This morning the Committee of Experts of the European-wide project INNO Industry met, which will validate the results obtained during the next two years. This project, led by AMUEBLA and funded by the European Commission through the Interreg Europe programme, aims to increase the rate of clusters developing activities in support of Industry 4.0
The Committee of Experts is represented by various agents of the regional innovation system such as universities, technology centres, clusters, business associations, as well as the regional government through the Regional Development Agency (INFO).
The European project, in which good practices will be exchanged, involves partners from 9 other countries: Romania, Slovakia, Austria, United Kingdom, Latvia, Sweden, Hungary and Slovenia
So far, an analysis of the situation in the 10 participating countries has been carried out, where it has become clear that there is a very heterogeneous panorama of policies that can be transformed into opportunities for improvement.
Another conclusion is that the main common challenges are to maintain and develop highly skilled human resources and to raise awareness of the benefits of digital technologies and new business models, especially in small enterprises.
It was also found that the countries participating in the project have a range of public financing instruments and services to support the digital transformation that, although extensive, are highly fragmented.
In this sense, a solution can come from the clusters, organizations that offer various support services to companies facing these challenges, or even from the Digital Innovation Hubs as new allies in the innovation ecosystem, as well as the technology centers, which are bodies very close to the reality of SMEs. In any case, communication and coordination are key to taking advantage of synergies and avoiding overlapping of these support services.
In the specific case of cluster policies in the different European regions and countries participating in INNO Industry, the different realities range from non-existence to being the core of economic or innovation policy, depending on the country or region being analysed. The same is true of cluster managers, who are intensely involved in the design and implementation of innovation and intelligent specialisation strategies in some regions, but are hardly recognised as innovation agents in others.
Now that the panorama of Industry 4.0 in the habitat at European level has been diagnosed and defined by the partners of INNO Industry, it is time to get down to work and work on how to increase the rate of clusters that develop activities to support the transformation towards Industry 4.0 by improving regional and national policies, and this is where the aforementioned Committee of Experts will have an important role to play.