More than 50 representatives coming from over 40 European Regions met on 21st November in Brussels to participate in the international conference “Strengthening Innovation in the European Maritime Sector”, organized by AREA Science Park in cooperation with the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region’s Liaison Office.
The main topic of the day was the chance to agree at European regions' level on actions capable of developing the sector of marine engineering and yachting, since these are going to be areas of strong economic interest both today and in the future. Presently, the sector sells products for over €11 billion, features 150 shipyards and employs 400,000 people.
Useful cues on how to find out new strategies and implement effective policies for the enhancement of the existing strong points were offered by the results obtained within the EC project known as NOVAregio.
the Speakers (download here the speakers presentations)
Gabriele Gatti, Head of Institutional Relations and Networks of AREA Science Park, underlined that “NOVAregio (www.novaregio.net), by carrying out studies and preparing technical publications, has contributed to enrich at European level the wide debate on the role of regions as driving forces for innovation”. The meeting hosted the presentation of a manual comparing regional innovation policies. The manual contains 11 paths already experimented on the basis of their high-value territorial impact and of the possibility to repeat them in other contexts.
the NOVAREGIO Partners with the EC Project Officer
“Among the results produced by NOVAregio – as Gabriele Gatti highlighted – the development of a new project idea needs mentioning. The project will begin in the near future and its purpose will be connecting three territorial areas: Slovenia, the County of Rijeka and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, to activate a maritime mega-cluster of research centres, manufacturing companies, public administration and innovation promoters, with the aim of making up a common research agenda equipped with an joint action plan, well supported by both national and European financing. The idea fits perfectly into the orientations recently established by the EC with its October 2007 communication launching the blue paper “An Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU”.
The meeting held in Brussels also allowed to present in detail some interesting clusters that are already present on the European territory, such as the DITENAVE cluster in Italy and the “Marine South East” cluster in the UK which, for the number of players involved, are among the most important in Europe. Giorgio Perini, Head of Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Liaison Office in Brussels, explained that “particularly, the Friuli Venezia Giulia’s DITENAVE (Distretto Tecnologico Navale-Nautico – Shipping-Yachting Technology Cluster) connects and coordinates the public and the private sectors in the fields of research, innovation and training. The cluster aims at promoting and supporting the competitive growth of the shipbuilding and yachting line industry in Friuli Venezia Giulia”.
Moreover, Carol Tomas, permanent delegate in Brussels of the CPMR “Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions” network, underlined the importance of consultation at regional level to supply useful strategic advice to the EC. Particularly, thanks to the “Sea” project, which involved 50 coastal regions, strategies and options could be identified and partially collected in the abovementioned “Blue Book-An Integrated Maritime Policy for EU”.
The meeting ended with the presentation of the financing opportunities offered by the EC for the year 2008 within the “Regions of Knowledge” programme of the 7th Framework Programme. Brigitte Fellahi, call coordinator of the Regions of Knowledge programme, stated that “the EC will make available for tenders at least €10 Million by the end of 2007 to support the creation of a European culture of research-driven clusters, e.g. agglomerations of companies, research centres and regional administrations, capable of reaching the ambitious Lisbon targets more easily, by implementing actions targeted at increasing investments in R&D and innovation and improving the use of structural funds dedicated to innovation transfer at regional level, which almost reach € 50 Billion (this amount can be compared to the entire 7 EFP)”.