and budget”.  We visualize the overall progress of the project in a kind of Gantt chart.  This chart is updated every two months.  When a work package or sub-work package has no delay it is marked green.  A delay gets a red colour.

Erwin Smet: This simple dashboard of the project helps the management to get grip on the evolution of the project.  We have also added to the dashboard a kind of poster with improvement projects and problems.  When a problem appears it is put on the poster.  An owner is defined and a plan is made to solve the problem (according to the PDCA method).

? Was this the first European project in which you were responsible for quality management?

Emiel Billiet: No, we participated already in different European projects.  It was not always as quality evaluator.  In the CoNeT project our job was more or less the same.  The job of quality evaluator or coordinator is in line with our job at Karel de Grote University College. 

Erwin Smet: As we said already, we are responsible for quality management at the Department of Applied Engineering.  That  job consist also of stimulating colleagues in setting up improvement projects and solving problems.  We also support the different study programs in the process of external audits and accreditations.  In the last four years seven of these programs got an external quality audit that resulted in an accreditation by the NVAO (“nederlands-vlaamse accreditatieorganisatie”).  At the end of this year our engineering studies will integrate in the University of Antwerp in a new faculty: the Faculty of Applied Engineering.   We will meet new challenges as CIKO (“cell for innovation and quality assurance in education”) executives in that new faculty.

28.02.2013 12:06 Age: 6 yrs

4th INCODE Meeting in Antwerp 16th-18th of January 2013

The fourth project-meeting of INCODE took place in Antwerp (Belgium) on 16th-18th of January 2013.   This meeting in Belgium focused on refining the Innovation Competencies Barometer and on integrating Research Hatcheries (REHA), Innovation Competencies Barometer (ICB) and Rater Training on the background of the first round of REHA pilots in the different participating countries.

Fourth INCODE project meeting in Antwerp

Fourth INCODE project meeting in Antwerp

The meeting opened with some welcoming introduction from Karel de Grote Hogeschool. Subsequently the Erasmus-Project Adviser of the European Agency for Education, Audiovision and Culture, Mrs. Alba Prieto-Gonzales, gave an overview on EACEA`s role in implementing the policy of the European Commission who is funding INCODE. In her presentation Mrs. Prieto-Gonzales illustrated the Agency`s monitoring process and addressed some general relevant criteria of evaluating project work.

Fernando Gonzales from the Valencia Team introduced different developmental steps of a guide for the Barometer and pointed out that after conceptualizing, developing and pre-testing the ICB in the first phase the second phase comprises the validation and evaluation of the instrument with the aim to give a comprehensive but easy-to-use guide for the ICB. For this aim literature analyses and an analysis of potential obstacles when applying the ICB have already been done. Next the findings from the REHA-experiences have to be included.

Experiences with the application of REHA and ICB in Finland were presented by Sami Lyytinen of the Turku Team. Interviews with different REHA-teachers in Turku were shown to the partners to give a first qualitative impression of experiences with the new tool. In these interviews teachers were explicitly asked to give an account of their findings when using the ICB in their Research Hatcheries. The findings differed and showed that it depends on the kind of Hatchery to what extent the application of the Barometer was helpful for teachers and students. Meiju Räsänen (Turku) explained the organizational and technical details of how the first experiences with the REHA pilots could be documented in video-format of interviews with teachers and students in each country.

The new REHA teaching and learning method aims at developing innovation competencies in combination with the new ICB tool to measure the success of this method. This requires special skills and abilities of those who are using the instrument as an observation and monitoring tool. Users of the ICB should be trained to apply the instrument in the right way. Therefore Helmut Helker and Christiane Stange of the Hamburg Team produced a training-format for raters which comprises a workshop-structure and additional material on common rater errors and tasks for group work situations. In Antwerp first experiences with the material (that was already available to the partners before the meeting) were exchanged and some general questions on the further development of the training were discussed.

Jan Trommelmans (Antwerp) presented some first statistical analyses of the use of the ICB in the self, peer and teacher assessment in different countries using the REHA-method in the last term. The findings mainly showed that data collection has to continue before getting reliable conclusions – taking into account this result he made some general remarks on applying the ICB in REHA settings. Most notably for a fruitful statistical analysis he recommended attaching importance to the apt moment of the future data-collection and to the right manner of using the Barometer.

Erwin Smet of the Antwerp Team once again presented the INCODE Quality Plan with the actual status of the project`s progress using different tools of charts and posters. It became clear that still the project work is in time and that some minor problems that occurred so far could be treated quite successful and that project processes were transparently monitored by the Antwerp Quality team.

Christiane Stange (Hamburg) illustrated the dissemination activities that already took place, which in the first phase concentrated especially on publications and talks on conferences. The second phase will be used for spreading the results of the project work more broadly, especially at the INCODE-conference on 15-16th of November.

Adminstrative and organizational issues were finally addressed by Jussi Riihiranta, the Coordinator of INCODE from Turku. The meeting closed with a big thank to the Antwerp team who organized a fruitful and interesting program for the days in Belgium. All the partners expressed their satisfaction with this meeting and their hope to get a step further again when meeting in Turku in June.

20.02.2013 13:58 Age: 6 yrs

INCODE at INTED 2013 !

INCODE will be presented at the 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference that will be held in Valencia (Spain) on the 4th, 5th and 6th of March, 2013.

Frances Watts (UPV) will present a conjoint INCODE paper of INCODE partner universities at the session "Evaluation and Assessment of Student Learning". Further information you can find at the conference website and on the session details


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