Friday, 15 December 2017 | News today: 7

Kocov: UKIM will be 21st century University with entrepreneurial spirit

If you want to get funds from Europe or any other community, students must be actively involved in the process. This means that if we talk about business startup center, we must assist the students in their ideas about opening their own business. The University should encourage them to think how to start a business one day and help them in the process, says Prof. Atanas Kocov, PhD., candidate for future rector of Skopje University.

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The candidates for a new rector of the Skopje University are mostly of technical professions. Can we say that, following the entry of foreign investors, technical professions have returned to the list of professional choices of the young?

Kocov: You’re absolutely right, because the number of young people interested in studying technical sciences have been increasing in recent times. It is a great success both for the faculties and for the promotion of foreign investments in the country, but what I always point to the youth is that we can’t have social and economic development in the country without industry and production. That means we should have trained staff who know how to meet the challenges of new technologies in order to attract foreign investors but also to contribute to the overall development of the country. It is a fact that technical sciences are regaining popularity and it is especially good that cooperation has been established with the industry to open doors for scholarships for young professionals in order to make studies more attractive and students to be more confident that they will find work. So, the interest in studying technical sciences is growing.

The rectorial election is near. The focus of your program is development of entrepreneurial spirit, as well as  bringing the University into the group of Shanghai top 500 list.

Kocov: I presented in the program that we should establish a new 21st century university in entrepreneurial spirit, but I must note that does not mean turning the University into business. On the contrary. In the coming period certain internal strengthening of the University should happen, so we could promote it internationally, so we could raise the students to a much higher level, to be a partner of the professors who are employed at UKIM . So we could increase the number of international research projects and of course, all to be delivered as part of what it means the very units within UKIM to be those who will be entrepreneurs in terms of finding research projects, additional applied activities that the units need to do in order to be able to provide a little more funds for reinvesting in improving the conditions for themselves, the students and the professors.

You say the University should not be entrepreneurial, but still it is a big structure with over 3,000 employees and 60,000 students, so how would you manage this “machinery “?

Kocov: On the contrary, I think that the University should have an entrepreneurial spirit, precisely because of the number of employees and the large number of students. If you have a group of over 3,000 employees at UKIM and over 60,000 students, and if you strive for having the largest possible number of new young staff who will be engaged through research, this means that all should be well managed. In that direction, the management team of the University will have to work continuously in order to provide as many international funds as possible so that we could become part of certain networks, networks of research projects, because independently as a University we will not be able to penetrate the European research area. It takes good management system to be become part of all those great projects that exist in Europe and be able to raise to a level where we could apply ourselves and obtain many big projects that will bring more funds. What I have in my program is when such UKIM unit together with the entire University enters the whole struggle to come to international projects, in which case it is necessary to make decentralization or the units themselves to manage the projects and the existing funds, because the partner in Europe wants to see that those funds have been used for science, procurement of new equipment i.e. for reinvestment in science and strengthening the capacities of the unit, or the University.

Your vision for the future of Skopje University also includes the students as partners in the higher education process or inclusive University, as well as a career center at the University as part of an international network of career centers at universities in Europe and establishment of business accelerators.

Kocov: I must mention that today if you want to get funds from Europe or any other community, students must be actively involved in the process. This means that if we talk about business startup center, we must assist the students in their ideas about opening their own business. The University should encourage them to think how to start a business one day and help them in the process. That means if we have funds from the European Research Agency or other existing centers  and if the University itself and the units of the University are willing to help them, in that case we have achieved a shared win-win situation. Entrepreneurial spirit involves students and professors establishing a certain joint company, why not doing that, meanwhile knowing where intellectual property belongs to or what is the share in all of that. Such accelerators are inevitable to us and there are at least two, o we could raise to a level to create an open space for students and the staff of the university to get to fresh capital.