Made in Danube – Innovation Development in Bioeconomy in Danube Region

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Novac/Lidija Kiseljak/ writes on the 25th of August, 2020, Made in Danube – Transnational cooperation with the aim of transforming knowledge into marketable products and services for a sustainable society along the Danube of the future is a project with which Vukovar-Srijem County, within the category of Contribution to Science and Innovation, entered the finals of the selection for the best EU county project.

The project was implemented across ten Danube countries – Croatia, Germany, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Serbia and Slovenia, started on January the 1st, 2017 and ended on June the 30th, 2019.

The total value of the project stood at a massive 14,373,639.00 kuna, the amount of paid grants stood at 12,217,593.15 kuna, and 2,156,045.85 kuna came out of already existing funds.

The main goal of the project was to improve the conditions for cooperation between companies, scientific research institutions and public bodies in the field of innovation-based bioeconomy, which will be incorporated into products and services so that local scientific knowledge is available transnationally and the long-term transfer of knowledge, innovation and technology is achieved in the Danube region. This goal was realised through what is known as a quadruple helix approach.

Fifteen agreements

Through the project, fifteen innovation partnership agreements were signed and three innovation e-tools were developed – technological offers, technological requirements and the analysis of innovation potential, which allows for the identification of the needs of the companies involved, as well as the availability of local and national knowledge.

At the level of a consortium of ten project countries, thirty technology offers and 28 technology requirements were made and added to the platform with free access, the cooperation of forty companies with scientific research institutes was included, the further analysis of the situation related to innovation potential was conducted, as was the analysis of the innovation potential of entrepreneurship, a joint strategy for the transfer of knowledge into marketable products and services was developed for three regional initiatives – 3 Local Action Plans (smart agriculture, biofuels/bioenergy and the wood sector) and finally, the Danube Transnational Bioeconomy Network in the Danube Region was fully established.

The list of tasks in the Made in Danube local action plans was continuously being updated and the established contacts of scientific cooperation are continually maintained. In this way, it will contribute to the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises located in the south-eastern Danube region and create significant changes for the entire area, supporting regional smart specialisation strategies.

Training of different kinds was conducted within the project related to innovations in the bioeconomy, and stakeholders from the scientific research sector adopted the prerequisites needed for creating innovative solutions, while strengthening and developing the vision, knowledge, skills and abilities needed to meet current challenges in the innovation sector with regard to bioeconomics.

As part of the Made in Danube project’s initial implementation, the three aforementioned pilot initiatives in the field of bioeconomy were developed, one of which is the Local Action Plan for Sustainable Forestry, implemented by the Vukovar-Srijem County Development Agency.

Namely, this sector is gaining special importance in Vukovar-Srijem County through the internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises from the county, five innovation partnership agreements and sixteen cooperation agreements were signed between companies and scientific research institutes from the Danube region.

The implemented activities and the Local Action Plan (LAP) for the wood sector increased the use of renewable energy sources across the Eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, and it also encouraged the general public to develop and use new technologies and innovations in the wood industry, as well as the smart and sustainable use of local raw wood.

An important role of the project was to educate civil society, as well as involve experts and the general public in regard to innovation and possible solutions to problems in the wood sector at the regional level. The workshops contributed to strengthening links for the better acceptance of scientific results and the commercial success of innovative ideas and products. The idea of holding such a workshop in an informal environment was greeted with enthusiasm by the participants, which also contributed to the overall better visibility of the project and its theme.

The Made in Danube project envisages the further development of the e-tool DTIC (Danube Transnational Cooperation in the Field of Innovation), a specialised Internet platform that can be used by participants working in the field of bioeconomy across the Danube region who are interested in transferring research and innovation into applicable and market-successful solutions.

Among the most important features of the platform is the fact that users will be able to present their knowledge offer and publish requirements that suit their interests and capabilities.

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