Innovation Alliances Workshop sheds light on an innovative approach SMEs and universities can adopt to boost innovation.
On June 1, the workshop ‘How to Establish Regional Innovation Alliances’ was successfully held at the 2016 University-Industry Interaction Conference hosted in Amsterdam, Netherlands with the attendance of a broad spectrum of participants representing 11 countries. Led by Dr. Conor Patterson of the Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency, the event set foundations needed for the establishment of powerful regional alliances, while the attendees ensured diverse expertise and opinions during sessions.
Content built on examples of active alliances
The agenda of this hands-on workshop included introduction of Innovation Alliance Partnerships, a major EU-funded program currently being piloted in Europe, supplemented with practical insights on how to form alliances, effective pathways to partnerships, challenges, and the factors influencing alliance competitiveness. Overview of the development and progress of four existing EU alliances – Cross Border Innovation Alliance between Ireland and the UK, Regional Alliance in the Halle region in Germany, Romanian Innovation Alliance, and European Software Testing Innovation Alliance in Spain provided the audience concrete examples of flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystems.
As much as conveying a rich informative content, the workshop triggered fruitful conversations among the participants. The interactive nature of the event allowed the attendees to discuss solutions to the setbacks hindering innovation in their local regions. The answers were sought collectively on how to most effectively transfer university research to benefit both SMEs and HEIs in a range of countries across the world, including Mexico, Chile, Japan, Argentina, Finland, Scotland, and India. Among the obstacles raised by the participants were the unstable policies, difficulties in finding right alliance counterparts, lack of interest by the SMEs to cooperate, inadequate incentives for the academics in the HEIs who innovate, and failure of common understanding among the stakeholders in the problem identification stage. The draft output of the discussions can be further explored here.
Overall, the workshop was very well received by the participants, with many learning points to take home.