This week we want to present our last, but not least, project partner: Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne AG, a multidisciplinary non-profit R&D organisation with a comprehensive experience in supporting companies, especially SMEs, with the assessment of innovation potential and the development and implementation of digitalisation projects. Since 2016, the Park is the responsible body and main promoter for the implementation of the Industry 4.0 / SSF policy of the canton of Bern.

“Our expertise and competences help to disseminate, apply, train and exploit digital innovation within the regional ecosystem”, explains DIGITAL REGIONS partner Dominic Gorecky, Head of Swiss Smart Factory. As part of the Industry 4.0/SSF policy, Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne provides the infrastructure and ecosystem needed to support the regional industry. Among others, training and coaching activities to develop digitalisation strategies, innovation support through consulting projects, test lab to implement technology and perform feasibility studies, R&D capacities to support companies’ innovation, public demo space to promote digital innovation on a regional level, co-working space to facilitate collaboration and open network covering regional and national stakeholder (over 30 companies).  

Regarding our partner region, the Canton of Bern represents one of the most important industrial cantons in Switzerland with, approximately, 69,000 companies and 621,000 employees (24% in industry sector). “With a quarter of all industrial jobs in Switzerland located in the canton of Bern, it is crucial for the canton to address the potential and challenges of the digital transformation”, continues Dominic Gorecky.   

Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne will bring in good practices of Industry 4.0 to the DIGITAL REGIONS project and actively contribute in the exchange of experience process. Apart from this, it will host site visits and thematic workshops. Already today, the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel has become a hot spot for international delegations to learn about the SSF policy. SSF will also help to integrate lessons learnt from the cooperation with other regions to develop an improved policy on SSF, which focus on precision industries and MedTech industries.  

Through DIGITAL REGIONS, Swiss partners will address the ‘Industry 4.0 / Swiss Smart Factory (SSF) Strategy – Canton Bern’, set-up by the Bern Economic Development Agency (BEDA) as a regional activity with national impact. The policy aims to exploit the full potential of the economy in the context of digitalisation and to provide solutions to related socio-economic challenges by establishing the first Digital Innovation Hub for Industry 4.0 in Switzerland. Furthermore, the objective is to provide infrastructure and services that help the regional industry with the challenges related to the digital transformation. “First success stories give evidence of a successful launch of the regional police. However, in order to ensure sustainability, the collaboration and knowledge exchange with other regions is envisaged”, highlights Head of Swiss Smart Factory. According to him, digitalisation is a global phenomenon and requires cross-border collaboration in order to provide answers to the underlying socio-economic challenges and to undertake the right action at policy level.   

Asking our partners about why did they decide to join DIGITAL REGIONS project, they answer: "Digitalisation is a global phenomenon and requires cross-border collaboration in order to provide answers to the underlying socio-economic challenges and to undertake the right action at policy level. The consequent next step is thus to embed the regional innovation policy in Switzerland within the European context".  

SSF intends to increase the international recognition and impact, to enable cross-border collaboration with other regional programs and to stimulate future regional policies through exchange of best-practises. 

Picture by Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne AG.