Partners and stakeholders of P-IRIS project which is focusing on rural areas’ innovation systems visited County of Primorje and Gorski kotar (Croatia) during study visit on 12th and 13th December 2017. The event was hosted by Local Development Agency PINS from Skrad which promotes economic development across county of Primorje and Gorski kotar. They invited regional actors to present good practices in the field of rural innovation systems. P-IRIS projects aims to improve policies related to cooperation among actors from regional authorities, universities and research institutions, enterprise support actors and enterprises.

Partners and stakeholders from Croatia, Finland, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Spain learned about the Croatian rural innovation systems during two days of study visits. University of Rijeka hosted the first day of the study visit. Participants were welcomed by Alen Host, dean of Faculty of Economics. Later on Saša Žiković from the faculty presented their system of students internship. Saša Drezgić from Center for local economic development stressed the importance of cooperation between academia and business support actors. Darko Jadras from Regional energy agency Kvarner and Damir Medved explained about projects “E-County” and “Gigabyte Gorski kotar” which will contribute to keep young well educated people in the rural areas thanks to fast internet connection. Participants also visited Technology Transfer Office at University of Rijeka and learned about supercomputer systems and Industry 4.0 from Petra Karanikić and Zlatan Car getting to know the cooperation between research/academia and business sector.

Several innovative cases in business sector were presented while visiting region of Gorski kotar the second day of study visit. Danijel Bertović from PINS presented their networks of SME’s support in the region, Marijan Kavran talked about Croatian wood cluster, Vjeran Piršić presented Eco rural network Kvarner and stressed the importance of networking and Ljubomir Cindrić from Municipality Vrbovsko presented their case of innovation in networking between public and private sector.

Project P-IRIS continues with mapping of partners’ situation in terms of challenges and opportunities of managing triple (or quadruple) helix cooperation in rural innovation systems. Partners study relevant tools such as public financial tools, public funded advice and knowledge sharing infrastructure. The next study visit will be organized by Regional Council of Central Ostrobothnia and will take place on 8 and 9 May 2018 in Kaustinen, Finland.