Transnational Capacity Building Workshops

The AHEAD project strives to strengthen transnational collaboration among European and African partner organizations in order to ensure the impact, usability and quality of the project deliverables. Three collaboration workshops and one transnational Train the Trainer workshop were carried out during the project implementation:

First Transnational Capacity Building Workshop


The First Transnational Capacity Building Workshop was hosted by the State University of Zanzibar, Tanzania, on July 10-12, 2018. It was a three-day event that gathered 38 representatives of all partner institutions (11 EU + 27 African staff members). The meeting was held in an interactive format, allowing for discussions, sharing of ideas and group work. During the meeting partners:

  • Exchanged feedback about the following project deliverables: Reports on the analysis of the National Innovation Systems in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda; Reports on institutional self-assessment of research and innovation capacity, prepared by all African partner universitities; Compendium of good practices for implementing the knowledge triangle. 
  • Planned the development of Open Educational Resources in Innovation Management and Inclusive innovation, as well as Trainers’ toolkits and Resource Pack on Entrepreneurship education.
  • Participated in joint development of Scoping reports for creating Innovation for Development Hubs in African partner universities and clarified issues related to implementation of Internal discussion panels - events aimed to map interests and priorities of internal stakeholders related to establishment of the Hubs.
  • Discussed project management issues (project progress, time and quality management, dissemination and financial management of the grant).

This meeting provided a great opportunity for joint development of project outputs and allowed for good planning of the forthcoming activities.

Transnational Train the Trainer Workshop


The Transnational Train the Trainer workshop was held on 21-24th of May, 2019 in Birmingham City University, UK. The aim of the joint training event was to ensure the transferability and multiplication of the AHEAD open educational recourses (OERs) by preparing faculty members and researches from the African partner universities to teach and/or train in the area of innovation management and inclusive innovations, as well as entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship education.

34 representatives of the AHEAD consortium participated in the training and had the chance to discuss the topics including: Delivery of entrepreneurship teaching/ training; Human-centred Design, Design Thinking and Social innovation, customer development process; Innovation systems; Types of innovations; Technological learning, technological catch-up, technological leapfrogging; Inclusive and Grassroots innovation.

During the first day the participants were welcomed by the head of the Business school, Prof Nassim Belbaly, and the AHEAD project manager in BCU, Dr. Charlotte Carey. The head of Business and Innovation Department of the Birmingham City Council, Mr. Mohammed Zahir, presented the policy perspective of innovations and entrepreneurship by sharing the main points from the Business Growth Programme. The Urban M project led by Birmingham City Council was also discussed showing a good example of partnership and innovation in the cities.

Furthermore, guest lecturers from Birmingham City University and Coventry University presented various case studies including the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) – the most successful government funded programme for linking business and universities; and the STEAM house – a collaboration space for developing innovations by entrepreneurs and start-ups where free business support is provided, as well as access to makerspace workshops and co-working space, a programme of STEAMlabs and events led by industry experts from many different sectors.

The next days were structured around training sessions following the topics included in the OERs. These sessions were moderated by the respective European partner responsible for OER development. The academic staff from the African partner universities had the chance to go on a study visit to the STEAM house, while the project managers reviewed the AHEAD project implementation and planned the upcoming activities.

Second Capacity Building Workshop


The second capacity building workshop within AHEAD project took place between 30.10 – 01.11 2019 in Kampala, Uganda. The event gathered 47 representatives of all 15 European and African partner organizations who were warmly welcomed in Kyambogo University. The aim of the meeting was to strengthen the impact and quality of the activities and results achieved so far and to coordinate and plan the ongoing collaborative work . 

During the workshop, the partners managed to discuss and agree upon the outlook and functionalities of the e-learning platform for the online course based on AHEAD learning modules, as well as to review and validate the Virtual Knowledge Gateway (VKG) mock-up platform meant for collaboration with external stakeholders. The organization of Stakeholder Roundtables at the PC universities was also planned and discussed.

Furthermore, African and European researchers engaged in joint development of preliminary drafts of:

  • Feasibility and Sustainability Assessment Reports for the Establishment of the University-led Hubs under the guidance of Dr. Charlotte Carey from BCU; and
  • Pilot Student Start-up Competitions in PC Universities under the guidance of Dr. Simona Zampino from UNIMOL.

On the third day, each PC University presented the current situation in their institution regarding the relevance of the project to current priorities and policies; outlining synergies with other projects and initiatives carried out at institutional, regional or national level; and sharing ideas on how to enhance the project’s relevance.

Third Capacity Building Workshop

The Third Capacity Building Workshop was planned to be carried out on 16-18 June 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya. However, the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic prevented us from holding a physical meeting. Instead, we organized a series of online meetings (video conference calls) to substitute a face-to-face capacity building workshop.

The workshop was scheduled to take place in four groups, each involving a team of African and European researchers. Four meetings were conducted on the 1st, 3rd, 7th and 8th of July, 2020. Each meeting was dedicated to the discussion of the plans for the establishment and launch of the Innovation Hubs, in particular to the development of the Pilot Designs and Action Plans for the Hubs, and organization of student start-up competitions. The cooperation among PC and EU researchers within the established groups continued after these meetings - up to the end of the project.