Learning about Good Practices of regional innovation and about the upcoming calls of the Regional Operational Program – this was the focus of the second Local Stakeholder Group meeting of the RUMORE project in Central Macedonia. The meeting was successfully held on 5th December 2017 in Thessaloniki at the farm school of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. It brought together representatives of 15 stakeholder organisations, with 30 attendants.

The meeting started with presentation of the Good Practices, introduced by the other partner regions at the interregional project meeting in Almelo, the Netherlands. The stakeholders discussed the transferability of the presented Good Practices to the Greek context as well as the existing parallels to projects running in the Region of Central Macedonia (RCM). The discussion was enriched by short presentations of regional project examples such as the Agro Nutritional Cooperation (a non-profit organisation with main stakeholder the Region of Central Macedonia that aims to boost production and promote actions around the agri-food sector in Central Macedonia), the Agrodesign Cluster (a platform for cooperation and matching between food producers and designers) and the American Farm School.

During the meeting, the Regional Development Fund of Central Macedonia and ANATOLIKI presented the results from their hitherto discussions and contacts with the Managing Authority of the Regional Operational Programme (ROP CM). The discussions focused particular on Specific Objective 1b1 of the Operational Programme, which aims to facilitate the establishment of links and synergies between enterprises, research and development centres, and higher education institutes.

The Regional Development Fund of Central Macedonia noted that the concept of rural-urban partnerships is not included in the Agri-Food top priority of the Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3) of RCM. The stakeholders were asked to provide their proposals on how this integration can be done and to give feedback about the Good Practices’ transferability. After the submission of their proposals the RCM will filter them and will proceed with an insertion of this input in the Agri-Food top priority of the RIS3 (review) and also in the upcoming Action-Calls of the ROP CM. From the RCM’s perspective the following proposals could be made:

Action-Call 1. Creation of a common one-stop liaison office between the academic and research institutes of RCM, which allows companies to search for research teams, enables the transfer of intellectual property rights, the use of laboratory equipment and research infrastructures, etc. With relation to the proposed new Action 1, the stakeholders discussed:
-    Proposals and needs of enterprises regarding the new Action and the concept  of rural-urban partnerships;
-    Suggestions, needs and potential of the research community and research infrastructures about the new Action and the concept of rural-urban partnerships;
-    Proposals and needs of the public sector regarding the new Action and the concept of rural-urban partnerships.

Action-Call 2. Enhancement of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through the purchase of innovative advisory and support knowledge services from innovation bodies as well as the support of R&I bodies providing value-added and knowledge-intensive services (innovation vouchers). This will support businesses, facing concrete needs and questions, to make use the existing know-how of innovation bodies. With relation to the proposed new Action 2, the stakeholders discussed the suggestions and needs of enterprises, research and technology institutes on the content and operation of the proposed Action (innovation vouchers) related to the concept of rural-urban partnerships.

Finally, some stakeholders asked about the possibility for inclusion of measure 16 of the Rural Development Program (RDP) in the policy instrument pool of RCM concerning the RUMORE project. The background for this request is the fact that RCM will in the coming time release calls related to this measure of the RDP.