On 14 June, a high interest in the RUMORE project and in good practices from other regions brought together numerous actors in Central Macedonia, Greece. The Regional Development Fund of the Region of Central Macedonia and ANATOLIKI S.A., the Development Agency of Eastern Thessaloniki’s Local Authorities, had invited the Local Stakeholder Group to a first meeting. Representatives of the regional authorities, local public administrations, enterprises, clusters and other relevant stakeholders came together in Thessaloniki to discuss current challenges in the region and the possibilities for improving innovation through urban-rural partnerships.
 
Ioannis Spandos from the Region of Central Macedonia gave an overall presentation of the RUMORE project and its structure. He emphasized the importance of the project approach in bringing important changes in the ERDF Regional Operational Programme. The relevance of the project topic for the Region of Central Macedonia was further stressed by Iakovos Sarigiannis, the General Director of ANATOLIKI. He encouraged joint efforts to exploit potential synergies and to increase the added value from the interaction between urban and rural, mainly agricultural areas. A central role in the achievement of the project objectives is played by the local stakeholders. As presented by Dr. Ioannis Fallas, main project coordinator from ANATOLIKI, the active engagement and the permanent exchange with the stakeholders is a key for improving the regional policy instrument and the innovation delivery in Central Macedonia.
 
The stakeholders participating in the meeting showed high interest in supporting and learning from the RUMORE activities. The project priorities go in line with their own organisations’ priorities, which is a further motivation for their continuing engagement in the project. The stakeholders will be actively involved in the learning process and exchange of experience with the international partners from Bulgaria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The good practices from the partner regions will serve as an inspiration for the support of knowledge transfer in Central Macedonia. They will facilitate the establishment of stronger links between research and development centres, higher education institutes and enterprises in the RIS3 sectors. 

RIS3, the Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation, aim at focusing investments and boosting economic growth in the regions of Europe. The strategies foster the exploitation of economic opportunities, support the creation of synergies between actors and resources and set the framework for evidence-based policy making.