Working on tomorrow's economy in CoE Economic Transformation

8 Feb 2022 12:32 | Centre for Economic Transformation

With effect from 1 January 2022, the AUAS Centre for Economic Transformation has become a Centre of Expertise (CoE). ‘‘Transformation’ means accelerating in large and bold steps rather than moving forward in small increments.’

The CoE for Economic Transformation has a clear mission: to transform business models and economic education in order to achieve a fair and sustainable economy. Many companies and organisations would like to switch to a more sustainable and responsible business model at a faster pace. As a result, they need knowledge about new, regenerative economic models and a different way of doing business.

Together with companies and other partners, the CoE will seek out practical and workable forms of economic transformation and wishes to be a platform for progressive thinkers and doers in this field. The CoE also translates this approach into appealing education with a view to training our students as future-proof professionals with 21st-century skills and knowledge of sustainable economic principles.

For example, two transformation-related minors are being set up: ‘HRM minor in the donut’ and the ‘Change-maker minor’. There is already a part-time ‘Sustainability’ minor with a specific focus on corporate social responsibility, and the ‘Entrepreneurship for society’ minor is now being offered for the second time. In addition, Finance & Accounting is giving specialisation lectures on inequality in order to teach students how to recognise inequality and work on solutions such as making sensible policy, social entrepreneurship and giving the right advice in the event of financial problems. Finally, an enthusiastic team of colleagues from various FBE programmes are developing a two-year learning pathway under the working title of Free Economic Direction.

Programme director Willem van Winden of the CoE for Economic Transformation explains: ‘Global trends such as artificial intelligence, new economic thinking, sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the climate/energy issue are developing at a rapid pace and are making the need to respond to these issues increasingly urgent. ‘Transformation’ means accelerating in large and bold steps rather than moving forward in small increments. Plenty of companies are ready for this and can serve as pioneers and as an example for others. The CoE will help these companies get started on their learning journey.’

The CoE for Economic Transformation grew out of the Centre for Economic Transformation, which last year made all the necessary preparations for the transition to a CoE according to the criteria in the VH (Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) framework for CoEs. Professor of practice Kate Raworth has played an important role in formulating the vision and mission of the CoE. She serves as a critical friend for the CoE and is an inspiration for many.

AUAS currently works in an interdisciplinary manner with the professional field and society in a quadruple helix on complex social issues, based on seven Centres of Expertise. These CoEs are based on various metropolitan issues: Urban Education, Urban Technology, Urban Vitality, Urban Governance and Social Innovation, Creative Innovation, Applied Artificial Intelligence and Economic Transformation. These themes are also in line with national and European agendas.

Centres of Expertise are sustainable partnerships in which universities of applied sciences, companies, government bodies and other public and social organisations jointly research, innovate, experiment and invest for the benefit of education and professional practice and to accelerate desired economic and social transitions. There are now almost 60 Centres of Expertise across the Netherlands.