In October two local learning workshops on solutions for improving research and innovation infrastructure (RII) accessibility took place in Rīga and in Cēsis (Latvia). They were moderated by high level experts from N-ABLE company (France) Dr. Pierre Padilla and Dr. Emmanuel Boudard. During the workshops P. Padilla stressed that RIIs in Vidzeme region and Latvia have to think not only how to cooperate between themselves and with local companies, but also to open up towards other RIIs and companies in Europe. Often it is smarter to look for internationalisation possibilities rather than focus the innovative capabilities to a limited local demand. In order to do that, RIIs should get involved in EU level innovation platforms and scope regional priority areas – focus must be on niche specialization areas with a potential for excellence.

Workshop in Riga gathered a wide audience – policy makers, RII owners, technology scouts and other stakeholders. The hired experts introduced the best practices and newest trends in RII development, business models and management of shared facilities. During discussions stakeholders identified current challenges and possible solutions in Latvian RII ecosystem.

The next day a workshop in Cēsis gathered the regional stakeholders from Vidzeme region to look for solutions on a regional level on how to effectively collaborate with each other and with SMEs and how to integrate into wider European innovation networks. They agreed that there’s a need for a regional research and innovation platform that would ensure a coordinated development on a regional level. In order to do that, a bottom-up mapping and analysis is needed to identify current and missing capabilities but also business needs and opportunities to foster the collaboration between RII and SMEs across dedicated application areas. A shared understanding on future priorities by defining a vision and thematic areas is a must. That would also facilitate integration into international networks by offering research and innovation services not only in the local market, but also on an international scale.

Experts Dr. Pierre Padilla and Dr. Emmanuel Boudard have a wide experience in consulting research and innovation development. As experts they’ve worked for the European Commission, OECD, national governments, RIIs and companies across Europe. Experts appreciated what Vidzeme Planning Region has done so far in the INNO INFRA SHARE consortium and encouraged it to continue foster RII collaboration not only on local, but also on international scale.

The results of both local learning workshops will be integrated in the Vidzeme Planning Region Action plan that will give a positive impact on the innovation policy in Latvia. The Action plan will be presented during INNO INFRA SHARE conference in Brussels (Belgium) on 22nd November 2018.