Mainstreaming Innovative Instruments for SME development in Europe

 

Good Practice- “Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece”

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Presentation of the Good Practice: “Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece”

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PRACTICE

1. TITLE OF THE PRACTICE
Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece (RIP-WG)

2. LOCATION OF GOOD PRACTICE

Region of Western Greece (RWG), Greece

3. PRECISE THEME/ISSUE TACKLED BY THE PRACTICE

To organize and strengthen the bonds between the Research/Technological and Enterprise Institutions of the Region of Western Greece (RWG) by initiating and implementing activities that will enhance the technological and innovation performance of the RWG and the SMEs of the Region will become more competitive.

Region of Western Greece include well known scientific, research and technological entities, with many innovative organizations, Knowledge Producing Organizations, such as the University of Patras, Greek Open University, Research Institutes (RACTI, FORTH/ICEHT, ISI) and Technological Education Institutions. There are also Innovative Enterprises mainly of ICT sector and there are also other Enterprises in absolute need of innovation for their viability and growth. It is common faith between the participating actors in the RIP-WG the central role of Knowledge–Education for business dexterity and supporting Innovation.

The participating institutes that collaborate to execute the RIP-WG targets represent the critical mass of the RWG’s technological potential. It should be mentioned that into the RIP-WG participate all the regional structures of innovation. This fact ensures its success, with coordinative – unionist role by Patras Science Park (PSP). RIP-WG gives the possibility to the participating institutions to apply integrated approach for the promotion of innovation in regional level combined with the particular financial instruments

4. KEY WORDS
Innovation, Technology Transfer, SMEs, Research Institutions.

5. OBJECTIVES OF THE PRACTICE

The three priority axis of the project are:

Axis I. Technologies of Computing and Communications

  • Computing-Telecommunications: Security of calculating systems and networks. Incorporated calculating, telecommunications and controlling systems. Interactive services for the public. Computing and telecommunications (broadband networks).
  • Transports: International combined transports.

Axis II. Safety and Technologies of Foods

  • Certification of major competitive agriculture, livestock, and piscatorial products.
  • Technologies and quality of foods: Quality of agricultural products and piscicultures.

Axis III. Environmental Management and Protection

  • Clean and renewable forms of energy.
  • Energy-saving technologies in buildings.
  • Economizing on natural resources with the use of new advanced materials.
  • Management of infrastructures and environmental repercussions.
  • Management and exploitation of waste

6. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRACTICE
6.1  Origin/background

The creation of a Regional Innovation Pole aims to the strengthening of the bonds between regional research, technological and business partners. The Region of Western Greece (RWG) contains all the above factors in high density. The strengthening of their links, together with the further development of the infrastructure and activities concerning innovation and applied research, may lead to an important expansion of knowledge-based businesses.

Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece (RIP-WG) created under the supervising authority General Secretariat for Research & Technology, Ministry of Development. RIP-WG played an intermediate and facilitator role between the research institutions of the region and the SMEs, to transfer the existing knowledge and innovation from the Institutes to the enterprises of the region.

Despite the internationalization of business activities and the development of international partnerships, innovation and R&T continue to a great extent to de developed locally through the cooperation between SMEs and research institutes. These collaborations tend to be more effective when the partners who develop them cooperate in such a way that their joint actions and international recognisability are used wisely, thus acquiring an important technological and commercial feature.

The theoretical background for the creation of Regional Innovation Poles based on the cross-correlation of two basic notions for the development and improvement of business dexterity of SMEs: the networks of innovation (clusters) and the cooperative networks (networking). It is a fact that both of them are new tools for supporting regional development, via the activation, diffusion and extension of locally produced knowledge. These two notions are focused in effective learning and in the disposal of all types of knowledge (tacit knowledge, coded, scientific or empiric) in different territorial or organisational structures.

6.2  Timescale
1/11/2006 until 15/12/2008

6.3  Bodies involved
– Small and Medium Enterprises of Western Greece
– Research Institutes
– Universities
– Technological Educational Institutes
– Regional Authorities
– Chambers of Commerce
– Organizations that promote innovation to SMEs










6.4. Problem tackled
Initially, the SMEs of the region were conservative to adopt new methods and innovations. Furthermore, considering the great number of participants, in the first period appeared some problems related to the coordination of all the simultaneously activities.

It is more than essential to support acts of collaboration and strengthen partnership between institutions which can be characterized as rather individualist and lacking common vision which would bring added value to everyone. Mentality is a major factor which needs to be tackled and horizontal actions by the RIP, related to strategies and informal connections, and an overall promotion of the district are vital in order to show the region potential.  Some Weaknesses:

  • Lack of collaborations-rapport: Development and projection of collaborations – the most that ever took place in the RWG- between institutions,
    researchers and businessmen.
  • Individualism – unproductive mentalities: Projection of common visions that give added value to all.
  • Viability of structure: Growth of vital and sensory organs in the body of IP-WG.

5.  Target of the practice
The creation of the Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece refers in essence to the strengthening of the bonds between research, technological and business partners. Main objective was the activation of all the regional, research and educational organizations and business, for the first time in this region under the same project, so that through their collaboration, the whole region to obtained important advantages. The region of Western Greece (RWG) contains all the above factors in high density. The strengthening of their links, with the further development of the infrastructure and activities concerning innovation and applied research, may lead to an important expansion of knowledge-based businesses.

For this reason the creation and development of the Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece was expected to decrease the difference in innovation rates between the RWG and the EU average and to increase competitiveness on an international level.

The targets set by the creation of RIP-WG are :

1. Unifying the forces of businesses, research centers and educational partners in order to develop activities dedicated to common final research or technological goals or to tackling common problems in a certain field.

2. Attributing, in the mid-run, a determining role to the private sector in terms of the development and competitiveness of the country. It should bear in mind the severe challenges faced in this sector, as to technological innovations, the speed with which they spread and the cost of application, as well as the level of competition which rises to a European and International standard.

3. Demonstrating, in the mid-run, the particular competitive advantages of the RWG and a long-term reduction of inequalities between regions. The present work aimed to support technological skills and distinctions in the major regional technological centers. This would lead to stimulate regional competitiveness, through enhancement of research, technological and innovation activities of the area, as well as relating activities of organizations and businesses which play an important role in these fields.

6.6  Target groups
Small and Medium enterprises, located in the Region of Western Greece, whose activities are common with the tree priority axes of the Regional Innovation Pole

6.7. Detailed content of the practice
All the activities of the participants in the project lied in the field of each one’s expertise in order to complement the objectives of the project. There were scientists in the laboratories at universities who transferred their research results into the SMEs. Furthermore, there were work teams that implemented the horizontal activities and all the promoting and dissemination actions (workshops, announcements in the newspapers and television, connection and networking with other national Innovation Poles, collaboration with Innovation poles of abroad). Moreover there was the administration team that coordinated the whole project (financial activities, communication with the Ministry, responsible for the timely delivery of the reports)

More specifically:
– Research & technological development consortium in priority areas for the Region
– Strengthening the infrastructures of public research and technological organisations
– Activities in preparation of assistance to research units in connection with the standardisation and commercial exploitation of research results
– Creation of Regional Technological Platforms
– Education – Training
– Horizontal Activities (HA)

Except for the research part of the project that took place at the Universities and Research Institution, there must be mentioned the importance of the Horizontal Activities of the project which were an important factor for the viability and further development of the Pole. An expertise team of Patras Science Park implemented the horizontal activities.

More specifically,:
– The Identification of the entity of Regional Innovation Pole of Western Greece
– Creation of a dynamic Developmental Plan of the project
– Networking with Region and authorities
– Internationalization of the Pole and regional business
– Strengthening of technological innovativon and competitiveness of regional entreprises
– Strategic Options Development Plan of RIP

6.8. Legal framework

Consortium of stakeholdersof the Region

  • Important productive organisations, with absolute  emphasis on SMEs (participation of 60 businesses), among them:

Dynacomp SA, Infonet Ltd, E-codes SA, Ioniki Techn. Ltd, Sigma Shipping SA, Traction Transport Ltd, OLPA SA, Achaia Clauss SA, Kepenou Mills SA, Parthenon SA, Agrino Pistiolas SA, SAO SA, ADVENT Techn. SA, HELBIO SA, Blue Dev. Ltd, Inacces Networks SA, Triaina SA, Metalloplastiki Agriniou SA, PAVIPLAST SA, UNISOL SA, IQ Res. Dev, Aratos SA, Syrmet Ltd, Achaiki Corrab. Bank, etc.

  • ALL the institutions of production of knowledge, research and technology.

(University of Patras, Hellenic Open University, Research Institutes: RACTI, FORTH/ICEHT, ISI and Technological Institutions: TEI of Patras and Mesolonghi),

  • ALL existing structures of transfer of research, technology and innovation.

(Patras Science Park-PSP, Business Innovation Center -BIC) and other institutions (Regional Development Fund- RDF of RWG, Regional Association of Enterprises and Industries, Prefecture Enterprises for Development, etc.).

6.9. Financial framework
TOTAL BUDGET:                      4.392.662.54 euro
PUBLIC EXPENDITURE :        3.266.964,57 euro
PRIVATE PARTICIPATION:        1.125.698 euro

7. EVALUATION
7.1. Results and outputs of the practice (e.g. through indicators)
The creation and initial operation of the RIP-WG was completed, it offered important products and services, through several research consortiums, through enhance of infrastructures, the creation of enterprises of exploitation of knowledge, actions of education – training, the creation of specific technology platform and targeted horizontal activities.

7.2. Main strengths (success factors)
– Participation of all Research and Technological Institutions of RWG.
– Collaboration with Leaders of the Private Sector.
– Unifying role held by the Patras Science Park.
– Building the future upon the major competitive advantages of RWG.
– Demonstration of people’s dexterities and abilities.
– Creation of infrastructures.
– The role of the Region in the management of innovation is strengthened.

7.3  Main weaknesses
– Lack of cooperation- understanding: Development and promotion of broad cooperation among authorities, researchers, entrepreneurs
– Individualism-bad attitudes: Promotion of common vision that of proves added value to all of them.

7.4  Difficulties encountered
Because of the great number of participants there was much bureaucracy

7.5  Lessons learned from the practice
SMEs have to be more “open-minded” in new directions, and scientists more available in transferring their knowledge.

7.6  Recommendations for improvement
Less bureaucracy and more projects that will join different entities under the same target.

8. OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION

www.innopolewest.gr, www.psp.org.gr

9. CONTACT

Regional Content Manager
Prof. Petros Groumpos
Tel: +30 2610 911 551 
E-mail: groumpos@psp.org.gr

Contact Person 1
Prof Vagelis Papadakis 
Tel:+30 2610 911 571
E-mail: vgp@psp.org.gr

Contact Person 2
Prof. Chrysostomos Stylios 
Tel: +30 2610 911 553
E-mail: stylios@psp.org.gr







Feb, 8 2010 Comments Closed | Clusters, Good Practices, Western Greece

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