NEXT IS: A platform for innovation actors

NEXT IS: A platform for innovation actors One of the basic reasons of inequality in the distribution of wealth, a current and burning problem, is derived by asymmetry of information in terms of distribution and access. Information is value, today more than ever, in terms of quantity, quality and speed; his tenure makes the difference. Since it has never been rich and abundant as today, some selection and interpretive grids are crucial. The project NEXT was born addressing the issue of sharing know-how, data and information, in relation to research and innovation in the Adriatic-Ionian region. A place historically affected by trade and relations, who has never managed, in history, to become an integrated market at large. The project, involving some actors in the territories concerned, has aimed to build a virtual place, a platform to substitute, anticipating them, the peculiarities that the area will take within the initiative of the European macro-region. NEXT IS, developed by the City of Sibenik partner in the project, is the platform that is in charge to spread and make visible the relations among the territories that NEXT covers. It does so by monitoring and publishing projects, patents, organizations, structures in the partner countries, accompanying them with information and news events, and starting discussions on critical issues. Which advantage can NEXT IS provide to a business owner? First, you can retrieve information about the context of the partner countries: NEXT Trend presents a scenario articulated on each territory involved in the project, with the description of the productive sectors, and gives a set of parameters that help dimensional. The Country Outlook defines in a homogeneous format, the main characteristics of the country: economy, swot analysis, the presence of clusters, the structure of venture capital, main referents. In a short time you can retrieve information that would require a constant presence on the field or major investments. The targeted search for innovative partners is available by accessing NEXT BOX, a repository of presentations focused on Centres operating in the territories, and verifying its activities through the blog posts of NEXT. Since one of the major problems by businesses is access to financial instruments, in addition to the data of the Country Outlook and reports of European calls, the project provides on the Blog a self assessment tool that allows the firm to identify the crucial information to present to venture capital. The services on NEXT IS are then duplicated by Marche Innovation Platform, in the system’s cloud Marche Region. While NEXT IS assumes the role of promoting a collaborative dialogue, in the spirit of open innovation, Marche Innovazione assumes the task of presenting all that this dialogue on NEXT IS consolidates in projects and is certified. Ultimately NEXT provides businesses an ecosystem made of information and tools that can enable them to play a leading role in the first person in the macro-region, anticipating processes rapidly becoming.

Innovation in Albania

Albania roadmap towards information society and innovation   Albania Government has made significant progress in transition reforms in recent years. The government has actively promoted pro business and investment policies on innovation technology and in society information. With the reform of the research system, since 2006 and the adoption of the National Strategy of Science, Technology and Innovation (NSSTI) 2009-2015 in July 2009 there were introduced major changes to improve the effectiveness of the country’s innovation system. Important steps were made in terms of establishing institutions and developing a strategy for a national innovation system. The Albanian Government has focused on ICT as a main driver of economic, political and social development in the country, evolving from a low-tech, inwardly looking state to a potential regional leader in e-Government, and connectivity, particularly as major infrastructural investments are being made. On the business front, the Strategic Programme for Innovation and Technology Development for SMEs 2011-2016 approved in February 2011 and its Action Plan, the Business Innovation and Technology Strategy (BITS), represent the main policy measures of the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Energy (METE) for promoting Innovation and technology dissemination in Albanian SMEs. The Business Relay and Innovation Centre (BRIC) will be the executive arm of METE for the implementation of the strategy and will provide both technical assistance and financial support for companies to engage in innovation. A list of the main agency with an active role in the growth of innovation in Albania follows.   PROTIK The Protik ICT Resource Center is established by the combined efforts and goals of the Government of Albania, USAID, Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), Microsoft, Cisco, and Albtelecom. Established as a local non for profit organization on October the 10th, 2012, Protik’s mission is to catalyze the development of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Albania. The accomplishment of its mission was founded and will continue to be inspired on the values of Integrity, Excellence, Transparency, Collaboration and Cooperation. Protik aims to become the Albanian ICT hub: a connection point for those seeking the latest and most innovative ideas, products, and services.   ARTI The Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (ARTI) is a public, legal institution under the competences of the Council of Ministers. ARTI is established with the Decision of Council of Ministers and has started its activity in March 2010. ARTI aims to build a modern system of science, strengthen of research and technology, as well as their integration inside the higher education system. ARTI facilitates the exchanging of knowledge, mutual activities and partnership within and outside the country. ARTI as a coordinating and guiding structure which cooperates with institutions in the field of science and technology for sustainable development of the country, in line with national priorities, development of scientific and technological policies and management of Research and Development (R&D) institutes.   National agency ON the information society The National Agency on the Information Society was established by the Government Decision   N.248, on 27.04.2007, amended. The main goal of NAIS a) Application of the policies and strategies, for the development of the information society sector, and in particular the technology of information and communication; b) Cooperation of both programmes in the field of society information and technology; c) Promote the investments in the field of information society; ç) Draft the competences of Minister of Innovation, given by law, in the field of electronic communications; d) Promote new technologies in the field of information society; dh) Give contribution on education and use of the information technology by the public;   ADRIATINN Under the partnership of UNYT (University of New York in Tirana) the project goal is to build innovation, cross-border clusters of SMEs and R&D Institutes, which interact with each other and with clients and suppliers and often share a pool of specialist labor, business and financial services, R&D and training facilities. ​Promote lifelong learning in research and innovation; the universities of the area will help the commercialization of research results by increasing the entrepreneurial mind-set of students and by collaborating with regional SMEs.  Capitalize the advantages of the area: bio-economy and energy sectors can help to: boost local economies; stimulate new activities; create new and sustainable jobs; have important spill-over effects on other industries; and enhance the attractiveness of regions and cities. The interregional cooperation project will ensure that both “old” and “wannabe” entrepreneurs will reach their full potential. ABANIAN MINISTRY OF INNOVATION

Marche Regione Experience from Smart Specialization

Marche Region’s experience on international cooperation starting from Smart Specialization The workshop “Monitoring Smart Specialization – A new Architecture for Transnational Cooperation” took place on 11th December 2014 at Centre Cultural el Born in Barcelona, and was organized as the final event of the CITEK Capitalization project financed by the MED Programme in collaboration with the European Commission – JRC. This final event at the same time constituted the starting point for a more structured discussion on monitoring in smart specialisation and focused the discussion on how regional and national actors can work together to develop effective monitoring mechanisms. Marche Region representative presented the smart specialization strategies developed by Marche Region, one of the first Italian regions that registered on RIS3 Platform and that took part to IPTS Peer Review workshops.  Marche Region’s S3 strategy focuses on 4 main sectors: mechatronics, ambient assisted living, sustainable manufactory, welfare and wellbeing.  For the implementation of the strategy several  priorities have been defined such as fostering collaboration between SMEs and research and innovation institutions, supporting international networking, creating favorable conditions for new  innovative businesses and implementing ICT instruments such as technological platform. In order to transform these priorities into actions, Marche Region has foreseen in its Regional Operative Plan interventions aiming to the creation of  new partnership between universities and enterprises,  spin offs and start ups,   services and infrastructures, as well as SME placement of researchers and new and wider collaborations between European and international  research and innovation stakeholders. During the intervention, Mrs. Torelli presented some of the tools that Marche Region is going to launch for the implementation of its RIS3. One of these tools is the NEXT-IS Platform developed by the NEXT project “Collaborative platform to support research and technology transfer” financed in the second call for proposals of the IPA Adriatic CBC Programme. This platform has the purpose to support the cross border networking between Marche Region and Macro Adriatic Ionian Regions starting from Smart Specialization Strategy approach. Marche Region is going to use the NEXT platform to launch call for proposals for supporting the participation of SME to EU calls. Furthermore, NEXT IS platform can be further enlarged and adapted in order to be used as a tool for monitoring the implementation of the strategy. Anna Torelli, Marche Region, Dpt. for Research, Innovation and Competitiveness

NEXT-IS Platform presented in 4 Road Show

Road-show for innovation: NEXT services presented in 4  events on the field in Marche region   Next Lead Applicant Marche Region presented the high value services made available to the companies of the region by the project NEXT,  through 4 Road-shows recently organized in in Civitanova Marche (19th January),  Ascoli Piceno (28th January), Ancona (2nd February) and Pesaro (6th February). The Road-shows has been a excellent opportunity to bring the project and its services on the field and  to enhance engagement with companies and consulting firms in the territory, besides offering some insights on how the project fits into the regional innovation strategy and programs of Marche region. Patrizia Sopranzi, head of the Competitiveness and innovation Unit of Marche Region, presented NEXT into the wider scenario of the new programming period Regional Operational Plan, proving useful insights on how NEXT will be integrated into it  and will support some of the upcoming actions, like the innovation voucher scheme. Giuseppe di  Giovambattista, CEO of Archidata and project director of the NEXT Technical Assistance Team, offered an helicopter view of the NEXT added value services, namely NEXT IS and the NEXT Info Point, which was completed by a detailed presentation of each of them. Emanuele Frontoni, of Marche Innovazione, introduced the NEXT IS/Marche Innovazione collaborative platform. NEXT IS will act as a “search engine” to support enterprises in the innovation process and increase their operational  capacities (support for finding partners, technologies, new markets, patents). This tool offers to its users a practical support in terms of information, visibility and networking/scouting opportunities. Thanks to the platform NEXT IS, users will get detailed information on the market potential of the countries of the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region, the geolocation of active companies and Research and Technology Transfer Centers, the local development programs, and all financing/investing opportunities available. Companies registered in the platform could easily search and be searched, as well as identify business and innovation related opportunities/projects in the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region. The presentation was combined with a practical demonstration on how to access and make use of the platform. The featured services of the NEXT Info Point has been presented by Paola Gabaldi, of FAST (Federazione delle Associazioni Scientifiche e Tecniche) and by Dario Mazzella, of META Group and Bruno De Nisco of Archidata. The Info Point will combine support to bid for public funded opportunities and to access risk capital sources. A periodic monitoring exercise of the open calls into the Horizon2020 Program for Research and Innovation will be regularly offered to the NEXT users together with specialized advices on the feasibility of the project ideas developed by them in response to the calls. As for access to risk capital the Info Point will offer a capacity building process, which includes a guided online assessment of the growth potential of the company,  a training session to effectively prepare the business idea presentation and the participation to the Adriatic Investment Forum to be held on 16-18th March in Milan, where the participant companies will be introduced to a panel of international investors to discuss investment deals. The Roadshows had a very high attendance with 187 delegates in total. Participants comes from both SMEs located in the region (117, equal to 63%) and consultancies (70, equal to 37%). The figures shows the participants broken down per roadshow edition, a comparison between participant coming from SMEs vs participants coming from consultancies. Maria Laura Fornaci

NEXT-IS Platform Presentation by Ms Sara Giannini, Marche Region Councillor for Productive Activities, Research and Innovation

Thanks to the project NEXT, Marche Region has been increasing and updating information available, regarding both innovative SMEs and innovation projects. In fact, as underlined by Ms Sara Giannini, Marche Region Councillor for Productive Activities, Research and Innovation in the course of the press conference held in January 2015, the project NEXT is a mechanism of mutual recognition of innovative SMEs, is a dynamic data base, that feeds itself through the virtual getting- in-contact of SMEs coming from different contexts.   NEXT objective is to foster internationalisation and to support the open up towards new markets; this perfectly fits into the Strategy for the Adriatic Ionian macro region, which aims to discourage SMEs form Marche region to delocalize, supporting at the same time their cooperation with other SMEs located abroad. Ms Giannini also said that SMEs international cooperation needs to be guided, but such a process is possible only if there is a solid knowledge of territories involved.   This knowledge is achievable thanks to the platform NEXT IS. Through NEXT IS in fact, defined as the searching engine targeting innovative SMEs and CRTT in the Adriatic basin, the innovation actors from Marche Region can acquire knowledge about the possibilities offered by the Adriatic Ionian cooperation, through the availability of information linked to applied research and innovative entrepreneurship in the area. All partners of the project NEXT, 11 organizations coming from 6 countries of the Adriatic Ionian macro region, are actively contributing to building up knowledge as well as to sharing big data. Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy and Serbia are concretely working together in order to realise the first service of the Adriatic Ionian Cloud. Numbers are relevant, since NEXT IS includes already 814 project, of which 32 are macro-regional projects; 3.086 patents, of which 82 are macro-regional ones; 839 innovation actors, 109 already active at macro regional level;  17 private investors looking for start up and innovative macro-regional projects to finance; 10 information services, that aim at increasing the level of internationalization in the area. NEXT IS will be available also on tablet and smart-phone, in order to offer a smart and easy access to detailed information on market potentials of the countries of the Adriatic basin, on the geo-location of the innovation actors, on the  local development programmes and the financing available from public and private sources. To quote Ms Giannini again, Next’s objective is, among other, to better exploit and utilize EU opportunities provided through the regional operative plan and other European programmes, like Horizon 2020. In this framework, the Marche Region provides local stakeholders with a set of guidance services targeting SMEs willing to apply for grants in the framework of EU programmes for basic and applied research  projects  – Horizon 2020 ( and Cosme (, through the NEXT Info-point: ; it started offering also  tutoring services for the identification and access to risk capitals, targeting high growth potential start up and orientation and assessment service to apply to EU programmes grants for innovation ( NEXT IS, the NEXT Info point and related services targeting SMES and start up have been presented to the local innovators community through 4 road show between the 19th January to 06th February 2015, that saw a participation of around 200 SMEs and consultants. Francesco Cuddemi


For all businesses, research centers and innovation actors, please check here the document produced by the Lead Partner and its technical assistance on the possibility of EU funding for innovation projects! It includes calls of the EU programmes Horizon 2020; SME Instrument; COSME; European Territorial Cooperation until open September 2015


Within the project NEXT REDAH developed a study of using biomass for utilization of wood waste. REDAH spoke with companies from wood processing sector and collected the following data: 25 companies from wood processing sector produced about 7000 tones of wood waste annually, mainly sawdust and chunks, while plastic waste is separated from the wood. Task of this study is to evaluate the potential of biomass in the area of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, as well as potential of biomass that is available from the largest wood processing companies in the area of Herzegovina, e.g. Lignum Ltd. Mostar, Maoles Ltd. Mostar, Stolarija Kraljević and other wood processing companies in Herzegovina region. Study was developed by company Dvokut Pro Ltd.

Competition “Your Innovative Idea” Tirana Albania, 20 February 2015

Foundation “Partnership for Development” (PfD) will organize on February 20, 2015 at Hotel Tirana International in Tirana, Albania the:

 1st Competition “Your Innovative Idea”.

The Competition will be organized by the Foundation “Partnership for Development” (PfD) in collaboration with the National Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (ARTI) and the Academy of Science, in the framework of the NEXT Project 023 “Collaborative Platform to support research and technology transfer” funded by European Commission in the framework of IPA Adriatic Program. This Competition is intended to promote the “SMART PEOPLE”, generate innovative ideas that provide solutions, minimize risks and maximize impact through the technology and intelligent methods, contributing to the development of various sectors of the economy by improving the life of citizens. This initiative will directly contribute to the NEXT Collaborative Online Platform by furnishing and supplying it in a sustainable way with the proposals of innovative ideas. The Competition agenda will be prepared and shared in the upcoming days. Foundation “Partnership for Development” (PfD) NEXT Project Management Unit