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With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union, a project team consisting of a Higher Education Foundation, a University, four companies specialized in consultancy, training and research and an European Network of Education, Innovation and Development of New Technologies, led by the Fundación General Universidad de Granada Empresa, is developing the project i-Skills – Fostering Innovation Skills as Key Competences for improving Employability of PhDs in SMEs, from January 2014 to June 2016.


Countries have long recognized that the education and skills of the labour force are the underpinnings of innovation. Generally, innovation skills can be defined as the set of abilities, proficiencies, competences or attributes that contribute to the implementation, transference and management of new products, processes, marketing methods, or organizational methods in the workplace (OECD, 2011).

SMEs play a key-role in most economies, in that they constitute the largest business block and provide the bulk of employment. The recruitment of PhD students and doctoral holders by SMEs is a key mechanism of knowledge and innovation transfer from academia to society that needs to be fostered. The current economic crisis in most European countries (that is especially affecting to the public sector finances) is reducing the capacity of absorption of PhDs and researchers by Universities and the academic context in general. SMEs can contribute to prevent that these high qualified human resources are wasted at the same time that improve their competiveness in the global economy.


The main objective is i-Skills is to contribute to the development of innovation skills of PhD students and doctoral holders by developing an e-assessment methodology (immersive game) that can be implemented at formal, no formal and informal learning contexts in order to:

Promote the employability opportunities of these individuals in SMEs and, finally, to contribute to the effective implementation, transference and management of innovation processes in these organizations.

Main Activities

DDiagnostic analysis: during the first phase of the project partners will work in the definition of a framework with the most relevant i-Skills for innovation and validate it with a group of SMEs in each country.

DDesign and Development of the e-assessment (immersive game) Methodology to foster i-Skills: the beta version of the software (i-Skills delivery game – test release) will be produced to be tested with target groups in the experimentation and validation phase.

TTraining toolkit for i-Skills facilitators: during this phase, partners will develop the toolkit for i-Skills facilitators (beta version) in Universities and business contexts with guidelines and link to resources, cases studies, didactical methodologies and glossary/guide to i-Skills framework.

EExperimentation and validation of the e-assessment methodology: partners will carry out the experimentation of the immersive game for i-Skills development between a group of PhD students and doctoral holders recruited in the partners´ Universities and partners´ business.

C Communication, dissemination and valorisation: to maximize the impact of the project activities and outcomes to the target groups and to promote their sustainability during and after the project, partners foresee the creation of a European community of practitioners for i-Skills development using innovative ICT based methodologies, the organization of 5 national workshops and a final teleconference at European level inviting to relevant actors in the ICT and doctoral education fields.

QQuality and Evaluation Management: the project introduces a system of monitoring and evaluation of all the phases of the project, including processes and results.

This Project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.