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Lead Partner: DEV'UP Centre-Val de Loire "until 31/12/2016 Centre-Val de Loire Regional Innovation Agency"
How can we stimulate European businesses, knowledge institutes, and relevant partners to join forces to discover new ideas which could lead to innovation? That is the central question in Beyond EDP, a European Interreg project formed by eleven partners from nine countries.  Stimulating crossovers The entrepreneurial discovery process(EDP) is a process of continual interaction between businesses, knowledge institutes and, preferably, users, which aids the developments of new ideas and discoveries ("entrepreneurial discoveries"); discoveries which, if focused and supported in mutual cohesion, can grow to become a coherent palette of innovations, eventually becoming new economic strengths.  The Beyond EDP project aims to strengthen the entrepreneurial discovery process in Europe, boosting the Regional Innovation smart specialisation strategy (RIS3, in short) adopted by Europe in 2014. Knowledge institutes and businesses need each other for innovation and to turn that innovation into saleable products and practical applications. SMEs can fulfil an important role here. Among SMEs are leaders, developers, early adopters, and followers. Most companies can be classed as followers, meaning that innovation is far from a priority for many entrepreneurs. How do we stimulate innovation among these SMEs? Many European regions are faced with this problem; the Beyond EDP project was launched in 2014 for that reason. The participants share their knowledge and experience in various ways, including peer to peer reviews, joining forces to discover the success factors for stimulating innovation. They also want to know what they, as public authorities and management organisations, can do to facilitate that for companies and knowledge institutes, using tools such as financial stimulation. The aim is to create interesting crossovers on the intersections between sectors. Creating space for spontaneous ideas Various innovation environments have been created in the European regions in recent years, often supported by the ERDF Operational Programme: hubs and campuses where businesses and knowledge institutes can work on "entrepreneurial discovery" together. Sometimes together at physical locations, but often also through virtual collaboration.   This already forms a part of the RIS3: the intention to create structures throughout Europe where cohesive innovation projects can constantly be developed. The idea is that bringing entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes, and users together will form a creative space where new ideas and discoveries can thrive. The themes and schools of thought must not be decided in advance. It is intended to allow ideas to spontaneously emerge from the dynamism that develops between the parties. Focused and cohesive support can help those ideas grow into promising new economic initiatives. Europe still has a lot of room for improvement   Europe still has a long way to go in this area. The number of innovation projects needs to increase, the cohesion between innovation environments could be better, and many more business from many different sectors could join these types of initiatives.   The Beyond EDP participants want to stimulate enthusiasm for innovation in their own region, bolstering the development of new creative environments everywhere, where businesses and institutes can continually raise ideas and find out which ones have the most potential. Those ideas can then receive focused support and be further developed into concrete initiatives. These are often niches: new ideas formed by clustering and contact between companies which may never have collaborated before because they are working on completely different things. Beyond EDP: a key project for Europe The Beyond EDP project addresses the core of the European innovation strategy, making it a key project for achieving the goal that Europe wishes to achieve by 2020: an economy based on smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth(growth in which everyone has a fair share, and which therefore does not come at the cost of minority groups and stragglers). The Beyond EDP project stimulates relationships and cross-connections between regions, as well as between businesses, knowledge institutes, and other stakeholders.   The trick is to make innovation everyone's business. Not only for large companies, but also for smaller SME companies, whether they are focused on high tech or on craftsmanship. Not only in the cities, but also in the countryside. Entrepreneurial discovery comes to life in creative environments. The more parties that meet each other, the broader the creativity and the greater the chance of creating something new which, in turn, leads to other new ideas. Innovation, by definition, requires teamwork.
Lead Partner: Regional Development Agency of the West Region Romania (West RDA)
The food sector as a whole is faced with major challenges that arise from changes in the sector´s economic and non-economic environments. The availability of safe, sustainable and healthy food has taken a new and pressing dimension in the light of an ever-growing global population and increasing environmental and sustain¬ability concerns. Technology has already substantially re-shaped the business models, value chains and efficiencies in this sector, but a new wave of driven innovation is needed to give response to this new demand. A special feature of the food production sector in Europe is that the 99% of the enterprises, generating 50% of the turnover, are SMEs. These current challenges cannot be met by any individual enterprise but require concerted actions and coordination of initiatives. Aware of the role that innovation may have in giving response to this demanding sector, the NICHE project wish to realize its potential by effectively promoting policies in 7 European regions where food has been identified as a key sector to apply existing research and innovation strengths. By working together the NICHE partnership aims, by 2019 and through the improvement of existing policies, achieve an average 15 % increase in the adoption of research and innovation solutions by food sector companies in their regions to give response to the demand of this sector identified as high-potential sector for their smart growth. In doing so is key the creation of the right conditions to maximize all this existing potential in the way of establishing effective open innovation ecosystems, at both regional and interregional level, that will bring together all the relevant actors to facilitate technology and knowledge exchange that will be translated in new products and services. The project will establish these ecosystems that will last beyond the NICHE's lifecycle and where involved stakeholders will benefit of a more effective and productive way of collaboration.
Lead Partner: Galician Health Knowledge Agency (ACIS)
European population is ageing rapidly. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 14% in 2010 to 25% in 2050. Advances in science and technology contribute to prolong people lifespan, but unfortunately that does not mean they will be healthier. In its headline strategic document “EU2020 Strategy”, the EC has identified active and healthy ageing as a major societal challenge common to all European Countries. The TITTAN project (Network for Technology, Innovation and Translation in Ageing) aims to tackle that challenge, by improving the quality and performance of the European regional healthcare systems in relation with the healthy and active ageing. Its specific objective is to exchange, benchmark and implement good practices and measures in 7 European regions about policies which can foster the design, up-taking and use of innovative technology-based products/solutions. The TITTAN learning approach is focused on 3 Thematic Areas (TAs): how to uptake innovative health products/services through new public procurement practices (PCP and PPI); how to promote the establishment of innovation ecosystems in the health sector; how to raise citizen´s awareness about using new technologies for improving quality of life.The project is promoted by a well-balanced partnership, which involves 7 European regions: Galicia (lead partner), Basque Country, Scotland, the Metropolitan Area of Amsterdam, Lombardy, Saxony and Lower Silesia. The strong ties among them - coming from the cooperation in previous projects and the active participation in the EIP-Active and Healthy Ageing – represents an added-value for the partnership. TITTAN will contribute to improve 7 regional policy instruments. all of them are linked to the EU Structural Funds. Thus,TITTAN will provide partner regions with the opportunity to orientate the spending process of the Structural Funds towards some of the most-effective and result-oriented policy practices for healthy and active ageing.
Lead Partner: Aragonese Federation of Municipalities, Regions and Provinces (FAMCP)
In the current European context, SMEs located far from urban areas meet the challenge not only to grow but also to survive. The improvement of their innovation capacity is essential to promote the regional economical development and to fight against rural exodus. By helping rural SMEs to consolidate themselves to overcome of the barriers to their growth and competitiveness is a challenge for the regional innovation policies. The RATIO aims to identify the innovative potential of these companies and help them to grow and expand their activities through: a learning process to implement and manage innovation This must be done by creating effective exchange of experiences in supporting cluster cooperation and international alliances, netwotks and clusters. This exchange of experiences among regional actors will be followed by the transfer of the lesson learnt to the regional programmes. The project will contribute to reinforce the innovation culture in the region boosting innovative ecosystems where actors (regional and local authorities and innovation partners) and stakeholders (associations, academia, regional governments…) can work together in the Action plan to reach the needed policy change for the consolidation of innovative companies in non metropolitan areas.
Lead Partner: Office of the Regional Government of Lower Austria
High regional expenditure on R&D does not necessarily lead to innovation and increased regional competitiveness if the regional economy is hampered by insufficient exploitation of its own R&D results and from a lack of access to public R&D results. Increasing SMEs’ competitiveness is at the core of the InnoBridge project by improving the Innovation Bridge and related policy instruments for SMEs: “Bridging the innovation gap through converting R&D results into commercial success in a more effective and efficient way”. This enables SMEs to better realise their innovation potential and to act as a catalyst for creating more high qualified jobs and regional growth. The partnership consists of 9 partners from 8 regions in 8 countries spread over Europe with a balance of advanced and less advanced regions. Project phase 1 (3 years) is dedicated to an intensive interregional exchange and learning process on the Innovation Bridge with involvement of regional stakeholders (Peer Reviews, Study Visits, Capacity Building Workshops, Staff Exchanges). This approach facilitates the development of Action Plans, which are implemented in phase 2 (2 years). Strong involvement of the responsible authorities for the 8 addressed policy instruments – as direct partner or as stakeholder group member – ensures the durability of the implemented improvements and the long-term impact on SMEs’ innovativeness in the partner regions. All instruments are part of RIS3, 7 instruments are dealing with Structural Funds. An estimated total amount of 30.4 M EUR, influenced through InnoBridge implementation demonstrates the strong leverage effect for regional and European policies as added value. The InnoBridge Concept Paper with InnoBridge methodology, Good Practice knowledge pool and lessons learnt, summarises the exchange and learning process and is disseminated EU wide. The project is supported by intensive communication activities like website, newsletters, social media and 2 conferences.