This week we are going to speak about our second project partner: the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Established in 1919 and focused on scientific research, it has 23 faculties, 3 academies and it hosts more than 40.000 students. Regarding University’s involvement in DIGITAL REGIONS, the Laboratory for Telecommunications / Multimedia, from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, will be cooperating in the project.

The role of the University of Ljubljana will be a research and scientific partner. Their contribution to the project will be the transfer of good practices from research institutions to manufacturing SMEs, dissemination of the activities of the Digital Innovation Hub Slovenia across the partnership, technology transfer, mapping of the regional innovation, research and manufacturing capacity and potential and creation of a methodology for enabling and enhancing innovation processes.

By participating in DIGITAL REGIONS, University of Ljubljana expects to learn from good practices identified by all project partners in order to improve their policy instrument: 'Operational Programme for the implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020'. This Operational Programme plays a decisive role in encouraging economic development and ensuring prosperity for all citizens in Slovenia. Furthermore, it will significantly contribute to the achievement of the national and Europe 2020 targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. However, the OP was published in 2014 and didn’t take into account all the challenges with digitalization that were brought since then. The main challenge Slovenian industry and particularly SMEs have is they still don’t have enough competencies to cope with the challenges of digital transformation. In that way, there is a need to improve the implementation of the OP to better and more efficiently use funds available to support the creation and delivery of innovation by various actors, but especially SMEs and municipalities, in regional development chains.

“The policy instrument itself is very general and doesn’t reflect on the concerned actors’ needs and challenges. Within this project we would like to work closely together with various actors, especially SMEs and municipalities, assess their digital maturity level and collect their needs and challenges”, explains Dr Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Associated Professor of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Digital Innovation Hub Slovenia. She adds that University of Ljubljana would like to design and implement projects that will serve as a proof of concept in order to demonstrate that some concept or theory has practical potential and impact. “This knowledge and experience will serve to prepare proposals to improve the OP in a way it will support actions to implement new projects, that will contribute to the activities of the Digital Innovation Hub Slovenia to attain synergistic effects from operations that are carried out in multiple settings either simultaneously or phased but always in a coordinated manner”.

Through this project, the University also wishes to transfer knowledge about Industry 4.0, map internationally relevant digital competencies and skills and strengthen ties with regional organisations, particularly SMEs.

“It was our great joy to join DIGITAL REGIONS project, as we expect great impact in different strategic fields in our regional stakeholders group and also wider ecosystem. We look forward to the challenges of the project, as the results in such an experienced and committed partnership will surely be outstanding”, concludes our project partner Dr Emilija Stojmenova Duh.