This week we present you the third partner involved in DIGITAL REGIONS project: West Regional Development Agency in Romania.

Coordinated by the Regional Development Board, it has 20 years of experience in the management of European Funds, regional planning, attracting Foreign Direct Investment and regional innovation, cluster and SMEs support. West Regional Development Agency is a non-governmental body, non-profit and public utility organization.

Raluca Cibu-Buzac, Project Manager at WRDA, explains that through DIGITAL REGIONS the agency aims to improve the policy instrument ‘Romanian Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020’. “We would like to achieve a broader transfer of research results into innovative commercial applications to consolidate our region’s smart specialisation sectors. Furthermore our intention is to explore the Factory of the Future concept by delivering trainings and access to fast changing disruptive technologies via our technology transfer centre TEHIMPULS. The policy instrument includes investments in the development of innovation and technological transfer infrastructures and the acquisition of specific innovation technology transfer services in the benefit of companies from the smart regional sectors.  

Furthermore, the necessary interventions on the policy instrument would require a sharper focus on the types of support for innovation at regional level. “The interventions would also involve the uptake of Industry 4.0 practices from more developed regions and encourage investment and innovation in the manufacturing sector, based on reports showing how emerging markets can benefit even more from the Industry 4.0 approach”, continues Raluca.

Joining Digital Regions project emerged due to the main industries (automotive and ICT) of West Region Romania, who rise the challenge to explore the complementarities between them. The approach is focused on Industry 4.0 implementation, especially in the context of the two cluster initiatives launched by West Regional Development Agency: Automotivest Cluster and The Regional ICT Cluster. Combined with a new project of a 5G platform advancing fast and a new Digital Innovation Hub in development, we think that all the premises needed for digitalization are fulfilled, both in terms of infrastructure as well as strategical approach. The new regional operational program 2020 - 2027 will be the main instrument to finance the ecosystem, and the process of transferring the management of this programme to the regional agencies will definitely change the way our innovation ecosystem will be addressed. "DIGITAL REGIONS project is, implicitly, a vehicle to deliver sound and functional policies to all innovation ecosystem players"