FEUZ - Background
In 1982, in the absence of a body to serve as a link between the needs of the Aragonese business community and existing resources at the University of Zaragoza, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Zaragoza and the University of Zaragoza decided to create a non-profit organization that would act as a centre for information, advice and coordination for the University and private companies in the strategic areas of training, employment, promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation, facing challenges and opportunities, providing competitive solutions, and promoting new forms of cooperation.
Our history is one of significant milestones of achievement resulting from the ongoing exploration of the challenges and opportunities that have emerged in our strategic areas of action: Innovation, Education and Employability. Faithful to our founding spirit, we have promoted specific means of cooperation and competitive solutions providing sufficient responses to the interests of students, teachers, professionals, private companies and public institutions of Aragon, while maintaining an international dimension to our activities.
In 1990 the Commission of the European Union authorized FEUZ to create a University-Industry Training Partnership (UITP), which was one of the sections under the European Community Action Programme in Education and Training for Technology (COMETT), which would service the needs of the regions of Aragon and La Rioja.
The UITP network, trans-European in nature, greatly contributed to the promotion of the training activities of COMETT: scholarships for undergraduates and graduates, university-business exchange scholarships for teachers and employees, organisation of short training courses, financing of pilot projects for the development of advanced training material, and the undertaking of surveys and training needs studies.
When the COMETT program ended in 1994, the Aragón-Rioja UITP became a department within FEUZ, managing and coordinating various programs and Community Initiatives for Aragon and La Rioja. Since 1995 we have managed the Leonardo Da Vinci Programme, through which more than 1,300 graduates of the University of Zaragoza have taken internships in companies located in other EU countries. At present, these activities are developed under the auspices of the Erasmus+ Programme.
In the area of training, we have made available to students and graduates the necessary tools to supplement the lessons taught in the classroom and to stimulate an entrepreneurial outlook, while we were facilitating training tailored to the needs of more than 100 companies.
Our training offering, both onsite and through virtual platforms, is based on thorough research of existing end-user needs. With an innovative orientation to subject matter, and a practical methodology transferable to the job, we provide qualified professionals with extensive pragmatic experience to ensure a high level of effective training for students and professionals, adapted to the specific needs of companies and institutions.
With the creation of our own Master in International Marketing, FEUZ was one of the first organizations in Aragon to offer this type of degree. We were also one of the first Aragon Employment Institute’s (INAEM, formerly INEM) Collaborating Centres for training the unemployed.
Since 2007 we have provided English language certification through the Cambridge English Exams, under the auspices of the prestigious University of Cambridge, occupying a leadership position in Aragon, as we are the only examination centre in the region that enjoys the Platinum distinction, pertaining only to centres of the highest excellence.
In the area of Research and Innovation, since our creation, when there were still no Offices for the Transfer of Research (OTRIs), we played an important role as catalysts for making the potential and existing resources at the University of Zaragoza available to the needs of companies and institutions, promoting the continuous transfer of technology and innovation. Throughout our existence, we have managed more than 2,000 contracts with as many public and private entities.
Since the late 1980s, with the aim of fostering communication, open discussion and the resulting synergies, we were pioneers in the use of working dinners, precursor of today’s breakfast meetings, which served as a gathering place so that professionals from different areas could interact and place topics of current interest on the table.
With the creation of the OTRIs, FEUZ became part of the OTRI network. We also acted as a Collaborating Organization (ECAP) for efforts promoted by the National Program for Development of a Joint Science-Technology-Industry System (PACTI) of the Spanish Ministry of Education. This collaboration was also carried out in conjunction with the Government of Aragon, for which we acted as a collaborating entity in the field of Water Quality.
The pioneering role of FEUZ in promoting innovation in Aragon took on a special dimension as, over those years, FEUZ granted Basilio Paradise and Pedro Cerbuna Awards to the most innovative companies in Aragon, and to the most active and relevant researchers, respectively.
In the area of employment, we have consistently facilitated the acquisition of skills and abilities, as well as the employability and professional integration of university graduates. Our continued efforts targeting the transfer of talent from the classroom into the social and economic infrastructure of our region has enabled more than 8,000 students and graduates to have an initial work experience in operating companies, while providing the productive sector with a means of collaboration and of capitalizing on these skills, which in many cases has borne fruit in the form of an employment contract.