Innovation Factory2023-03-27 23:41
IF – INNOVATION FACTORY
Founded in 2019, Innovation Factory is an interdisciplinary unit within Polis University that seeks to support researchers, students, young creators, entrepreneurs and businesses to innovate. At the intersection of design, technology and entrepreneurship, IF operates conceptually generating technical expertise and knowledge in and for the ecosystem, and as a physical space offering opportunities for digital prototyping and fabrication through its latest 3D printing and scanning technologies. Makerspace is the first FabLab of its kind in Albania. It works at the micro (small objects and housing) and macro (public spaces, the city and the territory as a whole) scale. The Makerspace was designed and built in collaboration with the EU and their “Innovation Project” which has enabled investment in laboratory environments and a range of equipment that allow students, researchers, start-ups and young makers to design, experiment and fabricate their own models and prototypes, bringing together industry and academia through a mix of teaching, learning and doing (triple helix).
IF, Innovation Factory, is a “Multi-Disciplinary Unit” of U-POLIS specialized in innovation, which engages third-party research units of each Faculty. Specifically, this unit includes:
- MakerSpace Architecture, Design and Engineering Research Centernear FAD Faculty
- Observatory Sustainability Research Centernear the FPMMU Faculty
- BiblioPress Resource and Information Centernear the FKZH Faculty
MakerSpace – is a “FabLab 3D” near the IF Innovation Factory, supported by U-Polis, EU4Innovation, GIZ and SIDA.
- MakerSpace works closely with the “Multi-University Incubator” of the creative enterprise TiranaInc. specialized for young people (students and alumni) founded by Polis University and 4 other universities:Metropolitan, UT, UPT, Epoka and supported by EU4Innovation and Preneurz.Amsterdam.
- This research unit also includes “MAD Gallery – Gezim Qendro” (Multimedia, Art, Design). This gallery publishes an annual calendar of events and the magazine “MAD Magazine“.
The Observatory – or OMB (Observatory of the Mediterranean Basin) is:
- “Center of Excellence for Resilient Settlements” of UNECE(United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) focused on issues of housing, planning and sustainable development.
- Representative of the Western Balkans region in the “Initiative of Schools of Architecture and Urban Planning of the Mediterranean” within the UfM(Union for the Mediterranean).
- This research unit also includes “LMUP– Environmental Laboratory” certified for analysis and services by the Albanian authority, as well as publishing the magazine “Habitat Magazine“.
BiblioPress – or QBI (Resource and Information Center) is a specialized unit for:
- Biblio-Polis(Library of Polis University) which is organized in the “hard/physical” version with over 10 thousand titles in the fields of specialization in Polis, and “soft/online” (EBSCO and JSTOR).
- Polis-Press(Publishing House of Polis University), which is organized into several components: scientific journals, other journals, textbooks, monographs, translations, etc.
The laboratory meanwhile seeks to build expertise by creating reliable research and entrepreneurial skills in the fields of design, architecture, urban planning and technology, by attracting talent in strategic areas to activate innovation transfer processes. Facilitating horizontal collaboration between the university, entrepreneurs, businesses and local agencies has been a guiding principle since the beginning, aiming to build interdisciplinary structures that cultivate networks and help set milestones for an innovation-focused approach to both research and for entering and adapting to the labor market, a focus that can be achieved by supporting the commercialization of research through ideation and the creation of startups.
To date, IF has supported over a dozen early-stage startups, one of which is fully operational today in the market, while two others are finalizing their market entry strategies. As the first organization to fill this gap in the local ecosystem, what makes the lab unique is the combination of managerial and entrepreneurial knowledge with technical knowledge, as well as the possibility for manufacturers to test and optimize the latter in our Makerspace. In addition to growing the project portfolio, IF has collaborated with a number of organizations in the local and European research and innovation ecosystem, such as Tirana Inc., the first multi-university incubator in Albania, Albania Tech, a platform that aims to increase our visibility from key ecosystem players in the country, and PRENEURZ Amsterdam, a Dutch consultancy supporting universities to bridge the gap between academia and industry. IF also cooperates on a macro scale with institutions with global, European and bilateral impact, such as EU, UN/UNECE, UfM, GTZ, SIDA, etc.