In September 2019 Vidzeme planning region experts Kristaps Ročāns and Krišjānis Veitners together with senior expert at Sectoral policy department, Ministry of Economics of Latvia Anita Zimele and director of the mechatronics study programme in Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences Alvis Sokolovs visited Malmö and Lund in Skåne region, Sweden for an in-depth review of the Skåne Open Lab model. The visit was organized in the framework of Interreg Europe 2014-2020 project “Sharing Strategies for European Research and Innovation Infrastructures (INNO INFRA SHARE)”
The aim of the visit was to learn about the Open Lab Skåne project, it’s implementation, results, challenges and success stories, to assess the replicability potential of this good practice to Latvia. Based on the results of the visit, a detailed plan of the transfer of the Open Lab model will be developed by the end of 2019.
During the visit, the Latvian delegation became acquainted with the Open Lab Skåne project, Malmö University Biofilms Research Center for Biointerfaces and SmiLe Technology Business incubator in Medicon Village, Lund.
The Open Lab Skåne project has turned out to be very successful, considering the fact that more than 30 companies have already used the Open Lab services for their own research and development.
Open Lab Skåne is a collaborative project jointly implemented by Malmö University, Lund University and SmiLe Technology Business Incubator. Its mission is to facilitate innovation by opening their laboratories and enabling access to equipment and expertise. Via Open Lab Skåne, companies have access to equipment, laboratories and expertise in the fields of material science and chemistry, life science and food engineering. The project allows universities and the incubator to provide regional companies with access to their existing research and innovation infrastructure, and to develop new products. The project funds the work of coordinators who work with companies, consult them, train their specialists for the work with the infrastructure. Companies, in turn, finance the costs of using the infrastructure and provide their specialists. The projects implementation started in 2017, after a thorough analysis of the Open Lab approach and projects potential was carried out by Malmö University in the pre-study. Project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Region Skåne. In addition, Open Lab Skåne is supported by Medeon, Medicon Village, CLUK, Malmö stad, Lunds kommun and Sten K Johnsons foundation.
The project contributes to new strategic partnerships between companies and academia and strengthens companies’ innovation and competitiveness.
Latvian experts were welcomed by Dr. Therése Nordström, Open Lab Skåne project leader and director of Biofilms Research Center for Biointerfaces, Magdalena Almén, Open Lab Skåne project coordinator and Research liaison officer in the Biofilms Research Center for Biointerfaces, Peter Falkman, a research engineer, and Dr. Per Brunmark, Director Core Facilities & Business Coach at Smile Incubator AB, Open Lab Skåne project coordinator.
In a discussion among experts from both countries, it was concluded that several elements of the Open Lab Skåne approach have a potential to be transferred to Latvia. The importance of a pre-study and a plan to review the potential adjustments to the existing Policy instruments, in order to support the development of a similar project in Latvia, was outlined by the representative of Latvia Ministry of Economics, while the development of clear rules and accessibility conditions for the equipment and laboratory space renting for the companies, was emphasized as an important element of transfer, by the representative of the Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences.
As a next step, a joint meeting and a review of the study visit results with experts from Vidzeme Planning Region, Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Education and Science, will be held in Riga, Latvia in November 2019.
The Open Lab Skåne good practice transfer from Sweden to Latvia is an integral part of Vidzeme planning region action plan, in particular – Action 4: International cooperation. The Action plan is being implemented and monitored during the second phase of the INNO INFRA SHARE project until the end of 2020.
- The Action plan can be accessed here: https://www.interregeurope.eu/innoinfrashare/library/
- You can find more information about the Open Lab Skåne here: http://openlabskane.se/