“Agents of Changes” of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
Rector of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University,
Doctor of Political Science,
Manager of the Project and Educational Centre “Agents of Changes”,
Associate Professor of the Department of Finances at
Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University,
Coordinator of the Regional Expert Community of REGIONET Network
in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
Under the conditions of undertaking the decentralization reform, most regions of Ukraine faced the problem of lack or shortage of qualified personnel to form and implement the regional policy and management of the regional development based on the project approach. Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University suggested the solution of this problem in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast by establishing the Project and Educational Centre for Innovation Development and Investment Promotion in the Region under the brand name “Agents of Changes” (hereinafter – Centre).
The idea of the Centre appeared at the end of 2016 during the formation of the Regional Expert Community of the All-Ukrainian Network of Specialists and Experts on the regional and local development REGIONET in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Its coordinator became the Associate Professor of the Department of Finances at the Faculty of Economics of the University, initiator of the project proposal Svitlana Kropelnytska.
After discussion and elaboration, the idea turned into the project which under the program “Innovative Economy and Investments” won the competition for the best regional development projects funded by the state budget and the European Union. The competition was held by the Ministry of the Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine.
The initiator of the project was the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine; the customer and the executor – Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University.
The project began to be carried out in 2018 when the project team was formed; the equipment was purchased; the website “Agents of Changes” and the resource pu.webex.com providing the access to the cloud platform Cisco WebEx Meetings to hold educational and consulting events in real time were developed.
The aim of the online resource is to create a quick communication system for the project target groups, first and foremost, for the students of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University and regional communities of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast in order to respond quickly to the communities’ demands, to form database of practices in oblast communities, and to fill vacancies with graduates and/or last-year students, post-graduate students of the university.
For the time being, the Centre held six trainings for trainers inviting experts working both in Ukraine and in the European Union; dozens of educational trainings, workshops, seminars, round-table discussions, webinars, online consultations and thematic meetings. Among the achievements of the Centre should be mentioned the pilot project together with the Department of Finances at the University in Broshniv-Osada and Yabluniv JTCs, two teams of student winners of the project competition “Today creative idea – tomorrow real business”, two micro-projects developed under the consultancy and/or authorship of the experts from Agents of Changes, which won within the Program of Transborder Cooperation Poland-Belarus-Ukraine in 2014-2020.
The expert team – trainers/consultants of the Centre – is formed according to different types of projects, namely, soft/social; hard/investment; research/scientific; projects of individual mobility/partnership; international/regional and local development projects.
The project experts organize independently or participate in various events according to their core competencies; undertake consulting and educational activities; participate as speakers, moderators and mentors in specialized events, as consultants and co-developers of development projects of both structural units of the University and territorial communities of the oblast.
The Centre’s great achievement is its signing of a number of cooperation agreements: with the Scientific Park “Precarpathian University”, which will make it possible to spread the acquired knowledge and to commercialize scientific developments of students and scientists of the University and the region, on the whole; with Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Branch “Association of Ukrainian Cities” and with 5 JTCs of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast – for cooperation and active involvement of the University representatives in undertaking the decentralization reform.
A number of agreements were signed with the international contractors working in the project and educational sphere: with the International Cultural Educational Association of Chicago (USA), with the Central European Academy Studies and Certification of Bydgoszcz (Poland), with the Development Foundation of Rzeszow (Poland), with the Bronislaw Markiewicz State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jaroslaw (Poland).
The realization of the above-mention resulted in the following:
- the innovative material and technical basis was established at the cost of the project; it is a modern building allocated by the University for the project and for its sustenance after its completion, computer equipment, interactive equipment, support equipment and tools which fill out the training room, conference hall for big events, rooms for webinars and online consultations and other activities undertaken by the Centre.
- curricular and methodological, presentational and information materials including records of webinars for current and future activities of the Centre, methodological support of the project competition, professional and pre-graduate practices at the Centre for students of different educational levels, which are developed by the experts of the project team.
We are certain that in the long run, the project results will contribute to improvement of investment attractiveness indexes and competitiveness of the region; increase in grant, budget and other development funds for the JTC, the University and other target groups of the project; increase in the level of implementing strategies of development of institutions and regions by systematically carrying out quality projects; speeding-up of technology transfer; development of scientific and innovative cooperation of the state sector of science, higher educational institutions with the real sector of the economy; increase in (preserving) employment; increase in the income to budgets of different levels.
It should be mentioned that the University’s participation in the competitive selection of regional development projects was logic after the formation of the Regional Expert Community of REGIONET Network in Ivano-Frankivsk, and the victory of the project proposal under the brand name “The Project and Educational Centre ‘Agents of Changes’” became possible with the professional consulting support provided by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Regional Development in Policy and Action, Team of Advisors under the Program “U-LEAD with Europe”.