The successful introductory training in Lincoln in March was followed by another training event, the Aalborg University Summer School. Held in June, it helped the ESRs developing their skills, especially those that involve communicating with stakeholders and citizens in general.

Each ESR had to present a poster summarising the main aims of his/her research it to the North Denmark policymakers in a public engagement session. There, they also followed public lectures from some of the RUNIN senior researchers, such as Paul Benneworth (Twente) or Rune Dahl Fitjar (Stavanger) alongside Morten Dahlgaard, head of innovation at Aalborg University, and Maria Theresa Norn, head of analysis at the think tank DEA.

The ESRs also attended workshops in communication skills provided by Ms. Norn and Didde Elnif, lecturer in journalism at the University of Southern Denmark: they learned to record podcasts and videos summarising their research; and to use twitter as a public engagement tool. In addition, Poul Houman Andersen (Aalborg) organised a workshop on the relationship between PhD researchers and their supervisors.

Complementing this wide skill set, lectures on the innovation literature were given by researchers from Aalborg (Kristian Nielsen, Björn Johnson, Beng-Åke Lundvall, Ina Drejer, Christian R. Østergaard) and Lincoln (David Charles). The ESRs learned about what shapes student and academic entrepreneurship. They also knew more about the challenges faced by rural universities. They studied the role of institutions in shaping the relationship between universities and society; and followed a seminar on how to make universities more creative and inclusive. Finally, they learned about the effects of different types of proximity in shaping the university-industry relations.

Through lectures and field visits, the ESRs studied the evolving linkage between Aalborg University and the region where is settled, North Denmark: Birgitte Gregersen (Aalborg University) and Charlotte Damborg (development consultant, North Denmark Region) provided an overview of this relationship. They could also see its implications while visiting the NOVI science park, the university incubator, or the city of Aalborg.

The joint work of the ESRs continued in Aalborg. During RUNIN, PhD researchers work in smaller teams, focusing on common themes linking multiple universities. Each team presented its common topic during the Aalborg Summer School. The ESRs also presented the main ideas of their case studies for the joint RUNIN book project. A draft version of these documents will be presented as a working paper to the 12th Regional Innovation Policies conference, in Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

Further tasks will come in the future. In the coming months, each ESR will develop a paper to be presented in a special issue of the ‘Regional Studies, Regional Science’ journal. Finally, another Training Week will come between the 13th and the 17th of November: this time will be hosted by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). Stay tuned!