Full partners

Queen’s University Belfast (Lead partner)

United Kingdom

Aarhus University


Helix Research and Enterprise (Ireland)


Lancaster University

United Kingdom

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark


Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland


University of Crete


University of Food Technologies – Plovdiv


University Of Manchester

United Kingdom

University of the West of Scotland

United Kingdom

Associated partners

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Tel-Hai College


Max. funding Phase 1
€ 400,000
Max. funding Phase 2
€ 800,000
Supported by
EIT Food
Coordinated by
EIT RawMaterials

Project description

EntreUnity is a network of aspiring entrepreneurial universities that share a passion and a responsibility to tackle global food security, ageing populations and climate change by educating and training the next generation of agri-food, health and green-tech students in entrepreneurship and leadership. The network also contributes to the transfer of knowledge, know-how and innovation processes to companies and public actors.

During the last five years, all of EntreUnity’s higher education institutions (HEIs) extended their initial education and teaching missions towards the triple helix and knowledge triangle paradigms, substantially increasing knowledge, technology transfer and innovation. In line with this transition, the term ‘entrepreneurial university’ became increasingly popular. However, there is a lack of understanding of the term, its mission and how the role is reflected in regional innovation ecosystems.

To address this, EntreUnity, led by the Queen’s University of Belfast and ranked 1st in the UK as the most entrepreneurial university in 2019 and 2020 (Octopus Ventures Impact Rankings), integrates the efforts of 8 academic organisations and a specialist innovation management SME. The project sees the HEI as an institutional entrepreneur with a mandate to reflect on societal challenges that provides scalable platforms for affecting transformative change, moving HEI’s away from the narrow research commercialisation perspective and opening up opportunities for local contextualised roles in the regional innovation ecosystem.

The project’s objectives are to:

  • build a network of world class entrepreneurial higher education innovation leaders, that support outstanding students and staff;
  • engage in cutting-edge innovation programmes across their campuses and regions;
  • develop world class solutions to global societal challenges that foster sustainable growth, create high-quality jobs and improve the quality of life of citizens;
  • transform young people and create professionals able to tackle societal challenges and needs.

The EntreUnity innovation vision action plan, tailor-made to each partner’s requirements, sets out a road map to empower HEI’s to implement institutional change and become regional hubs of innovation through value creation initiatives. During the pilot phase, EntreUnity will support:

  • education/training for 370 students;
  • the formation of 40 new European knowledge-based start-ups;
  • the creation of 250 high-quality jobs in knowledge-intensive industries;
  • the development of strategic plans for HEI senior management to link education with industry, fostering the entrepreneurial character of the university;
  • contributions to the design of regional and national innovation strategies for smart specialisation.

The EntreUnity results and outcomes will be successfully translated into real world impact aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to validate its success as an impactful intervention within HEIs.

Project coordinator

Margot Bucaille, Digital Transformation Lead, Queen’s University Belfast (contact)

Project timeline

EIT HEI Timeline March 2021