MOU: Italian Embassy in Tirana and Marche Region

ItaEmb The Italian Embassy in Tirana and Marche Region (P.F. Innovazione Ricerca e Competitività) did sign a Memorandum of Understanding related to Next project, as a cooperation field in promoting Adriatic-Jonian Macro Region strategy. Here you can read the MoU MOU ALB_MR (italian text) The Embassy will put at disposal of Marche Region the open data related to Albanian business and research centers to push cooperation with italian business for commercial partnerships and R&D activities. Marche Region will contribute with NEXT IS platform and services, the blog and the newsletters to strengthen the cross border networking for technology transfer and competitiveness of the area.  

Adriatic Investment Forum @ GEC2015

Analysis and thoughts Last month, on 18th March 2015, the first Adriatic Investment Forum took place during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2015. GEC ( is an annual gathering of entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers and researchers from all over the world, and this year hosted inspiring talks from, among others, Andrea Illy, Oscar Farinetti and Bob Dorf. So, all the partners from the NEXT Project flew to Milan, for meeting with stakeholders coming from more than 150 countries in the world. Partners attending the Congress had the opportunity to promote the NEXT-IS platform, and to highlight the entrepreneurial ecosystem of their own region, thanks to a dedicated booth, located inside the exhibition area, and dedicated to the NEXT Project. During the Congress, from Tuesday 17th March to Thursday 19th March, almost 10.000 attendees visited the exhibition area.   Prior to the event, NEXT partners selected the best entrepreneurs from every country participating in the project, willing to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. At the end of the process, fourteen entrepreneurs took the chance to present their entrepreneurial ideas and activities, directly from the stage of the Adriatic Investment Forum. Business angels and investors, invited at the Forum, gave their feedback to the entrepreneurs right after the presentation. This represented a unique opportunity for them to hear tips and suggestions, directly from professionals involved in the venture capital industry, gaining experience and improving their presentation skills. While the first part of the Adriatic Investment Forum was dedicated to entrepreneurs, the second part hosted a fireside chat on the state of entrepreneurship in the Adriatic Region, sharing experiences and best practices among NEXT partners and key stakeholders operating in the region. GEC2015 and the Adriatic Investment Forum have represented a big opportunity for NEXT partners: the chance to meet other professionals, involved at different levels in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, operating in the Adriatic Region (and even in other regions).

NEXT Project’s pitching event for entrepreneurs and investors

Goals and description of the event Next May, looking forward the conclusion of NEXT Project, and in order to achieve the best results, Marche Region will organize an exclusive pitching event, showcasing to professional investors and business angels the best entrepreneurial ideas from the Adriatic Region. After having promoted the NEXT-IS Platform among stakeholders operating in any country participating to the project, the best entrepreneurs will be selected and gathered to Ancona, for an intesive two days event. The first step will be a crash course on investor readiness and how to pitch, organized by META Group. The course will be splitted into two different strands, a common part to sum up do’s and don’ts for attracting investments, and one to one meetings for customizing presentations on the needs of every single entrepreneur. The goal will be to refine all the presentations, making them more attractive before meeting potential investors. The second step will be the pitching event of the entrepreneurs trained, followed by a networking lunch and B2B meetings with potential investors (previously invited to attend the event). The goal will be to bridge the gap between investors and entrepreneurs, helping the raising of innovative ideas and the match-making process.

REDASP Workshop – Support for using the online platform

Regional Economic Development Agency for Sumadija and Pomoravlje in the framework of Next Project (Collaborative platform to support research and technology transfer) organized the Workshop – Support for using the online platform.   The workshop was held on 10th March 2015 in Business Innovation Centre (Kragujevac, Serbia). The workshop presented the strategic framework and infrastructure for support innovation at national and regional level, through the use of the NEXT collaborative platform.   In the first part of the workshop REDASP emphasized so far implemented the project activities and services offered by the project NEXT and its important implications in helping companies who want to invest in the Adriatic territories.   After that, REDASP has presented the possibility of networking in order to develop project ideas and apply for international funds, and using the platform, through to the introduction of objectives, potential users, the process of registration and all services, as well as to exchange news, events and other materials in the field of innovation technology transfer.   The NEXT platform is web tool platform, so participants are directly able to see all the sections and the entire set of services that the platform offers, as well as users who are already registered. In addition, participants were introduced with support user guide for independent registration process.   Participants were representatives of local authorities, University, Business Innovation Centre, companies and clusters who were very satisfied and expressed interest in the services of the NEXT platform and the development of the project NEXT.  

Cross-border collaboration //Workshop

The innovation workshop “Living Labs towards smart communities” held in Milan, on March 18, 2015 has shown the innovative potential of the Living Labs methodology in the development of services of business sectors   The initiative, one of the many activities of the NEXT project, began with a presentation of the Puglia Regional ICT Living Labs for Innovation in Policy Design, made by Innovapuglia, describing what Living labs are about and giving an outline of the Apulian initiative. Since their official launch and endorsement by the Finnish EU Presidency in November 2006, Living Labs have often been addressed as an original, truly European, innovation policy model. However, we have only recently seen examples of Living Lab adoption for policy innovation – not just innovation policy. One of such examples comes from a Convergence Region of Italy, Apulia, where the focus has been (and still is) on leveraging user driven, open innovation to give better technological responses to precise societal challenges and that promises to become a cornerstone of the Region’s future (2014-2020) Smart Specialisation Strategy.   Living Labs are working collaborations of innovation stakeholders who are openly engaged in the co-creation of new products, services, technological or societal infrastructures, within real-life settings. The latter may be physical environments, such as city boroughs or rural habitats, as well as virtual places, like social networks and online communities. Participants in Living Labs typically belong to the so-called “Quadruple Helix”, namely individual citizens/consumers and associations thereof, typically integrate the familiar, “triadic” innovation partnership composed of universities/research institutes, SMEs and large enterprises, as well as public authorities.   Recently, the exemplary value and enforcing power of Living Labs for policy design and implementation has been demonstrated by a number of R&D, innovation and territorial cooperation projects, and The number of living lab experiments that have emerged in recent years is substantial and continues to rise while there are currently over 300 living labs at ENoLL (European Network of Living labs) in Europe and worldwide. So, the attendees had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the experience of exactly 2 Apulian Living Labs projects that were developed and entered the ENoLL network: the Apulian CrikhetClinical RisK management and Health Technology and TAGsTechnology infrastructure Allowing to experiment Gamification Strategies for social services innovation, “story-told” by Dr. Salvatore Latronico of Crikhet and Dr. Fedelucio Narducci.   Finally, the contributions of Eng. Antonio Santangelo from Archidata and Dr. Anna Torelli form Marche Region, illustrated examples in supporting particularly SMEs in thier R&D processes, and explored the possibilities of translating regional Smart Specialization Strategies into opportunities in Adriatic Jonian Macroregion, also considering that the European Commission stimulate the synergies among Structural funds and other European ones.   The discussion session provided evidence that the role of living labs in setting up cross-border collaboration for innovation and market creation involves a wide range of issues and that the adoption of the living labs networking approach and its methodology can support cooperation and community building among partners and territories they belong to, as long as there is the desire of structuring and planning a cross-border network identifying collaboration needs and taking into account not only and simply “innovation as such”, but considering also contextual factors such as language, culture, organizational aspects, legislation needs of the different Countries and foreign partners involved.   This applies even more when considering the fact that the scope of the NEXT IS platform has been widen with the inclusion of the section “social needs” : this just with the scope of sharing contents (needs, projects, organizations) of the already existing Apulian Living Labs platform with those ones implemented in the project platform, to enhance a better understanding of each party’s objectives, drivers, competences, methods, and tools for supporting cooperation, with the hope that solutions that could be envisaged are expected to become closer to the market.   The next step will be to plan and build smart communities network able to last all over the end of the NEXT project, defining innovation and market-development projects and arranging for collaboration opportunities.   “Lack of consensus among players in a complex system is one of the biggest barriers to innovation. One subgroup’s innovation is another subgroup’s loss of control” Rosabeth Moss Kanter Professor, management consultant, and author    

CULTLAB: a new cultural and creative start up project

Meccano ScpA, research and innovation centre, is currently leading a project for development, organisation and support to new cultural and creative start up project ideas  called CULTLAB , in joint partnership with Macerata and Urbino University .   CULTLAB  is an incubator project promoted and financed by the 6 LAGs of Marche Region  (Local Action Groups: combination of public and private partners implementing a multisectoral development strategy in a rural area forming a local community) within the framework of the Rural Development Plan of Marche Region 2007/13 – Axis IV -LEADER approach -measure 421-  in complementarity and synergies with the Cultural District of Marche Region.   CultLab offers specialist services: -Training activities (creativity management, market analysis, coaching and tutoring, business plan , networking, crowd funding, technological and certification consultancy etc.) -Matching between start up ideas and potential  private investors -Support  and methodology for identification of  appropriate calls of proposal and tenders and for projects drafting.    – Financial packages and security contributions consultancy – Supplying of autonomous spaces for start up business   At present CultLab is incubing 15 startups in the field of innovative culture and creativity: heritage, patrimony conservation, design, cultural tourism, food, refurbishment, new didactic technology,  innovative applications for performing arts and exhibitions, sustainability and social responsibility of enterprises.   For more information on the project :

Horizon 2020, projects financed (2014)

The European Commission has published data on Horizon 2020 financed projects (CORDIS website).

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UK was the country with the highest number of approved projects, but Germany was awarded the higher amount of investment, followed by Spain and Italy. Germany has also the medium project impact (600.000 €), than France, Nederland and UK (400.000) and Italy (300.000). Here you can dowload Horizon 2020 Projects and Participants data extract

European Environmental Bureau Report on Eco-design

Eco-design The next European directive on circular economy should arrive  later this year. The report of the European Environmental  Bureau (EEB), a body that brings together the major European  environmental organizations, has released the directive on eco-  design – known as Eco-design Directive. The eco-design is already producing significant energy savings  by allowing consumers to obtain a reduction in bills for  hundreds of Euros. The report “Proposing efficient products in  the consumption of resources” claims that define the  requirements for use of the materials in the products would  provide many other benefits to businesses and consumers in theUnion. Upload the report (.pdf  eu ed eco design).