DAAD RAMSES Overview

InnoSPICE Assessment in ESAK

In the latest visit at the Esak institution in Kef, the three assessor trainees of the innoSPICE methodology shared their views about the Ramses project and the innoSPICE approach. Ramses is a  DAAD project started at the beginning of 2016. The objective is the improvement of management capabilities of the participating universities in research and higher education.  It is a collaboration between IRESA and the University of Bremen.

Prof. Thouraya Souissi, when asked about the project, says that technology transfer is one of the strategic plans of IRESA. “Actually, this is one of IRESA’s mission” says Pr. Souissi. “The innoSPICE Tool fits very well on it. InnoSPICE is a tool that can be used for the improvement of all processes of an institution involved in innovation and technology. This could be very helpful to our organization ‘s improvement of technology transfer.”

A big challenge that a lot of research institutions are facing is the transfer of their results to end users, in this case farmers. Interesting research outcomes and publications are not being shared effectively. There is an understanding of this situation in IRESA, and the Ministry is trying to find a solution for these issues. “We are working to improve ourselves” Souissi says. “We are looking for new models of transfer and innovation that could help us to transfer a part of our interesting results.” Souissi believes that the use of the innoSPICE Tool, will assist with the evaluation of all processes that need to be improved. As a consequence, this could lead to the successful transfer of technology.

Prof. Souissi, said her interest in the innoSPICE tool was because she found it interesting to have a tool that can identify weak points in the organization and help improve their work. Other interesting aspects for Souissi are the opportunities that this tool offers: Staff of different categories and interests can come together and exchange ideas about the development of their institution.

“For me, it is a positive aspect of the tool, that people come together and discuss solutions and ideas that could help to improve the development and functionality of the institutions.”

Every innoSpice assessment gives her a positive impression because she already can see that the participants are getting more aware of the need to improve a lot of things.

Prof. Souissi describes it as a quick win. “I can feel that something is changing on the way that we see the things, and this is positive,” she says. In the future, Souissi would like to see the institutions, supervised by IRESA, to implement this tool in their daily work, “not just because it is required of them, but also because they see its benefit. I know that this is going to take a lot of time and work, but I am also very optimistic” she mentions.

Pr. Thouraya Souissi

Dr. Nouiri is also one the assessor trainees. He expects to train staff who, within a short period of time, could perform innoSpice assessments. “It will be very efficient if we make this a tradition, yearly assessment, and evaluation.” Nouiri believes that the innoSPICE approach can be very helpful in the Tunisian research centers of Higher Education and Agriculture. “It is exactly what we need,” he says.

Dr. Benrebah, also an assessor trainee, believes that the improvement of the research results could have a positive effect on the local community and could also increase employment in Tunisia. “The collaboration between research and industry actors can bring new results in the socioeconomic environment” he argues. Benrebah hopes that “after the completion of this project the participants will be able to apply the innoSPICE methodology on their research centers to improve the transfer of their technology and their innovative management activities.”

The innoSPICE Assessors in ESAK

DAAD RAMSES

In October 2017, Dr. Michael Boronowsky and David Wewetzer, members of the Ramses project from the University of Bremen, visited Tunisia for the further development of the innoSPICE Assessment Plan. Specifically, they visited the headquarter of IRESA, and discussed the training plan by the executive assessors and the future direction of innoSPICE within IRESA. IRESA is the Tunisian project partner of the RAMSES Project and the national center for research and education in agriculture.

The second visit of the Ramses project in Kef took place in 21 of November 2017 when, David Wewetzer together with the three trained assessors of the innoSPICE tool, Prof. Thouraya Souissi, Dr. Jamel Ben Rabeh and Dr. Issam Nouiri, visited the Esak Institute in Kef. After a requirement meeting with the Director of the Institute and the members of the group, the team decided the process that they will be focused on the next days.

David Wewetzer and Prof. Thouraya Souissi (Director of Pedagogical Affairs of IRESA) visited the Director of Esak, Prof. Mokhtar Mahouachi

On November 22, a second innoSPICE assessment was conducted with the participants. Because of the large number of participants with different interests, the group was separated in two smaller ones: one group whose focus is on research science and another whose focus is administration. The assessment was successfully completed for both groups on 24 November. The next meetings are planned in March 2018.

Above: The subgroup focused on administration activities during the innoSPICE assessment

Below: The subgroup focused on research activities.

First innoSPICE Assessment at IRESA for the DAAD Ramses Project

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The RAMSES project Team from University of Bremen, David Wewetzer and, Dr. Michael Boronowsky, performed an innoSPICE Assessment on management level at the Tunisian research institute IRESA, from 21.3-23.3.2016. It was the first assessment of a planned series of innoSPICE assessments within the networks of the connected Research Institutes and Higher Education Institutions. IRESA is comprising 23 Research Centers and HEIs and is directly connected to the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture. IMG_2929The DAAD RAMSES project has the goal to improve the management capacities in the area knowledge- and technology transfer. This assessment was focusing on the validation and reflection on the new structures, that are currently established within IRESA. The IRESA team was headed by the President of IRESA, Prof. Mohamed Aziz Darghouth.

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The Team from Bremen University was very impressed how fast the whole IRESA Team was getting into the innoSPICE approach. The overall atmosphere oft he assessment was very open and targeted. The three days were very dense and productive, and a lot of challenging details, related to improvement of organizational processes had been discussed.It was summarized by the participants that the assessment was
a valuable and helpful experience and that there is an interest to learn how to integrate this approach into the management practices of IRESA.

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The innovation Capability Center team is very happy about this cooperation and we are looking forward to continue the project work soon.

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RAMSES Project start at IRESA

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Prof. Mohamed Aziz Darghouth, Dr. Ali Rhouma, Prof. Thouraya Souissi (from left to right)

The DAAD RAMSES project is based on a partnership between Germany, Egypt and
Tunisia. In the starting phase of the project the activities were concentrated on Cairo University. According to the operative planning the project activities were starting in Tunisia this week with the institution of Agricultural Research and Higher Education  IRESA. logo-iresaIRESA is constituted of 12 research institutions and centers and 11 institutions of Higher Education in Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, with the following major research Areas:

 

  •  Food security
  •  Sustainable management of natural resources (water, soil)
  •  Development of crops of high added value for exportation
  •  Quality of agricultural products (vegetables and animals)

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In a very productive meeting  Mrs. Tanja Woronowicz and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center of the University of Bremen, discussed with the IRESA management

  • Prof. Mohamed Aziz Darghouth: President of IRESA
  • Prof. Thouraya Souissi: Director of Pedagogical affairs
  • Dr. Ali Rhouma: Director of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of research programs (Directorate of research)
  • Mabrouk Helali: General Secretary
  • Issam Rebai: Engineer Responsible of the quality in ag. higher education at the directorate of the pedagogical affairs
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Mrs. Tanja Woronowicz presents the innoSPICE approach, that is applied in the framework of the RAMSES project.

about the current strategic orientation and about the organizational challenges of IRESA.The objectives of the RAMSES project are in good correspondence with the management objectives. There is a strong interest of RAMSES to increase the employability of the graduating students due to a better alignment with the requirements of the job market. IRESA management team also is interested to improve the internal structure and processes and to develop a stronger position in the valorization of the research results. The ISO/IEC 15504 standard based model innoSPICE was introduced and understood as a valuable instrument to support and improve management processes at IRESA. The Innovation Capability Center was invited to present the innoSPICE concept in upcoming conferences. It was agreed to start with the innoSPICE guided self assessment in the begin of the next year.

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RAMSES visited FETRIC

IMG_1813The RAMSES project team from the Innovation Capability Center at University Bremen, Mrs. Tanja Woronowicz and Dr. Michael Boronowsky, attended the steering group meeting of the FETRIC project on 12. October 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia. The European FP7 Project FETRIC aims to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the EU and Tunisia, by enhancing synergies between actors, projects, and programmes in Science and Technology from EU and Tunisia. The project is coordinated be the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR) and beyond others the DLR (International Bureau of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) is partner of this BILAT EU-TUNISIA project.

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During the Meeting DLR presented the project task “Plan for improving the innovation management capacity of Research Centres”. The overall objectives of this task is to address the problem of the lack of linkages between the research community and the enterprises, and also the lack of skills ensuring interfaces and methods to create trust IMG_1814between the two worlds. Against this background the MHESR initiated in collaboration with the DLR a programme for the “Improvement of the innovation management capacity of Research Centres” (IMC-RC Programme). The programme IMC-RC aims to strengthen the innovation management capacity of the Tunisian research centres by introducing major changes in their way of governance, mainly in their administrative management and innovation strategy, and management of project and research activities.

IMG_1819A competitive call for proposals was launched by the MHESR. Research centres/laboratories were asked to specify their goals and gaps, identify own strengths and propose its approach for reforms at the level of innovation management capacity. In three pilot projects a adapted plan for improving innovation capacities willbe developed for each research centre/laboratory beneficiary of the IMC-RC programme.

It is planned to apply a similar methodological approach like in the RAMSES project (Coordinated by University of Bremen), based on an Innovation Capability Assessment according he ISO/IEC 15504 standard based model innoSPICE. This mission will be conducted by the Innovation Capability Team from Bremen University with the support of Tunisian experts, DLR and MHESR.

Through this action, the MHESR considers

  • positioning research laboratories in relation to the targeted objectives and international good practices in terms of management of knowledge- and technology transfer processes, and
  • establishing a “Plan for improving the innovation management capacity”.

This link between the FP7 FETRIC project and the DAAD RAMSES project is a valuable base to increase the impact of the RAMSES project in Tunisia and to increase  the application  base of the innoSPICE standard based model for innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer.

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The second RAMSES training workshop took place

IMG_1525The second RAMSES training workshop took place in Cairo from 6.-12.6.2015 and was performed by Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center, University Bremen. The first goal for this training session was to give an introduction to the collaboration tools that were selected for the RAMSES project. A shared document space in the cloud and several shared Google-sheets are used to synchronize the trainings and the “homework”.

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Dr. Michael Boronowsky introduces innoSPICE at Cairo University

One of these sheets has a representation of the innoSPICE model and the trainees will develop “translation” and explanations of the different processes and practices in the terminology and specific cultures of their faculties during the project. The innoSPICE training started with a set of pictures showing different collection of gears. Dr. Boronowsky explained the analogies of these assemblies with different types of organization. Another set of pictures showing plugs and devices was used to illustrate the relation of individual skills and the capability of an organization.

The innoSPICE training was focussing to improve the self study capabilities of the trainees. General difficulties for the trainees are to deal with the very abstract process descriptions and to relate them to real world process implementations. Dr. Boronowsky explained the motivation and the need of the abstraction in the standard based innoSPICE model, followed by a very active discussion of the group. To understand the meaning of a process it is important to catch the intention why such a function might be important inside an organization. The descriptions of the process purpose or the individual base practices of a IMG_1474process are similar to the text of a law. A law often should allow to regulate certain behaviour in an abstract fashion. If it is too concrete, it will only be valid for the concrete case described in the law. So a law will generally be formulated to be valid for a certain class of cases, even for future ones. To understand a law it needs an interpretation. And to have a good interpretation for a law it is helpful to know the intention of the law, to realize why this specific regulation became relevant for society. Similar things can be said about the process descriptions in the innoSPICE model. And like a law – the intention is not written as part of the law, maybe it is documented or research work for historians. As innoSPICE is based on standard procedures in innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer it is much easier to derive the intention of the process.

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Part of the RAMSES team at Cairo University

The important learning goal for this training workshop is to motivate the trainees to think about the intention of the process and to use the available process descriptions to develop the requirements to fulfill this intention. This way the group work became very complex with several longer debates. The current training will help to increase the efficiency of these discussions in the future.

IMG_1476A second help for a better analysis of the individual processes was given during the training. Several processes are based on a similar pattern in the order of the base practices – they follow a Plan-Do-Check-and Act cycle. E.g. the innoSPICE Process DEV 5 (Prototype Development) – Base Practice BP1-BP4 are concentrated on the planning of the prototype, BP6-BP6 are related to the design and implementation of a prototype (so the “doing”) and BP7-BP8 are about test and evaluation (Check) and BP9-BP10 are preparing at least the improvement of the prototype (so a not fully implemented “Act”). The awareness of such a pattern is an important support in understanding the process. In addition a second pattern was presented, that can be found e.g. in TTD1 (Technology Transfer Concept). In this process the base practices are requiring the collection of individual information (BP1-BP7) and the last practice BP8 is the aggregation of the information that is collected before in a report (here BP8 – the technology transfer concept).

Beside this general aspects during the workshop DEV1 (Knowledge Creation Project Proposal Preparation). In this process there was a discussion e.g. to whom a proposal is submitted and other aspects like “according to programs objective” was clarified. DEV5 Prototype development was broadly discussed and the different types of prototypes were introduced (e.g. scientific prototype vs. industrial prototype). It was summarized, that a prototype is also a tool for communication with potential stakeholders – it is different to the prototype that was e.g. developed during the research. The prototype on DEV5 has the goal to transform the results into the context of an application, illustrating a function that is enabled by the research result.  As the Technology TransfIMG_1477er Concept (TTD1)  is very fundamental in the transfer chain and the trainees had several open questions, this process became the base for further discussions. Michael used this process and draw the relation to the prototype development process, to illustrated that these processes are in correspondence. It shows that there are interfaces between knowledge developer (the scientist) and the transfer drivers (e.g. technology transfer officers) – as prototype development can be supported by e.g. technology transfer office supporting the definition of features , definition of target groups etc. Same applies to knowledge creation processes DEV2,3,4.

The training workshop also had sessions with group work. The trainees were asked to present their descriptions of the TTD1 (Technology Transfer Concept) process. The groups were structured according to the different faculties and the individual presentation of the results made clear, that parts of the group were still oriented too strong in the wording of the process but the very activeIMG_1513 and intense discussion slowly generated the understanding  that the intention of the process is the better guide to learn the details of the processes.  The fourth day of the workshop started with a detailed discussion of the Work Environment process. The trainees developed a good understanding of this process quickly. Beside this several genreal aspects were discussed in this context, like:

  • Every process needs an responsible process owner. That does not mean that this person has to implement all practices. He or she has the responsibility to manage the process and ensure proper operation.
  • Several innoSPICE processes distinguish between maintenance of the plan and maintenance e.g. of the working environment  (so the implementation of the plan). It is important not to mix it up, as people maybe are aware to maintain the thing they directly connected with (like the work environment) but are not clear about update of the general plan.
  • To perform an assessment of an process you have not to be an full expert in the area being assest.
  • The processes in the innoSPICE model are a decomposition of activities within an organization related to innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer. According to the specific distribution of work and responsibilities within an organization, several innoSPICE processes can be (partially) executed  by a single person in the organization.

IMG_1527After this lightweight introduction for starting the day the trainees were facing the toughest challenge. The plan for this day was focused on the introduction to the universe of the Technology Transfer Driver processes (TTD1-TTD13). Even if the level of detail was very reduced it was hard stuff. The trainer Michael decided to give this introduction to explain how the individual processes are related to the innovation funnel. The individual processes have different functions at different phases of the innovation funnel. To understand the processes it is important to understand the innovation funnel and when a process is generally applied. However, the lecture was recorded, and Michael was referring several times that the trainees can look at the details again in the video. But he also promised to write down the details later on and make it available. The trainer had recommend the group to look for and study literature in the area of:

  • Innovation Managment (eg. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-EHEP003053.html)
  • Market and Competitive Analysis
  • Go to Market estimation
  • Value proposition statement
  • Business plan and business case development

On the last day of the Workshop it is planned to discuss another 2-3 processes of the process reference model. Even if there is still a long way to go, the huge interest of the trainees in the particular topics and the active discussion of all participants is a positive motivation for the trainer but also for the trainees.

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Meeting at the presidents office. Prof. Nasser (middle), Prof. Ewiss (right) and Dr. Boronowsky (left)

The very intense workshop ended with a visit at the president office of Cairo University. Prof. Mohamed Ewiss and Dr. Michael Boronowsky informed the President Prof. Dr. Gaber Gad Nassar and the General Secretary of Cairo University, Yousry Ibrahim, about the progress of the RAMSES project. It was reported, that the trainees are very motivated and that they are very expertised to relate the processes in the innoSPICE model to the operation in the different faculties. According to the current state of discussion the innoSPICE approach is very suitable to be applied in the structures of Cairo University. The RAMSES project runs under direct responsibility of Prof. Nassar and he was satisfied about the state of implementation. It was agreed to communicate the RAMSES project also on a higher political level, as this project has the potential to generate an impact to the structure of the science system in Egypt. 

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First RAMSES workshop at Cairo University

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A part of the RAMSES team at Cairo University and the trainers Tanja and Michael from University of Bremen

On 23.3.2015-2.4.2015 the first RAMSES project workshop started at Cairo University CU). Tanja Woronowicz and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center of TZI at University Bremen started the innoSPICE training. Cairo University nominated participants from three different departments, Science, Nursing and Dentistry under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ewiss. The group of trainees was about 13 people from management and quality assurance from CU. To address the strong interest of CU in setting up an innoSPICE Hub and training center the RAMSES project team decided to increase the specific training on innoSPICE and to train much more innoSPICE experts in the framework of the RAMSES project than initially planned. Goal is to educate the appropriate resources at CU to perform continuous improvement regarding innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer processes of university-, faculty- and department management. A second goal is to prepare the establishment of an innoSPICE hub to offer services within Egypt and the Arab world and training related to quality assurance in these fields.

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The training started with a general introduction to the complex role of a university in a regional (or national) innovation system and the importance of triple helix approaches at the first day. This introduction also provided the base to the process oriented quality assurance standard ISO/IEC 15504 SPICE and motivated the standard based model innoSPICE for its application in universities. Due to the interest in this topic there were very active discussions with the participants and first links were taken to the current situation at CU.

IMG_1017The second day started with a detailed introduction to the RAMSES project presenting project goals and the first year planning. The rest of the training days were dedicated to the innoSPICE methodology. The first part was oriented towards the structure of the process reference model and the principles of a capability assessment. The second part provided a rough overview of the different processes in the innoSPICE model. After this general introduction to innoSPICE the trainer team started to present the processes in detail. All presentations were accompanied by very active discussions regarding the current situation at CU and way to improve these processes. This was helpful for the group to increase their confidence in these topics and surely was a motivation to learn more about these new approaches in quality management. The trainer team was continuously taking care to keep the progress in the training effective. They were refocusing the discussions several times, as discussions regarding concrete improvement actions are planned later in the project.IMG_1016 (1) So, during these workshop days the innoSPICE processes Basic Science Knowledge Creation, Technology Transfer Concept and Tendering were presented and discussed. Even if this workshop was the first contact of the trainees with the innoSPICE process reference model it became quite obvious, that the RAMSES project is on a good track.

As the workshop was divided by a weekend there was a great opportunity to have some visits in the fantastic historic parts of Egyptian culture. With great support of CU we had a very interesting and impressive weekend. And most important a very motivating start of the RAMSES project!

RAMSES Project is about to start

Dr. Michael Boronowsky was invited from Humbold Stiftung and DAAD to Suez Canal University to present the new DAAD projects RAMSES and SATIS projects coordinated by University Bremen in the opening session of the 6th international conference of ESES (Egyptian Society for Environmental Sciences) 2015 on “Genetics, Biotechnology and Sustainable Development in Safe Environment” (2.-4.2.2015). The topic of the presentation was “Innovation capability and ISO/IEC15504 innoSPICE – an European Perspective – Universities as Actors in the Regional Innovation System (you can download presentation here ).

Before Dr. Boronowsky started his trip to Ismailia he visited Cairo University on 31.1-1.2.2015 to prepare the official project start of the RAMSES project. There he met with Prof. Mohamed Ewiss (Counsellor of Cairo University) and Prof. Gamal Esmat (Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research). To ensure proper project implementation an agreement was signed where Cairo University committed own resources to participate in the RAMSES project.

Pprof. Esmat, Prof Ewiss and Dr. Boronowsky after signing the agreement on RAMSES participation in th erowing club of Cairo University at the river Nile.

Prof. Esmat, Prof Ewiss and Dr. Boronowsky after signing the agreement on RAMSES participation in the rowing club of Cairo University at the river Nile.