Are you interested in digital innovation? Do you want to learn more about cooperation leading to a better digital service development?

Then join our Interreg reporter in an interview with Jose Manuel San Emeterio from ERUDITE project.

ERUDITE is a research and innovation project which aims at improving policies which enable better use of digital services. The project partners look into defining and creating new digital services in a way which meets the needs of people. They apply the Social Economy Return on Investment (SEROI) methodology and an open innovation process engaging directly their stakeholders.
Jose Manuel San Emeterio is a representative of the European Regions Network for the Application of Communication and Technologies (ERNACT), the ERUDITE project partner based in Donegal County, Ireland.

1. How important is cooperation in your project?

It is a key aspect in our project because our methodology is based on the cooperation with stakeholders. Without them the project wouldn’t have any sense. They are the ones who will be supporting and using the digital services we will provide. We will take into consideration their real needs thanks to the SEROI methodology. It is the tool to evaluate what will be the impact of future investments on our stakeholders. We will also involve them in an open innovation process to help developing the new digital services they will be using. So, you see, it is all about cooperating with stakeholders.

2. What kind of stakeholders are interesting for the project?

You have mainly two categories:

  • One I would call the service stakeholders, who are going to use the digital services;
  • And the other I would call the policy stakeholders, who are different actors, agencies, public authorities and universities that will decide what to include in our action plan.

3. Coming back to cooperation, how do you work with the other project partners?

The collaboration is going very well! Yet, for good practices, we have realised it was more practical to form sub-groups in order to have more specific focus: on digital services, on digital innovation hubs, and three partners are working on e-governance services. Here in Ireland, we focus on digital innovation hubs, alongside with our Slovenian (University of Ljubljana) and French (Digital Nièvre Joint Authority) partners.
Though the good practices we identify are shared with the whole partnership.

The project gathers nine partners from eight regions in seven countries. The regions involved are mostly rural, except for Veneto and Stockholm regions.
The regions have different levels of digitalisation. The project lead partner, Digital Nièvre Joint Authority, comes from a region with the lowest level of digitalisation in the project. Five of the partner regions have more than 80% of households using digital services.
Regional diversity and different experiences and practices enrich the project's work on improving the digitalisation plans in the regions and making digital services even more accessible and relevant to the needs of local communities.

4. Can you talk about a specific good practice that you have already shared with your project partners?

I can talk to you a little bit about MakerLab. The University of Ljubljana developed this project to make its digital technologies, research knowledge and tools more accessible to its students. Here in Donegal we are trying to do the same with our communities.

MakerLab image

MakerLab is a project developed by the University of Ljubljana.  A dedicated space for students with access to digital tools and knowledge stimulates them to work on innovative projects, gain real experience with hands-on prototyping and taste technical as well as entrepreneurial challenges.

5. And what about working with any other Interreg project? Are you thinking of future collaborations?

ERUDITE is working very closely with another Interreg Europe project called OSIRIS. Their project partners and leaders are attending our meetings in order to facilitate sharing of information and experience.
We also see in Donegal that ERUDITE project is leading us to future actions regarding the digital innovation hubs. After ERUDITE is over, we are willing to continue working together on digital innovation hubs at the European level. So, in Ireland, we are investigating what are the possibilities for future collaboration to bring additional knowledge from other parts of Europe that otherwise wouldn’t be available for the region.

6. To conclude, tell us what the added value of Interreg Europe in the implementation of your project is.

It is crucial! Interreg Europe allows us to work with other regions, with different contexts, but at the end of the day with similar challenges. Or with those that have already solved the issues we try to address. 

If you want to learn more about ERUDITE and other good practices they identified, just check the project website or the project library.