Spanning Boundaries Agents Testimonials: Erjon Curraj

A series of “Spanning Boundaries” Agents’ testimonials of Albanian professionals who, with the support of EU for Innovation, attended the 2nd cohort of SB Training Programme.

 

Erjon Curraj’s Profile

Erjon Curraj is an expert in digital transformation and innovation, and avails of a blended professional experience in academia, public and private sector. He has a PhD in management studies with a research project on the impact of digitalisation in the performance of SMEs in Albania.

Stemming from his passion about innovation and entrepreneurship, he founded in 2014 the start-up Tech360 Smart Solutions, which offers digital solutions to businesses, education institutions and individuals. Erjon is an enthusiast of inclusive digitalisation, and he provides support and mentoring to students and young people in start-ups. He is also a promotor of girls and women in STEM and is part of the Network of Albanian Women in STEM of SCiDEV. He is currently Jean Monnet Module Coordinator on digital translation and promotion of EU digital agenda 2030 in Albania.

 

What is your role as a Spanning Boundaries Agent in your institution?

I am the Founder and Managing Partner of Tech360 Smart Solutions and I seek to establish it as an intermediary between research and business for harnessing the potential of digitalisation for inclusive growth.

3 words that describe your job:
    • Digitalisation
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Sustainability
What was your motivation to join and what expectations did you have from the Spanning Boundaries Training?

I have worked for more than 15 years in the intersection between business and academia, and this was my motivation for Joining the Spanning Boundaries Programme. The aim of my personal project within the SB programme was to develop a platform, that facilitates links between business and research with a focus on digital transformation of both businesses and academia. My motivation was to learn from peers, experts and partners on how to develop a platform that offers: information, expertise, opportunities, as well as possibilities to meet and match and develop collaborative project, but also promote successful cases to inspire others.

What are some incentives/ success factors for a fruitful cooperation between academia and industry, in your opinion?

I have finalized research on the links between research and business in Albania as part of the Jean Monnet Module that is about to be published. Based on that data, my two cents on the matter would be:

    • It is paramount for the university to understand the value of collaboration and to commit to pursuing such goal by allocating resources, infrastructure and capacities;
    • It is necessary for the university to make provisions for allocation of resources – human, financial, infrastructure
    • It is necessary for university and businesses to come together to explore the practical, personal and symbolic reasons for collaboration
    • Effective brokerage facilitates the identification of potential partners, complemented by clear projects and access to support and funding.
Any recommendations you might be willing to share on how to bridge the gap between academia and industry/ businesses in Albania?

My call to action for bridging the gap is for cooperation to start small, explore new opportunities, build partnerships, strengthen trust.

Would you suggest that programmes such as “Spanning Boundaries” continue to be introduced to the Albanian actors; both in Academia and Industry?

I strongly recommend the programme to others. I had an opportunity to meet new partners, network and reinforce existing cooperation.

Any further comment on SB programme and/ or ‘EU for Innovation’?

‘EU for Innovation’ could provide further support to boost the Spanning Boundaries agent’s role. Network or Funding options.

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