ZSI proudly presents Danube-INCO.NET outputs

25. Jun 2015

Danube-INCO.NET first period of activity ended on April 30 and several results are now available.

The work of ZSI and the whole Danube-INCO.NET project team has so far aimed at supporting the policy dialogue established in the EUSDR Priority Area Steering Groups "Knowledge Society" (PA7) and "Competitiveness" (PA8) when it comes to Research and Innovation. In this respect, we have been analysing key stakeholders in the Region (by describing their activities, positions and good practices) so as to provide inputs for strategic decision making and creation of synergies and cooperation potentials. Analytical work was also carried out to support the better exploitation of existing initiatives and programmes - analysing 40 stakeholders, best practices and potential synergies leading to enhanced exploitation and possible harmonization. Stakeholders are envisaged to get engaged in a multilateral dialogue with each other to discuss the recommendations:

Danube-INCO.NET has also specifically aimed at improving the potential of the Danube Region for research and innovation in the fields of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in a Bio-based Economy. Our activities led to a thorough Database of stakeholders active in these fields that is being constantly upgraded to create concrete cooperation activities and international partnerships. In parallel a Report on available funds for promoting R&D and Innovation on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energies and Bio-economy in the Danube Region was finalised to show how both R&D energy efficiency projects and related innovation policy measures can be financed in the region. For R&D and innovation projects, the EC programme HORIZON 2020 is the most relevant source of funding. Other programmes, such as e.g., the European Territorial Cooperation and EUREKA, were analysed and are presented in this report. Open calls for funding are available at the Danube-INCO.NET portal.

A study that scrutinises both the co-publications and the co-patents in Danube Region Countries (DRC) and the Western Balkan countries (WBC) for the years of 2003-2013 was delivered by ZSI in order to provide a solid base for the identification of intra-regional thematic strengths and collaboration patterns, to bring to the fore the most active players and existing “hot” links between R&I institutions. In general, the DRC’s share of international co-publications is between 40-50%. Smaller countries tend to have a higher share, which is not surprising. Moreover, the share of intra-regional co-publication activity in the region’s overall co-publication activity is also between 40-50 %. The analysis of the thematic areas of co-publications revealed a focus on Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry, Biomedical Research. The region's patent application output is comparatively strong in the 'mechanical engineering', textiles, 'operations and transport' and, to some degree, the ‘fixed constructions’ area.

Additionally, an analysis of R&I projects in the region was carried out looking for results with transferability potential for the Danube Region. In such a context 245 results of 75 EU projects funded in the period 2007 - 2013 were described in four main areas: 1) cluster development; 2) techology transfer; 3) financing mechanisms and tools; 4) non-financing methods and tools for supporting research and innovation. The objective has eventually been the selection of most relevant success stories with significant relevance for transferring know-how, methods, schemes and tools to the Danube Region in implementation of research and innovation strategies and targets set on the macro-regional level.

A survey for identifying those social, political and economic bottlenecks as to S&T cooperation in the Danube region was conducted and the related study on Barriers to cooperation in the Danube Region was recently disclosed. Corresponding policy recommendations have been developed by the partners involved. The main focus of the study is on identification of the factors which hamper the international RTDI cooperation in the Danube region as well as the differences in perception of barriers between group of countries in the Danube region. The analysis resulted in the following classification of barriers: personal barriers; administrative and bureaucratic barriers; institutional support barriers; capacity barriers on the country level; barriers to scientific excellence; socio-cultural and political barriers; and project management barriers. The results revealed the statistically significant difference in the perception of the barriers between groups of countries in the Danube region while the barriers relating to the capacity on the country level and the barriers relating to the project management are perceived as the most important with regard to the RTDI cooperation among the Danube Region countries. 

Danube-INCO.NET also targeted the innovation policy in the region through support of smart specialisation strategies and peer review - lead by the JRC Institute for Prospective Technology Studies. In this context the Matchmaking and Information Exchange Report informs on tools advancing collaboration in RIS3 process and explores possible R&I cooperation and matchmaking opportunities along the DR. Based on data for 13 countries and 4 regions in the Danube Area, the analysis reveals 4 main fields of cooperation (KRTs, ICT, sustainable innovation and health).

In parallel the project partners have also addressed the challenge of innovation & technology transfer (I&TT) and outlined a scheme for creating and implementing technology transfer centres in the Danube region - the so-called Danube Transfer Centres (DTCs). Both a concept with tool-kit for DTC creation and implementation was delivered and an analysis containing also general and comprehensible methodology of how to develop a DTC network in the entire area of the EUSDR. The analysis identified 16 more organisations as appropriate or with interest towards the setting up of a DTC.

Danube-INCO.NET finally provided support to the identification of targeted proposals with expected impacts for the implementation of the EUSDR. In this framework the PA7 – Knowledge Society Steering Group launched a Pilot Phase for labelling of Danube Region proposals in view of the H2020-TWINN-2015 call. A concrete outline of process for labelling for projects was developed while first outcomes of the pilot phase are now available.

Research and innovation support initiatives are being promoted also through a more institutional/technical way. Discussions are ongoing and the project team is working on a report aiming at assessing the potential of coordinated multinational funding initiatives of the Danube Countries and the EC (e.g. towards a possible Article 185 TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) initiative under H2020). The investigation on a possible DR Research and Innovation Fund (DRRIF) is being taken into account. A final version of the report is forseen for 2016  as it depends on the development of important parallel activities (DRRIF Working group, DRRIF Feasibility study, etc.).

To stay informed on the project achievements and on RTD and innovation dynamics in the Danube Region follow the Danube-INCO.NET portal as well as the social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

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