European Programmes Officer at Birmingham City Council, shares her thoughts and lessons from launch event.
The common challenge of Urban Manufacturing is to better support and develop a particular type of innovation infrastructure: collaborative maker spaces. These spaces are characterised as places where people from different disciplines work together to produce new products and services, and have sprung up throughout cities and regions. Examples include Fab Labs, Living Labs, Open Innovation Centres and Cross-Sector Incubators. However, such facilities often struggle to maximise their impact, due to issues such as segregated ecosystems, poor governance and challenging business/financial models.
The overall objective of Urban Manufacturing is to ensure that these spaces thrive. This will be achieved through identifying good practices in Urban Manufacturing; improving the related policy instruments in partner city/regions, and monitoring the effects. The partnership has identified three specific development themes in relation to collaborative maker spaces: 1) collaborative incubation; 2) investment in collaborative R&D; 3) commercialisation of collaborative innovation. Each theme has a grouping of cities/regions, who share that interest and will work together to make improvements through an iterative process of exchange of experience, peer review and action plan writing.
The expected changes are: an increase in the amount of ESIF funding for collaborative innovation; an increase in the number of enterprises engaging with collaborative maker spaces; greater integration for innovation infrastructure; and indicators to measure the impact of policies, ensuring sustainability.
The main outputs of the project will be 24+ Good Practices; 14 Study Visits; 8 Policy Clinics; 13 Peer Review Sessions; 8 Local Stakeholder Groups; and 8 city/region Action Plans. These will be delivered alongside a comprehensive programme of dissemination.
The beneficiaries of the project will include innovation actors, policy makers, enterprises, cluster managers and Fab Labs.
Research and innovation
The objective of the OP of the Lisbon region 2014-2020 is to strengthen research, technological development and innovation in the region.
Priority Investment No. 1b - Promotion of Business Investment in R&D, has a clear strand related to collaborative making, focusing on the development of connections between companies, research and development centres leading to applied pilot lines, early validation of products, first production and advanced production capabilities. Open innovaiton is seen as key, as is stimulating demand in networks and clusters. Of particular importance is the promotion of investment in new products and services developed in this way. Other areas of focus for the Priority include technology transfer, intelligent specialisation, support for technological research, enabling the dissemination of essential technologies, all alongside social and eco innovation, particlulary in situations which benefit the public.
This policy should be improved because Lisbon is looking to better connect its maker community to its research, technology and innovation base. Through this process it is posited that new strands of specialised, cooperative products will be created, stimulating the high-value economy. The knowledge generated will be shared with the corporate sector, improving networks within the regional innovation system. This will lead to increased business investment in R&D, developing value chains and opening up international markets.
Two Priority Axes of GBSLEP's ESIF programme directly relate to collaborate maker spaces:
Priority Axis 1: Strengthening Research, Technological Development and Innovation. Specifically:
* Building collaborative research between enterprises, research institutions and public institutions
* Physical infrastructure for innovation including incubation space for enterprises linked to research institutions
* Supporting businesses to commercialise research and development
Priority Axis 2: Stimulating Business and Enterprise. Specifically:
* Acces to physical space to encourage and support growth of enterprise, particularly through ... co-working spaces and approaches to enable grassroots design and manufacturing such as Fab Labs.
This policy instrument should be improved because GBSLEP is facing serious challenges in relation to innovation infrastructure, including:
* The low level of investment in innovation, despite a strong research base
* The low representation of high-value sectors in the innovation economy
The project will define how collaborative maker spaces can strengthen GBSLEP's approach to addressing these challenges, particularly through influencing key actions already defined in GBSLEP's Strategy for Growth:
* Putting in place the key enablers/infrastructure
* Stimulating demand for new products and services
* Promoting best practice in the management and governance of innovation
* Developing effective business networks
The overarching aim of the Operational Programme for Research and Innovation is to stimulate strutural change in the Slovak economy, based on excellence in research and innovation, to support sustainable growth, employment and quality of life. Specifically, the OP contains a number of strategic objectives which are closely related to the topic of collaborative maker spaces:
1. Through the cooperation of local supply chains, deepen the integration of key major industries, so increasing local value
2. Increase the contribution of research to economic growth
3. Create a dynamic, open and inclusive innovation society
The particular Priority Axis which Bratislava has chosen to address is:
Priority Axis 2: Supporting Research, Development and Innovation in the Bratislava region.
with Specific Objective 2.2.2. Enhancing Research, Development and Innovation capacities in industry and services in the Bratislava Region.
The policy instrument needs to be improved because Bratislava wishes to better support collaborative innovation districts, as a means of meeting the challenges posed by globalisation and the transition towards a knowledge economy. For example, through the development of inter-disciplinary information and communication technologies, which contribute to new forms of knowledge. The city wishes to identify and mobilise the specific resources and competences of the territory which will catalyse collaborative innovation and so enhance cluster activity.
Vilnius will specifically address the Investment Priority "Strengthening Research, Development and Innovation".
The main feature of this priority is that it is designed to develop and support 6 particular measures of R, D and I (Smart Specialisation):
1) Energy and sustainable development
2) Inclusive and Creative Society
3) Agro Innovations and Food Technologies
4) Health Technologies and Bio-Technology
6) Logistics and Information and Communication Technologies
The policy instrument needs to be improved because levels of investment into these areas is lower than EU average - the aim is for ESIF to invest 1.9% of GDP. The two specific methods defined to reach this goal have strong links to collaborative maker spaces:
a) Improve research and innovation infrastructure, and the capacity to use R&D technologies, as well as encouraging the activities of professional Centres of Excellence.
b) Encourage business investment in R&D, social innovations, cooperation between business, universities and research centres, and the production of innovative products and services. Establish and support networks and partnerships at national and international level.
The approach to addressing the policy instrument will be to identify opportunities for the Cultural and Creative Industries to collaborate with more 'typical' R,D & I organisations, generating innovations, opening funding opportunities and allowing cultural operators better access to innovation infrastructure.
The main objective of the policy instrument selected by Zagreb is to encourage the devlopment of craftsmanship and small and medium sized enterprises within the city. Clearly, this aligns with the aims of Urban Manufacturing, in being focused on making in a city context. Currently this programme runs from 2013 - 2017, but through the project the city will seek to improve future iterations.
The policy instrument emerged from Zagreb's commitment to provide a nurturing business environment, particularly in preparing cratfspeople and entrepreneurs for the conditions of global markets. The City undertook research with trade organisations and other stakeholders, which further specified their needs. It also took into account exisiting strategic documents governing small businesses and the Development Strategy of the City of Zagreb (ZAGREBPLAN), the latter of which identified the main directions for activity in the field of craftmanship and provided a framework for incentive mechanisms.
Improvements are required because better alignment is needed between the policy instrument and the ESIF Operational Programme. The latter, for the period 2014-20 will feature an ITI (Integrated Territorial Investment instrument for Urban Development) and defining synergies will allow for more efficient treatment of collaborative innovation infrastructure.
The Basque Country OP 2014-2020 sets our the strategy and objectives for involvement in ERDF operations. It is organised according to identified regional needs designed to achieve smart growth. Specifically, San Sebastian will focus on Priority 1 of the OP, which is concerned with Strengthening and Promoting the RDI system in line with the Basque RIS3.
Within this Priority, Axis 1 addresses the need to strengthen and boost the RDI system in line with the Basque RIS3, concentrating on supporting investment by companies in Research and Innovation, and prioritising interventions which create a productive Innovation ecosystem. Of particular importance are those types of support which encourage business to collaborate with the actors if the Basque Science and Technology Network.
Further specific policy areas are:
IP1.2 Promotion of Investment by Businesses in R&I - development of linkages and synergies between businesses, research centres and higher education, in particular technology transfer, innovation platforms, innovation infrastructures, creation of innovative SMEs, networking, clusters and open innovation through RIS3.
SO1.2.1. Boosting and promoting R&I-led businesses, supporting the creation and consolidation of innovative firms.
This policy instrument needs to be improved as regional innovation actors currently lack a well-developed set of tools to enable collaboration.
Lazio Region proposes to focus on Priority Axis 1 "Research and Innovation" (OT1), Priority Number 6 "Instruments for Innovation and Creative Start-Ups".
This action 1.4.1 addresses new innovative and creative enterprises in the region, providing loans for start-up and growth. It also encompasses actors and organisations capabale of offering financial support to facilitate the development of start-ups, such as incubators, consultancies and traning providers. Additionally, it covers the application of knowledge and research, with spin-off activities in line with smart specialisation.
This action contains specific objectives for the Lazio Region, including:
* Promoting and sustaining at least 500 innovation and creative start-ups
* Creating interventions in at least 25 start-ups to help them pass to the second phase of growth
* Enhancing the generation and support of innovation and creative start-ups by strengthening private business incubators/accelerators
The policy instrument needs to be improved as Lazio Region is looking to develop links between its innovative and creative enterprises and the wider European maker movement. Through understanding where synergies lie with project partners, they hope to develop a clear dimension of European added value, encouraging trade agreements with collaborative maker spaces across partner cities/regions, leveraging in opportunities to internationalise and innovate, with a particular interest in the impact on traditional sectors.
The Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU cohesion Policy 2014-2020 is a centralised OP for the territorial development of Slovenia, covering 11 Thematic Objectives. Within Urban Manufacturing, the aim is to adopt Goal 1: Fostering Research, Technology Development and Innovation
The specific Priority will be 2.1: “International competitiveness of Research, Innovation and Technology Development in cooperation with smart specialisation and bigger competitiveness for green economy, with a focus on sub priority 2.1.3: "Improvement of the Infrastructure for Research and Innovation and competences for the development of excellence in Research and Innovation, aligned with promotion of competence centres, especially in the European interest".
The Policy Instrument needs to be improved because, whilst investment in R&D has so far created a good environment for innovation, there is a need to put more emphasis on the usage of R&D infrastructure to better support collabroative innovation processes, particularly in relation to the economy and public sector. This will allow the exploration of market potentials. Exisiting R&D infrastructure and partnerships (including maker communities) will be used to foster the transfer of knowledge, improving and developing new approaches to cooperation between the research base and economy, in line with smart specialisation. Within this, creative & cultural industries, different areas of science and the economy play a vital role.
European Programmes Officer at Birmingham City Council, shares her thoughts and lessons from launch event.
The first event for the Urban M project saw project leaders from across Europe arrive in Birmingham for two full days of knowledge sharing.
Project Director Dr. Steve Harding, Birmingham City University, on the thinking that led to the Urban M project.