Innovation Alliances from Germany, Ireland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom came together in Paris to map out their activities to drive innovation through establishing partnerships between SMEs and HEIs.
Following recent launches of Innovation Alliances in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, over 25 key stakeholders from 7 countries have shared their recent experiences in bringing together SMEs and HEIs. This stakeholder meeting stimulated discussions on the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ when it comes to establishing and maintaining Innovation Alliances. After the event, Joe English, (Project Manager and Louth LEO Director), stated “We were impressed by the commitment of the various stakeholders from the four European Innovation Alliances”. Over the next two years, these Innovation Alliances will involve more than 80 stakeholders committed to contributing to a productive society.
The alliances have already drawn great interest from local, regional and national stakeholders. For example, with more than 20 SMEs and 3 large corporations involved, the Software Testing Alliance, launched by Dr. Tanja Vos (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia) has brought together some of the key stakeholders on software testing in Spain. Over the following years, these alliances will be further developed to form an example for other European regions. To increase its impact and allow full exploitation of the project results, the project partners will develop a training course for SMEs in the skills needed to effectively engage with HEI research. This, complemented by case study guides and a SME Horizon2020 readiness database, will enable other European regions to establish similar initiatives in other regions and industries.
Cross-Border Innovation Alliance
The Cross-Border Innovation Alliance collaborations between higher education institutions, small and medium sized enterprises and innovation support organisations on the island of Ireland is aimed at establishing how SMEs can access research and training from universities to benefit their bottom line.
The alliance builds upon over thirty years of close collaboration between economic development agencies in Ireland aimed at building up economies that had suffered through years of conflict in the Northern Ireland troubles.
Regional Alliance in the Halle (Saale) region
The Regional Alliance in the Halle (Saale) region combines all important stakeholder groups in connection with innovation and technology transfer including, among others, several cities, research institutes, higher education, chambers of commerce as well as regional politics and SMEs. Building upon a study on the impact of science on the regional industry, an action plan will be developed to implement the recommendations of this study. While all partners already work together on a bilateral level the consortium built to conduct the study and the alliance established to create the action plan help to coordinate efforts and projects and creates synergies in the region.
National Alliance in Spain
The aim of the Spanish Software Testing Innovation Alliance is to bring together stakeholders in Spain in the area of software testing to work together on improving the innovation and technology transfer from Universities to companies (especially SMEs). The objectives are setting up new projects and establish collaborations that will have practice, research, educational or business impact and can improve software quality!
Romanian Innovation Alliance
The aim of the Romanian Innovation Alliance is to foster green energy and sustainable products and services. The alliance focuses on improving the competitiveness of industrial sectors, the communication between consumers, producers (especially SMEs), universities, research centres and public authorities and to be part of a single voice to influence the policy for Romania, in order to become a better place for innovative SMEs.