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Connecting the territory through the innovation network (INOLINK)
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The INOLINK project focuses on regional policies and practices for the diffusion of innovation. It tackles the issue of innovation activities being usually concentrated on a limited number of innovative firms, typically concentrated in some geographical areas, while most of the European firms, generally SMEs, never undertake innovation. The overall objective of the INOLINK project is improving the reach of regional innovation policies, through a better connection of actors within the regional innovation system, especially of those located in the most peripheral and backward areas. To achieve this objective, the INOLINK project proposes the exchange of experiences in the setting up and functioning of public structures and networks, which support innovation and the participation in R&D cooperation and knowledge transfer of actors in peripheral areas and less innovative sectors within the regional innovation system.Eleven partners from nine EU Member States participate in the INOLINK project, covering a wide EU geographical area. The partnership includes regional authorities, regional innovation networks and other intermediary bodies set up by public authorities for the promotion of territorial innovation. Territorial innovation networks exist in the participating regions of Andalusia, Saarland, Tuscany, Lower Styria and Essonne. The INOLINK project is led by RETA, the Andalusian Network of Technological Spaces, a regional innovation network set up in 2005 by the Regional Government of Andalusia, in Spain.The INOLINK project will focus on the exchange and identification of good practices on the regional diffusion of technology, and on the dissemination of the generated knowledge throughout the EU and among the regional stakeholders in the partner regions. For this purpose, study visits to regions with good practices will be organised, as well as several workshops and two project conferences.The partners will develop a coordinated survey on the regional needs for innovation in peripheral areas, traditional sectors and SMEs. A Report on Good Practices on Regional Diffusion of Innovation and a Guide for the setting up and operation of a regional innovation network will be elaborated. As a result of the process of mutual learning and collective debate and reflection, each partner will elaborate a Regional Improvement Plan, with recommendations for the practical implementation of the learned good practices in its regional context. The INOLINK project expects to result on the transfer of good practices between the participation regions, and on the improvement of skills and competences of staff in charge of the definition and implementation of innovation policies in all participating regions. The INOLINK project also expects contributing to the generation of common EU knowledge on innovation policy through interregional cooperation. Achievements: Innovation is a key element to increase productivity and competitiveness of the enterprises. In addition, and because of the present international economic crisis, innovation has become for the companies the only solution to be competitive and also to survive in the international market. In this regards, INOLINK project wants to be an important tool for the partners because through it, the entities participating in the project could increase their knowledge about innovation policies and innovative activities carried out in several regions and that could be transferred to their own regions. These policies and innovative actions will benefit local SME to get the need competitiveness required by the international markets On January 2012 started the last year of the project implementation and also mean the end of the process undertaken from the beginning of INOLINK on March 2010. The main activity carried out on this semester has been the beginning of the second round of the study visits Previously during 2010 and 2011 a total of seven study visits (first round) were organized in seven different partners regions: Algarve, Essone, Saarbrücken, Andalusia, West Midlands, Maribor and Tuscany. Each study visit aimed to present an overview of the regional economic situation so that participants would have an idea of the context. Each partner in charge of the study visit would have the opportunity to present the Innovation Networks Good Practices that they would have selected based on their own regional performance and known success at regional, national or European level. During the first round of study visits it was decided that each partner reflects the observed good practices by nominating the good practices that are most feasible to be transferred regionally and also it was decided that it was more important for each partner to understand if a Good Practice was interesting enough for them to compliment, start or transfer elements to their own regional programmes.Following this logic, the second round of study visits was aim at going into depth in some of the 65 experiences visited during the first round of study visits with the idea of, if possible, being transferred. Those previous experiences were useful to know what kind of activities were carried out by some of the partners regions regarding innovation policies and, at the same time, to know innovative activities implemented by public entities and local companies. During this second round, 14 experiences have been visited. Four regions have been the host partners (P1 RETA, P3 Maribor, P6 CRIA, P10 CUE-Coventry) and 8 the partners participants as receiver in the second round of the study visits (P1 RETA, P3 Maribor, P4 NanoBioNet, P6 CRIA, P7 FUNDECYT, P8 NE-RDA, P9 RAPIV and P10 CUE-Coventry). This second round of the study visits has been evaluated by the participants as very good and actually some of the partners as P3 are transferring some of the elements of those good practices. This semester has been a time to reflect, a time to put into value the main conclusions and results of all the activities carried out during the project. This time has been finished with the organization of two workshops (Varna and Badajoz) where the bases for the Regional Improvement Plan were fixed. All the activities have been disseminated through the website of INOLINK and also through the presentation of the project in other events such the ISPIM conference held in Barcelona on JUNE 17-19 where a paper from INOLINK was accepted. P4-NanoBioNet, presented the results of the INOLINK and particularly the results of the survey on regional innovation needs in the largest innovation Conference in Europe (ISPIM) with about 500 participants. Also, P8 organized during 13th-15th of June, joint to the National Institute for Inventics Iasi, the 16th edition of INVENTICA 2012. INOLINK project was presented on a workshop and there was an exhibition stand with information about the project.

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