In these months of global health emergency, the 40Ready project had to postpone the second meeting, scheduled for 17 and 18 March 2020 in Helsinki. However, the work of the partnership was not completely affected and it was decided to move the substantial and fruitful activity of exchange so far had in virtual mode.
In particular, in this project phase thanks also to the relevant contribution provided by all the partners involved, the work focuses on the presentation and discussion of the different tools and methodologies available in the different regional political contexts.
Specifically, after the initial phase in which each region presented as a contribution the needs related to industry 4.0 in relation to SMEs in its regional context, a first exchange and debate are taking place in order to deepen the different policy instruments available and to understand how these instruments are applicable in different regional contexts. This phase, which will be preparatory to the development of a regional action plan for the improvement of the different regional policies, aims at understanding, analysing and evaluating the success and impact of the policy measures undertaken to support the regional transformation towards industry 4.0, evaluating weaknesses and good practices.
The workload, given the impossibility of organizing “real” meetings, was distributed over three different virtual meetings held between May and June 2020 and during which the partners, called to answer questions from interested partners, alternatively played the role of speakers trying to provide the requested contribution as detailed as possible. The speaker regions, after having previewed the other partners' questions of interest, participated in the meetings preparing an intervention in which the main points of their policy instruments were highlighted.
The work that the partnership has been carrying out should be meant in the process that will lead to the last phase of the project which foresees the exchange and inclusion of good practices between region and region aimed at improving regional policies for the competitiveness of SMEs.
Given the uncertainty raised by Covid-19, the partnership is going to define the next activities to be planned after the end of the summer based on how the global health situation and individual national issues will evolve. The hope of the whole partnership is to be able to return to the normal meeting dynamics that are the heart and strength of the Interreg Europe programme.