On 3rd of June 2019 the final conference of the „Made in Danube“ project took place in Stuttgart, Germany. More than 65 persons from different areas (academia, industry, public authorities and clusters) followed our invitation and participated. During the kick-off event in 2017, the strengthening of the Danube region’s competitiveness was declared the joint objective. In order to reach this goal, a variety of cooperations across national borders were established, thus making bi- and multilateral transfer (especially in the field of bio-economy) easier. During the event, the results of the preceding years were thematised, and further research desiderates were identified.
The welcome speeches by Dr. Jonathan Loeffler (CEO, Steinbeis 2i GmbH) and Daniela Chiran (Senior Project Manager) were followed by diverse contributions by renowned persons, who had been involved in the project, either as external stakeholders or project partners. Subsequently, the event was divided into three main parts: At first, the key speakers set the frame for the “Made in Danube” project by directly linking it to the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) on the one hand and to the field of bio-economy on the other hand. Afterwards, two panel discussions were held during which stakeholders of both regional and transnational initiatives were given the opportunity to share the progresses and results of project-related partnership and cooperation agreements with the plenary.
The keynotes were thematically diverse: Dr. Judit Schrick-Szenczi (Coordinator of Priority Area 8 “Competitiveness of the EUSDR) explained that the project “Made in Danube” has supported the realisation of strategic goals of the EUSDR within its duration. Further, she remarked that the EUSDR Action Plan is currently under revision and that learning processes through “Made in Danube” will be considered into the new version. Hereafter, Dr. Simina Fulga-Beising (Fraunhofer Institute for Manufactoring Engineering and Automatation) provided an insight into how products and production processed can be inspired by, and in doing so benefit from, nature. Daniel Ács, PhD (Union of Slovak Clusters, President) emphasised the importance of bio-economy by stressing that three drivers (government, industry & public) should be involved in developments in the field.
During the following panel, three exemplary success stories of the local initiatives were presented (one for each of the three areas tackled by the project: wood sector, smart and precision farming and biofuels). Panel 2 revolved around the question of National Authorities’ roles for innovation.
Further presentations followed, amongst which Assoc. Prof. Mihai Dragomir, PhD habil. (Technical University of Cluj-Napoca) introduced a novelty which was developed within the duration of the project: DTIC (Danube Transnational Innovation Cooperation) e-tool is a specialised online platform which can be used by actors operating in bio-economy in the Danube Region, who are interested in converting research and innovation into applicable and market successful solutions.
During the event, as well as within a presentation on sustainable project results by Miljana Ćosić (Project Manager), it became apparent that a lot of progress has been made through „Made in Danube“ already. Yet, it was repeatedly stressed that the final conference is not to be seen as final action but that cooperation and further progress are to continue in the future. Throughout the day sufficient opportunities were provided for attendants to get in touch with each other, as well as they were encouraged to identify (possible) joint areas of interest, which will hopefully bring the Danube region even further forward in the future.
"Project co.funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)"
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