What do innovation incubators, cluster initiatives, stakeholder involvement and knowledge transfer contribute to better quality of life in European regions?

The capacity of regions to foster innovation is a key source of employment, competitive advantages and sustainable development in Europe. The generation and uptake of innovative ideas, products and processes is facilitated by establishing regional innovation chains and promoting synergies between innovation pioneers and territories. Innovation is mainly created and generated in urban areas, where human capital, investments and market potentials are concentrated. Rural and peripheral areas and stakeholders are often left outside of innovation chains. This hinders actors from unfolding their full potential, hampers integrated regional development and challenges the implementation of joint innovation policies. Thus, connecting and integrating rural and urban innovation systems can be seen as strategic approach for territorial cohesion in European regions. It adds a bottom up-dimension to European Union’s well established top-down cohesion policy.

“The knowledge transfer between urban and rural stakeholders and vise verse, and the capacity of rural areas to innovate are key resources for the future development of European regions”, states Jörg Knieling, professor for regional development at HafenCity University Hamburg, Lead Partner of the project RUMORE. RUMORE addresses improved regional innovation capacities and policies through targeted support of rural-urban cooperation. Since January 2017, a consortium of eight partner organisations joins efforts to identify innovative ideas and approaches for the better use of synergies between urban and rural areas and stakeholders.

“The commitment of all partners to increase innovation and thus move their regions forward towards sustainable development is strong” confirms Jörg Knieling and looks full of expectation to the new actions and measures discussed by the partners. The Good Practices in the partner regions are diverse – ranging from examples of living labs in Twente through digital cooperation platforms in Lombardy, innovative concepts for funding of regional projects in Amsterdam to research driven projects for regional development in Lüneburg. These set a solid basis for the interregional learning exchange while the direct cooperation with local stakeholders strengthens their engagement in the identification and future implementation of actions.

European regions face great challenges as well as great opportunities. In RUMORE, we join efforts in finding ways for regions to unfold their innovation potentials and explore inspiring action corridors how sustainable development could look like. Interregional exchange and cooperation help all project participants to identify possibilities for new actions and bring them closer to achieving their regional innovation aims.

RUMORE project consortium