Agri & food: engine for regional change

Brand new pan-European project STRING improves the performance of regional development instruments and programmes in building strong agrifood innovation systems across Europe and promotes agrifood innovation clusters as testbeds of co-creation and cooperation in the agrifood production sector.

The provision of smart, healthy and sustainable food is a top priority in Europe. The liveliness and dynamism of some European regions depend on the level of activity in the agrifood sector. STRING boosts competitiveness of agrifood companies through innovation and international development stressing (new) clusters and cooperations.

The agri & food industry is a challenging driver for regional innovation and growth. STRING unifies European regions sharing the ambition to improve the (international) competitive capacity of their agrifood clusters. Because those clusters have enormous economic and societal impact; today and tomorrow!

 Inspirational testbeds across Europe

All STRING-regions have been renown for their food production traditions, and for their innovation potentials. They all are engaged in food innovation and production in different roles. The overall objective of the partners - independent from their development level and the strength of cohesion in their regional food sectors – is to improve the performance and implementation efficiency of development policies and programmes related to food R&D&I and clusterization to promote innovation value chains for the sector. By deepening cluster integration and creating more added value - contributing to smart growth – each region will reach this ambition. A few inspiring testbeds across Europe to visit:

InnovationCamps (Central Denmark Region): Cooperation between SME’s, business academies and university colleges Innovation Camps is a way of establishing value added for education institutions, students and SME’s with innovation- ideas and/or ambitions. Creating a public-private triple helix partnership approach on building one coherent innovation ecosystem in Central Denmark Region (and Denmark).

Enjoy the taste of Alsace (Aria Alsace, France): Savourez l’Alsace® is a territorial brand of more than 2500 products from 50 different food companies, in accordance with specifications. The aim of creating a collective brand is to improve business for food industries. As a matter of fact, promoting a collective brand is more efficient and powerful than promoting several different brands even if they are strong in Alsace. This brand is available for every food business having their head office and production site located in Alsace.

The Pharmaplis Innovative Food Cluster (North Plain, Hungary): This food cluser operates the so-called ‘I-Bolt’ store. The aim of ‘I-Bolt’ is to develop and sell new products (bread, special cheese, pizza with sorghum, traditional ice creams, purple corn, frozen wine, LactoMicroSel® new form of selenium, etc.), which are developed in cooperation with the university and SMEs. In order to sell these new products, they created a shop and participate in exhibitions to meet consumers.

Regional Network of Technopoles (Emilia Romagna Regione, Italy): the CRPA LAB research unit in Reggio Emilia (Italy) operates in the agri-food sector, with activities to support the technological development in the areas of processing and transformation of food, and in the management of effluents and organic waste with the aim of producing renewable energy from biomass.

The Castilla y León Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network (Castilla y Leon, Spain) is a new way to stimulate and promote a more competitive regional economic model through smart specialization, relating all key actors of innovation: administrations, universities and business-technology centres.

Food Tech Brainpoirt (Province Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands) helps SMEs and larger SMEs to turn technology into money: technology used in the processing of plant waste, the extension of shelf life, and the separation of raw materials and/or waste streams. By doing so, we bring the best in food and technology (from the High Tech and Chemical industries, for instance) together.

Agrofood cluster Covasna (Central Region, Romania) is going to produce Europe’s first gluten-free fibres enriched natural mineral water developed by cooperation.