On 3-5 of July 2023, the University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sport and Physical Education from Serbia, hosted the second COST Action 18236 Training School. The aim of this event was to find answers on how to teach at higher education institutions (HEI) about solving societal problems, how best to educate and prepare graduates for the fresh challenges of the 21st century.

This training school was meant for young researchers to present their research, as well as exchange information, synthesize their research problems and develop sustainable cooperation. The participants focused their attention on the importance of public sector innovation, because innovation is essential to address new and complex challenges (OECD, 2016), from different disciplinary angles and research questions.

There were 22 trainees, from 11 European countries, PhD students and early career investigators who submitted their applications and research posters and presented their interest for different types of social innovations and their implications for community development. There were 5 keynote speakers that helped the participants to be engaged in discussion of issues and practical exercises of co-creation of social innovations. Niina Karvinen from Finland spoke about Creative thinking, a topic that inspired the participants to think about their future oriented initiatives. The presentation of Pawel Krzyworzeka from Poland was about giving tools to people so they could come up with new ideas that were not only innovative but also available, affordable, and accessible. The main point was that having a good idea was not enough – it is needed to make it real and useful. Many people have similar ideas, but only the ones that are well developed and shared become successful. The presentation also talked about how anyone could use their creativity to solve social problems, not just business people. Joseph Sammut from Malta informed the trainees about the importance and function of on-line innovation labs, the creation and function of hackathons in delivering new ideas with new solutions for nowadays challenges, and open innovation in innovative process. Shane O’Sullivan from Ireland had a presentation on Social Innovation in the Community Development Sector: Insights from Rural Ireland and Stevo Popovic presented the Western Balkan Sport Innovation Lab: Turning an original idea into a well-defined concept.

Participants could find comparative case studies, theoretical and empirical explorations, quantitative and qualitative methods, descriptive and analytical approaches, and interesting conclusions worldwide.

The training school was conceived as an educational hackathon. Participants were invited to hack the challenge of how to teach in HEIs about solving societal problems. The hackathon itself addressed the issue from various stages: what type of problems (scope, scale, etc.) could be solved at HEI, what kind of tools to use, which stakeholders to involve, the process and channels of involvement of external stakeholders. The participants were divided into 5 groups, taking into account their origin and professional background. During the training school they developed their ideas, proposals, solution and findings. At the end they had the possibility to present their projects. 5 proposals of interesting and innovative solutions on societal challenges were presented to the public. 

The proposals were in:

The winner was the proposal: SHIELD Share Your Experience and Move the World!

The team will have the possibility to present their proposal during the final COST CA 18236 conference in Brussels. The organizers would like to thank all participants involved.


Day 1, Monday, 3 July, 2023

08:45 – 09:15Registration 
09.15 – 10.00Welcome speeches: Vice-Dean for Science and International Cooperation of Host Institution,National COST Coordinator in Serbia,Radenko Matic, Local Host Organizer Maria Diacon, WG 3 vice leader, Pan-European Public-Sector Innovation Lab responding to and developing public policy, CA18236Officially opening of the 2nd SHIINE COST Training school 
10.00 – 11.00Creative Thinking / Q&ANiina Karvinen
11.00 – 11.30Coffee break 
11.30 – 12.30Social Innovation in the Community Development Sector: Insights from Rural Ireland / Q&AShane O’Sullivan
12.30 – 13.30Lunch break 
13.30 – 15.00Visiting Social Innovation Lab 
15.00 – 15.30Coffee break 
15.30 – 16.30On-Line Innovation LabQ&AJoseph Sammut
16.30 – 18.00Cocktail poster sessionAll participants
20.00Welcome social dinner 

Day 2, Tuesday, 4 July, 2023

09.00 – 10.00Visiting Social Innovation Lab 
10.30 – 11.30Innovator toolbox / Q&A Hackathon expertPawel Krzyworzeka
11.30. – 12.00Coffee break  
12.00 – 13.00Western Balkan Sport Innovation Lab: Turning our original idea into a well-defined concept / Q&AStevo Popovic
13.00 – 14.00Lunch break 
14.00 – …Social innovation hackathon   / Q&AAll participants

Day 3, Wednesday, 5 July, 2023

09.00 – 11.00Hackathon project presentationsAll participants
11.00 – 11.30Coffee break 
11.30 – 12.30Feedback jury. Award session of hackathon winnerAll participants
12.30 – 13.30Lunch break 
13.30 – 15.30Finalizing discussionCertification of participationAll participants

Please find the feedback analysis of the training school here: