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Lead Partner: Provincial Council of Bizkaia
According to World Health Organization (WHO) "making cities and communities age-friendly is one of the most effective local policy approaches for responding to demographic change”. However, regional initiatives still lack alignment between absolutely complementary policy areas such as health, social affairs, territorial sustainable development, employment and wellbeing. This silo approach restrains the creation, availability and large-scale adoption of age-friendly solutions across Europe. Known is also the gap between technological developments and end-users real needs and expectations. Therefore, policy alignment, collaborative efforts and sharing of good practices will be keystones to add better quality of life, more inclusive and sustainable health and social care systems and citizen’s access to the services. The EU_SHAFE project will improve policies and practices in 7 European regions by developing a comprehensive approach to Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments (SHAFE). Through a 'learning by sharing' methodology, this robust multi-disciplinary and intersectoral consortium will build a four-helix European community to exchange experiences and practices to improve multilevel policy instruments. The consortium will create a cooperative, inclusive ecosystem between public authorities, European networks and user’s associations, embedding their experience and skills with research & design knowledge from academia and SMEs for the growth of community-based services and “ageing at home” around Europe. • EU_SHAFE will Invest in policy design and adaptation of regional instruments derived from ETCF (R&I priorities) and ESF (Social Inclusion), through the creation of a large Euro-local network of stakeholders that will work together in ecosystems towards a common model – a White Paper on SHAFE. • Select and re-design concrete and scalable interventions in the area of social innovation for SHAFE, that may be implemented as realistic innovative models for the future.
Lead Partner: Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia
INTENCIVE project addresses the societal challenge of ageing society combined with decreasing population in rural and other remote areas. There is a dire need for new, accessible and user friendly models, practices and tools for providing different types of high quality health services accessible to all citizens not depending on their age or place of living. Combining technology to the different phases of service processes with emphasis on the customer orientation means re-thinking and re-planning the health services. Objective of INTENCIVE project is to improve the implementation of policies and programmes in terms of health technology innovation-driven and customer-oriented health services in the partner regions and influence the ERDF Regional Operational Programs or Regional Strategies. Partners from five regions conduct interregional exchange of experiences in the specific field and introduce into their policies of innovative technologies and services in e-health sector.                      Basis for the exchange of experience consist of state of the art evaluation, good practice evaluation against BIKVA-model, study visits and thematic workshops. INTENCIVE has an unique bottom-up and customer-oriented approach using the BIKVA-method developed for social services giving voice more directly to the citizens using services.
Lead Partner: Municipality of Prato
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, are we ready? Companies across the globe are digitally transforming as they are challenged to improve business processes and develop new capabilities and business models. 4IR technology patent applications are on the rise, Industry 4.0 ambitions are high, manufacturing and manufacturing technologies do well, spending on the Internet of Things in industrial markets looks promising … and the list goes on. The so-called fourth industrial revolution is of course not just a matter of technology. It is also a matter of cooperation between European regions! But while large companies are anticipating the changes arising from the digital revolution in the production and value creation process, SMEs are struggling to embrace the Industry 4.0 revolution. The uptake of advanced manufacturing solutions is still a challenge to SMEs: only one in five manufacturing companies have already used advanced manufacturing solutions. Partners from regions across Europe have decided to join forces to exchange experience on how policies related to Structural Funds can unlock the full potential of Industry 4.0, fully convinced that the success of digital transformation will greatly depend on the SMEs, which feels in need of more practical support. SMARTY is born to establish a common basis for policy learning among its members to overcome fragmentation of Industry 4.0 solutions and their enabling potential by dealing with main challenges hampering their diffusion into the European Union ecosystem. It is therefore key to bring together and to connect best capabilities across the EU as to foster the development, upscale, and commercialization but also diffusion of Industry 4.0 solutions – whether these are new technologies, products, services, business models, etc.  The time has come to implement Industry 4.0, let’s cooperate!
Lead Partner: Hanze University of Applied Sciences
InnoHEIs aims at enlarging the role of higher education institutions (HEIs) and their research and innovation infrastructure. How can they act as key stakeholders for regional innovation development? Watch the video to meet the partners and learn more about the project: Fostering entrepreneurship and creativity in regionsFostering entrepreneurship and creativity brings many benefits to higher education institutions and  regions. InnoHEIs addresses the challenge to enhance the role of higher education institutions and their research and innovation infrastructure.   Enabler of the entrepreneurship discovery process This role can be filled in as an enabler of the entrepreneurship discovery process (EDP). The entrepreneurship discovery process is an inclusive and interactive bottom-up process. Participants from different environments, such as policy, business and academia are discovering a potential of new activities and opportunities that emerge through this interaction.  Integration of entrepreneurial knowledge  Higher education institutions and their research and innovation infrastructure can build partnerships thanks to their unique infrastructure and human capacities. Entrepreneurial knowledge is often fragmented and distributed over many organisations, companies, universities, clients and users. Higher education institution can support the integration of the entrepreneurial knowledge.  Remove barriers and enhance collaboration Thus, InnoHEIs partners look at possibilities to mobilise higher education institutions and their research and innovation infrastructure for regional innovation development. Their aim is to remove barriers among different types of higher education institutions and their research and innovation infrastructure. And enhance their cross-institutional and cross-sectoral collaboration.
Lead Partner: Regional Agency for Technology and Innovation
The competitiveness of SMEs and their resilience with respect to the global economic turmoil is certainly strongly linked to their capacity to innovate. However, innovation dynamics aren’t only dependent on R&D and technological change, but often rely on less evident, less formalized and more difficult to assess factors, mainly involving organizational and relational dimensions. This is relevant both for those regions in which medium and low-tech sectors and very small/micro businesses lead the local economy and for those territories with a strong presence of economic sectors related to social innovation, less dependent on formal R&D. The common challenge faced by project partners, coming from 7 regions across Europe, is that of devising new tools and indicators that allow them to better understand and assess non-R&D-driven innovation dynamics, with a strong emphasis on the direct involvement of the policy beneficiaries in the process of policy design, monitoring and evaluation. The overall project objective is therefore to improve the capability of public policy-makers to develop efficient policies supporting non-formal, soft and open innovation processes in the regional actors, with a focus on non-R&D -driven and social innovation.   The main outputs are: • 7 Study Visits, 4 Thematic Workshops, 1 Interregional Learning Meeting; • 7 policy instruments improved through the development and implementation of 7 Action Plans; • 14 Good Practices shared in the Policy Learning Platform, 4 Brief Technical Notes, 5 videostorytelling, 2 videos presenting the project and its results, published on the project website. Here is a video presenting the project.
Lead Partner: Regional Development Agency Posavje (RDA Posavje)
Due to different factors as the relocation of work to Asia, the industry contribution to the EU economy is declining. This reflects the necessity to transform the current industry sector into a smarter one. Nevertheless, the European Innovation Scoreboard 2017 shows that SMEs with innovative products or processes have decreased 18 points since 2010 and not all EU countries are at the same level of innovation and smart specialization. Therefore, it is essential to introduce the necessary changes in current policies to get a real smart transformation of the European industry, with the final aim of being more competitive and reaching the target set by the European Commission of boosting manufacturing´s share of GDP from 15% to 20% by 2020. On the other hand, clusters have been proven to have a reticular effect to introduce changes in the European industry. The European Cluster Panorama 2016 shows that wages in more developed clusters are close to 3% higher than in industries not located in such regional hotspots. Thus, changing regional clusters policies will trigger the transformation of the industry in a larger scale. For that reason, the INNO Industry project aims to increase rate of clusters that develop activities to support the transformation towards Industry 4.0 by 2022 through the improvement of regional and national policies.
Lead Partner: Municipality of Genoa
BETTER helps Public Authorities to stimulate regional innovation chains using eGovernment solutions. BETTER offers an innovative approach to a crucial priority for the EU: encourage Public Authorities to develop Regional Innovation Strategies in which eGovernment solutions can stimulate Regional Innovation chains (as well as improving their services). Key issues are:  the physical and virtual infrastructure to support innovation; how to develop and apply new innovative products and services; the processes to support new business models and cross-sector (private-public-community). The people and skills to make it happen BETTER will link e-Government with the “innovation chain” to create a win-win initiative. On one hand, municipalities and regions need to improve public services, while cutting costs: e-Government is one way to do this. On the other hand, adopting e-Government solutions could be used in turn to stimulate the local or regional innovation chain: for example the design, supply and maintenance of specialist services such as Artificial Intelligence. The project’s objective is to stimulate regional innovation chains through developing or improving e-Government services provided by local and regional authorities. Five partners will: analyse partners’ plans through four Thematic Events; identify good practices that will improve these plans, studying them through Study Visits, importing them via special workshops and Regional Action Plans; develop at least 3 innovative e-Government instruments build the capacity of all relevant public authorities including ERDF Managing Authoritiesincrease the societal impact of the innovation process outcomes The project’s main outputs will be focused on new innovative solutions through:                   - new projects to deliver Digital services and processes                   - improved governance by delivering innovative payment systems, integrating                     local initiatives with smart regional strategy, and evaluating Artificial Intelligence tools
Lead Partner: European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology
With the DIGITAL REGIONS project, eight European regions are working together to address a common challenge: how to best adapt innovation policies to support the manufacturing sector as a result of the emergence of Industry 4.0 (I4.0). The main objective of the DIGITAL REGIONS partnership is to, by 2022, achieve a 15% increase of the number of SMEs from manufacturing sector cooperating with other innovation actors in the participant regions to implement I4.0 solutions as a result of improved innovation policies. “All partner regions have manufacturing as a smart specialisation priority. DIGITAL REGIONS partnership present the right mix of organisations regarding innovation value-chain, including public managing authorities, universities, I4.0 Centres of competence and business development intermediaries”, explains Jose Manuel San Emeterio, Project Leader.  Project partners will cooperate together and will propose measures to facilitate improved I4.0 policy cooperation between regions, increased SMEs participation and availability of I4.0 skills.  DIGITAL REGIONS aims to benefit all stakeholders in each region’s innovation ecosystem, i.e. innovation policy makers, SMEs that use I4.0 solutions, suppliers of I4.0 services, universities and innovation centres.   Are you interested in the project? Don’t hesitate to contact us! 
Lead Partner: Regional Council of Päijät-Häme
A step forward towards attractive Next2Met regions Who are we?  Next2Met is an innovative interregional exchange project which aims at increasing attractiveness - for knowledge, opportunities, and capital - of territories located close to metropolitan areas. The project brings together 6 regional and local actors and 1 Advisory Partner sharing this common challenge and working together to implement policy solutions: “Soft digitalisation measures to increase attractiveness of Next2Met regions • Regional Council of Päijät-Häme, Finland• Ecoplus. The Business Agency of Lower Austria, Austria• Barcelona Provincial Council, Spain• Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, Ireland• Podlaskie Voivodship, Poland• WITENO GmbH, Germany                                                        • Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR), France This 3.5 year-long project started on 1 August 2019 and was officially launched in Brussels early September and will last until January 2023. Why? Compared to capital regions, ‘next to met’ areas are confronted with a lack of tools and critical mass of research, development and innovation, and therefore struggle with keeping experienced small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as highly-qualified people in the region. Next2Met focuses on these territories surrounding metropolitan areas because they not only offer benefits, but are also bottlenecks to attracting and retaining knowledge, people and capital. Overall objective In this context, Next2Met aims at improving policy instruments (ERDF Operational Programme and 2 local instruments) through interregional learning processes in 6 different regions. To achieve this, Next2Met partners will focus on soft digitalisation measures, making sure that public policy supports an increased attractiveness of its territories. Each of those regions will see projects financed which will promote innovation chain involvement and mobilise structural and local funds. Digitalisation, cooperation and specialisation are the cornerstones that form the basis of regional growth and this project aims to support the regions involved to fully exploit the potential in order to become more attractive “next to met” areas.
Lead Partner: Autonomous Province of Trento
Six European partners collaborate in the framework of the Interreg Europe Program for the implementation of DIALOG. The project has the objective to improve the effectiveness of innovative policies for regional competitiveness through the involvement of local stakeholders in the policy decision. DIALOG will analyze and exchange experiences and good practices in the field of social innovation. The aim is to define action plans to promote a real participation of the social partners and citizens in the definition and implementation of the innovation ERDF investments. The present condition to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of innovation policies funded by the ERDF operative programme is creating a real social consensus around these policies. Policies have to be enhanced through more widespread bottom-up participation. The citizens in most experiences objectively remained, at the edge of decision and implementation processes. Conversely, innovation policies based on new technological vision and intended to produce added value, need to reach acceptance by all the stakeholders, citizens included. DIALOG project has the aim to improve the effectiveness of innovative policies for regional competitiveness through the creation of a model that involve the social partners and citizens in the local policy implementation This model have to be define through the networking, negotiation and exchange that involve all the local stakeholders not only in the design but also in all the stages of local policy implementations. DIALOG project through the analysis and exchange of the best good practices in the field of social dialog want guarantee a real participation of the local stakeholders and citizens in the definition and implementation of the innovation ERDF investments.