Executive Director’s Corner

Maria Laura Fornaci

Executive Director
Triple Helix Association
*email address protected*

Dear THA Members
2019 has been a very intense and productive year for our Association, and before presenting the 2019 achievements, I would like to thank all those who have worked and contributed to make this happened – the THA Board; the Chairs of the THA Committees; and THA services.
I would like to acknowledge the special contribution of the THA Meeting Scientific Liaisons for 2019: Marcelo do Amaral (also Chair of the THA Organizational Research and Meeting Scientific Committee); Christiane Gebhardt, who secured the success of the 2019 International Conference in Cape Town; Panayiotis Ketikidis and Adrian Solomon for the organization of the First European Triple Helix Congress (ETHAC) in Thessaloniki, Greece; and Emanuela Todeva for the organization in London, UK, of the International Workshop on Innovative place-based Triple Helix approaches for regional development through Smart Specialisation Strategies.
Great appreciation also to: our THA Magazine Hélice Editors, Liana Kobzeva, Sheila Forbes and Branca Terra, and editorial Board Members: Michele Coletti and Tatiana Pospelova; as well as Christiane Gebhardt and Yuzhuo Cai, Senior Editors of the Triple Helix Journal; Emanuela Todeva, Editor of the new TH Best Practice Series, for bringing into life this new Publication,  addressing the interest of our non-academic members; and Yuzhuo Cai and Rhiannon Pugh, Chairs of Spiral, for their continuous efforts along our publishing activities; Panayiotis Ketikidis, Chair of the Meeting and Award Committee, for the brilliant re-vamping and re-shaping of our Awards portfolio; Dimitri Corpakis, Co-Chair of our Webinar series, who offered a stimulating agenda for our 2019 web events; Adrian Solomon, Chair of the External Grant Committee, and all those who have competed for and won grants for their intellectual and operational efforts to connect Triple Helix research/knowledge and practice into actionable programs for R&I; last but not least, the THA Chapter leaders responsible of spreading the Triple Helix model and theory at local level; and especially those individuals and groups who are contributing to the growth of our community through their work.
Finally, a special thanks to our President, Henry Etzkowitz; Secretary General, Riccardo Viale; and the Executive Committee for their strategic guidance; and to the THA professional staff for their daily commitment and decisive support for the implementation of our agenda.


THA Achievements in 2019


Whilst our membership base has not grown significantly in numerical terms (122 members – 14% organizational; 56% individual regular, 30% individual student), we have registered a higher number of subscriptions from organizational members, and in general a higher engagement of all members in THA activities with a consequent higher retention of paid members.  For 2020 we expect to see a stronger involvement of our Chapters in membership development.

THA Meetings.

Beside our annual Triple Helix Conference, hosted by SA Innovation Summit, and organized in Cape Town on the theme “Triple Helix – a Catalyst for Change” in 2019, we organized two other European events, thanks to EU funding coming from the Jean Monnet HLX4EU project, the ETHAC, which convened more than 150 delegates to debate how Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and the Triple Helix can act as enablers of responsible and impactful innovation outcomes; and the Workshop “Innovative place-basedTriple Helix approaches for regional development through Smart Specialisation Strategies” in the UK, focused on debating how Smart Specialization could be improved using the TH approach.
We can say that overall in 2019 our THA meetings have mobilized more than 600 international delegates and gathered more than 300 abstract submissions, which are currently feeding two special issues of our Triple Helix Journal and other scientific Journals, Volume Two of our Best Practice series, and our THA Magazine Hélice.
The THC 2019 also served the purpose to collaboratively develop a manifesto for South Africa on the Blueprint of the Entrepreneurial University, based on research outcomes and contributions from authors who presented at THC2019.  The manifesto was presented at the Innovation Bridge/Science Forum hosted at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria, 4-6 December 2019.  The expected outcome of the presentation is the uptake from the South Africa Department of Science and Innovation and Department of Higher Education and Training into policy development.
The THA is proud to have supported, via its annual scientific conference, SA Innovation Summit, achieving such an important milestone which enhanced the bridging of international scientific research and practice in order to distill a set of policy recommendations for boosting the South African innovation ecosystem.
For THC2019 detailed statistics you can visit: www.triplehelixassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/THC2019-Feedback-Report-v1.1.pdf.
We are already working on our 2020 Meetings:

– The XVIII Triple Helix Conference 2020 will be hosted by Tampere University in Tampere, Finland, on 15-17 June 2020, on the theme “Future of innovation and innovation for future” (https://events.tuni.fi/thc2020/).  The call for proposals is open for submissions until 15 January 2020, and grants are available for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers wishing to participate in the Conference.
– The III Triple Helix Summit 2020 will be hosted by the University of Bologna with the patronage of Emilia Romagna Region, in Bologna, Italy, on 24-26 November 2020, on the theme “Designing globally connected regional innovation ecosystems: overcoming barriers and opening pathways”, where global leaders from academia, industry and policy will discuss how to build and grow regional innovative ecosystems to tackle world grand challenges.  The website of the event and call for proposals will be published in early January 2020.


In 2019 our awards, aiming at spotting excellence in TH research and practice, have been extended, differentiated, and offered systematically in conjunction with our main events.

For THC2019, four award categories were offered and winners selected as follows:

– TH Best Paper Award 2018

(for the most accessed/downloaded paper published in the Triple Helix Journal in 2018) to Artur Tavars Vilas Boas and Juliana Natsumi Ueci, San Paulo University (Brazil), for the paper ’Building builders: entrepreneurship education from an ecosystem perspective at MIT’.

– Early Career Researcher Best Paper Award 2019

to B G C Ahodode and H Ngoa Tabi, Université d’Abomey-Calavi (Benin), for the paper “Determinants of Sustainable Competitiveness in Africa: Analysis with the Open Quintuple Helix Model”.

– Best Poster Award 2019

to Felix Kwabena Donkor, Mearns Kevin, Enokenwa Ojong Baa, Henry Bikwibili Tantoh, Eromose Ebhuoma, Hadisu Abubakar, Sibusisiwe Mavuso, Philip Mbewe, Christopher Mabeza, and Arianne Leclerc for the poster “Harnessing the demographic dividend for enhanced food security and disaster risk reduction”.

– Catalyst for Change Award 2019

to Xoliswa Magawana, PhD, intern at the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation indicators

For the ETHAC, five award categories were offered and winners selected as follows:

– Best Academic Paper Award

to Eugen Popa, Vincent Blok and Renate Wesselink for the submission entitled “A Processual Model of Quadruple Helix Collaborations”.

– Best Industry Paper/Case Award

to Angelos Manglis, Anastasia Fourkiotou and Dimitra Papadopoulou for the submission entitled “The Promotion Of Underwater Cultural Heritage As A Sustainable Blue Growth Investment: Innovative Technologies And Bottom-Up Cooperation Initiatives In Mediterranean Area”.

– Best Policy Paper/Case Award

to Sorana Vatavu, Camille Bugeaux, Madalin Dogaru, Nicoleta-Claudia Moldovan and Oana-Ramona Lobont for the submission entitled “Entrepreneurship Promoted by the Public Sector: Government Policies and Economic Stability”.

– Best Responsible Innovation Case Award

to Daniela Pimponi, Andrea Porcari, Elisabetta Borasella, Pim Klaassen, Maria João Maia, Emad Yagmaei and Elvio Mantovani for the submission entitled “A Roadmap for the Rri Uptake in the Industrial Context: a Tool for Strategy Setting and Rri Impact Evaluation”.

– Best Student Paper Award

to Mandy Lalrindiki, Valerie Brett and Bill O’Gorman for the submission entitled “Developing an Inter-Regional Innovation System: a Longitudinal Approach”.


The Triple Helix Journal:

In its fifth year, publishing high-quality empirical and theoretical articles on the Triple Helix and other innovation issues, as individual submissions and as part of special issues or topical collections.  Several special issues have been initiated in 2019, including Triple Helix Futures (edited by Ekaterina Albats, Rabii Outamha and Henry Etzkowitz); the Entrepreneurial University (edited by Marcelo Amaral, Mammo Muchie and Henry Etzkowitz, and offered as a publication opportunity for THC2019 authors); and Global Trends in Responsible Research and Innovation (edited by Adrian Solomon, Panayiotis Ketikidis and Henry Etzkowitz and offered as a publication opportunity for ETHAC authors).
THJ operates a pre-review process to assist authors, before sending selected candidates for peer-review through the online submission system Editorial Manager.  The publishing model of the journal is Open Access with APCs, however, funding for APCs can be obtained from different sources, as for example funding programmes at Brill or an authors’ home institution.
In early September 2019, THA and IASP renewed their mutual commitment to cooperate in order to generate collaborative research work to be published in the Journal.  IASP members have been and will continue to be assisted in 2020 by THA researchers to sharpen their analysis and come up with compelling scientific publications based on their practical achievements.  THA members interested in working with IASP practitioners for paper co-authorship, can send an expression of interest to info(at)triplehelixassociation.org.
Overall. the Journal is performing well, although in 2019 the move from Springer to Brill/Sense Publishers took more time than expected, and was therefore subject to a decrease in the number of articles published.  The workflow being healthy, 2020 will most certainly witness a more than significant rise of the number of articles published.

The TH Best Practice Series:

In 2019 we inaugurated the first Volume “The Role of Government / Academia / Industry in Building Innovation-Based Cities and Nations”, the brand new Triple Helix Best Practice series (ISSN 2612-7717), an annual publication demonstrating evidence of successful implementation of university-industry-government programs that mobilise multi stakeholder coalitions, driving alliances, and cooperation agreements across the public and private sector.  The Editors were Professor Emanuela Todeva, Professor Panagiotis Ketikidis and Professor Josep Miquel Piqué Huerta.   For 2020 onwards we have envisaged the release of a new volume every year.

THA Chapters

Are growing in number and in 2019 we approved the set-up of two new Chapters respectively in Germany hosted by the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship at the Munich University of Applied Sciences (SCE), and in Peru, hosted by Univesidad Nacional Mayor De San Marcos.
The German THA Chapter mission statement is rooted on SCE’s own mission and aligned with THA’s overall aim: thought leader, enabler and pioneer at creating an entrepreneurial oriented and livable society, through university-industry-government collaborations and (multi) national peer-alliances.  This will be achieved via a series of actions aiming at the dissemination and membership growth in Germany, the enhancement of THA virtual collaboration capabilities, and research contribution.
The Peru Chapter mission is to promote the Triple Helix Model at a national level and act as a catalyst of Triple Helix Interactions in the twenty-four Peru regions via their regional public Universities network.
We are also discussing with NSTF (National Science and Technology Foundation) a future Chapter in South Africa as a follow up to the successful THC2019.  NSTF is an Independent non-profit stakeholder body and network, including private and public sectors, representing the unified voice for the science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation community.  NSTF has been promoting SET and innovation in South Africa since 1995.
Last but not least, we are in the process of rolling out a set of supporting services to be offered to Chapter leaders’ and local stakeholders in order to build their capacity for the operationalization of the Triple Helix Model and, through this, boosting the development of their local innovation ecosystem.
We wish good luck for a fruitful 2020 to the newly established Chapters and to the existing ones.


The Webinar Series

hosted two web events respectively related to Innovative place-based Triple Helix approaches for regional development through Smart SpecialisationandBoosting Innovative European Startups through the Triple Helix”, mobilizing sixty-seven existing and new members.  A qualified and high profile group of presenters have been involved in the delivery of the 2019 Webinars and this was appreciated by our Community and confirmed by the good number of registrations received.
In 2019 the THA has also successfully engaged in the European Funding framework, and is currently involved in several projects including:

– The Horizon 2020 project FIT4RRI, www.triplehelixassociation.org/european-funded-projects-fit4rri, with a supporting role in dissemination activities.

– The Jean Monnet HLX4EU project, www.triplehelixassociation.org/european-funded-projects-hlx4eu, directly managed by the THA, seeking to improve the delivery of three key EU policies in the real world through the concept, method, and approach of the Triple Helix.

– The Erasmus+ Project DIGI Grent, https://digigrent.eu/; the H2020 Territoria project http://territoriaproject.eu/partners/, as dissemination associated partner.

During 2019 we have established a new External Grant Committee, Chaired by Adrian Solomon, and composed of THA members (Emanuele Fiore, CNR, Italy; Maria Josè Herrero Villa, University Carlos III de Madrid, Spain; Klaus Sailer, SCE, Germany; Angela Pulvirenti, FAST, Italy; Dimitri Corpakis, Independent Advisor, Belgium; Panayiotis Ketikidis, SEERC, Greece; Manuelita Mancini, Fondazione Brodolini, Italy; Justin Alex-Berg, San Paulo University, Brazil; Carlo Giglio, University of Calabria, Italy), with the scope to strength THA capacity to spot funding opportunities and develop/manage new public funded proposals for and with its members.

More proposals are in the pipeline and we expect to be active in this framework in order to open up development opportunities for our members.
During 2019 we have increased our outreach via a more stable communication in our social media channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and a more frequent communication with our members via video-interviews.  If you are not following us on social media, visit the links below to join our groups!

Members Achievements 2019:

I am pleased to present some of the most interesting results achieved by our members in 2019:

– Congratulations and appreciation to Klaus Sailer and Audrey Sotlze (Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship), leaders of our German Chapter, for the development of the winning proposal “eTime” in response to the tender EASME/COSME/2018/020 European Training Programme in Entrepreneurship for Educators.  The project will be implemented in the period 2020-2022 by a consortium led by SCE and composing THA members including Tampere University of Applied Science (TAMK) and SEERC, with the aim to increase both the entrepreneurial mindset of teachers and educators as well as the penetration of entrepreneurship education in European universities, via the development of a comprehensive entrepreneurship programme for educators.

– Kudos goes to Adrian Solomon and Panayiotis Ketikids from SEERC for the acquisition of the H2020 project Territoria (Territorial Responsible Research and Innovation through the involvement of local R&I Actors), a project which places regions and local authorities as a factor to be considered in the overall concept of Responsible Research and Innovation.

– Congratulations to Emilio Ricci from Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile, for winning the First Prize “Cátedra de Emprendedores de Univ. Salamanca”, for the UCN Social Innovation Platform), offered by the Chair of Entrepreneurs of the University of Salamanca (CEUSAL) and sponsored by Banco Santander.

– Special thanks to Riccardo Fini, University of Bologna, and Yuzhuo Cai, University of Tampere, for bringing to their institutions our 2020 Triple Helix Conference and Summit.  We cannot wait to attend both events.

– Congratulations to Emanuele Fiore, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Delegate of the President of the CNR of Italy, for contributing to the CNR and Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, “Agreement establishing a Joint International Research Unit (JIRU)” lasting seven years.  The Joint International Research Unit (JIRU) between the CNR and the Laval University (ULAVAL) was founded in 2016 with ambitious expectations and development relating to the cutting edge research projects in the emerging field of biomolecular studies of microbiome knowledge transfer.  In short, the Joint International Research Unit will be a secure concrete platform for the application of the Triple Helix model with the difference being the players of the two countries working in a wide synergy to create a precompetitive product development useful for improving the quality of life dynamics across borders.  The Université Laval financed the activation of the Joint laboratory with an initial contribution of ten million dollars up to a maximum of about thirty-five million dollars after seven years.

– A special acknowledgment to Dimitri Corpakis for his crucial support and intellectual contribution in all our activities, including Webinars, Meetings and public funded proposals.

– A mention to Rabii Outamha, our most active student member, for his commitment in supporting THA outreach activities, and his effort in bringing to life a Special Interest Group for PhD and young researchers which aims to help them fully integrate into the Triple Helix community by offering assistance and mentoring.

This is clearly a non-exhaustive list of our members’ achievements, and in 2020 we expect to publish regular information and news from our community in the monthly Newsletter, in our social media channels, and in the THA Magazine Hélice.  If you wish to be mentioned in our media, please contact mlaura.fornaci(at)triplehelixassociation.org, use our TH Post at www.triplehelixassociation.org/th-post-add, or include #triplehelix, on your social media posts.
We strongly believe in a bottom up approach, since the Triple Helix Association was born to be a platform to support and exploit members’ research, initiatives and projects.  So we encourage members to be proactive and suggest new activities and projects which can be operationalized in 2020 inside the THA in cooperation with our international community.  We look forward to receiving your proposals for new initiatives.  Please send your ideas to us via mlaura.fornaci(at)triplehelixassociation.org.

In 2020 we expect to be more active at a local level by staying close to our Chapters via the rolling out of local supporting service; to strength the THA Governance and our strategic vision by setting up an Advisory Board composed by a selected number of international high-standing academics and professionals; to increase THA and members’ participation in public funded projects; and to increase the quality and international participation at our annual events via collaboration with sister networks.
This will be the main targets to be achieved in 2020 by the newly elected THA Board which will take up office from the 1 January 2020.  Congratulations to the candidates just elected.
Our best wishes to the new THA Board and all our Membership for a productive New Year! 

Mrs Maria Laura Fornaci
THA Executive Director


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Published by the Triple Helix Association  –  ISSN 2281-4515


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