Eco4Life - South Baltic Network for Environmental .. (Eco4Life)
Eco4Life - South Baltic Network for Environmental and Life Sciences to Boost Cross Border Cooperation
Start date: Jun 30, 2010,
End date: Dec 30, 2013
The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is one of the most dynamic regions in Europe in regard to innovation and competitiveness. BSR heads with many initiatives the global strive for environmental and economical sustainability and is home of world leading life science clusters. Based on well established scientific and cluster competences a transnational network of Eco4Life contact points will be initiated and established to boost the eco-/ life science based economy in the South Baltic region and to catch up with established and successful regions in the North Baltic. By establishing regional contact points with networks of experts in science, economy and administration the transfer and exchange of regional competencies between the partner regions shall enable the regions to reach critical mass in academic, financial and personnel resources to survive and flourish in global competition.Life sciences and bio-/eco-economy are characterised similarly by intensive academic input (medicine, biology, bio-chemistry, technology development), by medium to long-term product development cycles and need for financial resources. The development of bio-/eco-economy is successful in Northern Europe and, especially in life sciences, supported by well established networks. As a Europe-wide model case ScanBalt Bioregion, as a network of all life science networks within the BSR, was successfully established. It became however obvious that there is a massive lack of in depth knowledge within the regions, especially in the South Baltic – in the field of life as well as environmental sciences. Activities in the regions are still based upon the engagement of individual scientific or technological experts in parallel to their main duties. SME´s do usually not have the critical mass to be competitive on a international level. Also, in contrast to the situation in North Baltic, there is a lack of assistance by specialized and experienced support structures. The South Baltic is lagging behind in this progress.The project Eco4Life picks up the challenges and chances the new bio-/eco-economy offers to the regions. Eco4life comprises actors in the regions of Klaipeda, Szcecin and Greifswald with a high potential know-how of eco-/life science to be exploited and commercialised by SME`s. Each of the Eco4Life partner has key competences, knowledge and experiences to serve as “best practise” to the partner regions. Eco4Life will lead to increased regional and crossborder networking, growing number of crossborder cooperation projects, mobilise awareness and interest for the South Baltic, faster access to cooperation with the North Baltic Sea clusters (ScanBalt), boost scientific and economic development. Eco4Life will finally serve as an important tool for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (COM 2009, 248; June 10th, 2009) and contribute significant recommendations to the flagship project of a "prosperous and healthy Baltic Sea Health Region". Achievements: Eco4Life realized a regional, bottom up "triple helix"-type cross border network between academia, economy and administration, to support cross-border cooperation and entrepreneurship in the South Baltic Region in the field of Life Science and CleanTec.Three regional Eco4Life Contact Points, which serve as One-Stop-Agencies for LifeScience and CleanTec, were established in Greifswald (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, GE), Szczecin (Western Pomerania, PL) and Klaipeda (LT) and will persist after the project´s lifespan. Three international conferences with 70-240 participants each were organized in 2010 (Klaipeda, LT), 2011 (Heringsdorf, GE) and 2013 (Szczecin, PL) and attracted participants from the South Baltic, Baltic Sea Region and worldwide. The project disseminated its objectives at three International exhibitions as BioForum Lodz (2011), CleanMed Malmö (2012) and BIOInternational Chicago (2013). Two study tours were conducted by the project, to South Sweden (2012 Lund/Malmö) as one of the leading life science regions in Europe, and US-West Coast 2013 (San Francisco Bay Area; Los Angeles) as one of the outstanding US biotech clusters. Both study tours were planned to gain insight into successful international clusters, on how they work and to exchange experiences. By the project partners, a total of 27 regional workshops were organized, and tree market studies assigned, booth to carve out as an output tree regional valley agendas and a subsequent cross-border cooperation agenda for collaboration and SME entrepreneurship for partners in the South Baltic Region. An International Advisory Board recommended the project in this process. A Yellow Pages directory presenting selected stakeholders from LifeScience and Green Valley from all partner regions, was accomplished. This state-of-the-art online database allows startups, SMEs and interests to have a quick overview on the current players and possible partners for cooperation in science, administration support and industry. The formation of 5 Pilot Networks (Baltic Diabetes, Baltic Green Healthcare, Baltic Biomaterials, Baltic BioEconomy, Baltic ClinTrial) was carried out, and resulted in the Cluster certification by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform for two of these networks. Three training modules "EU research management- how to prepare a research proposal and manage it" (Klaipeda, 2011), "Green Healthcare: DIN ISO regulations" (Szczecin, 2012) and “FDA regulartion for medical devices US-Market access” (Rostock, 2013) with a large total number of participants were part of a Eco4Life training curriculum. Three Letter of Intent with Partner networks were signed for collaboration on the projects pilot topics: with the “Invest in Skane” Skane region (South Sweden), with the Lithuanian Diabetes Association for the collaboration in diabetes management and with EEN Steinbeiss Nordost to develop together services for the regions.The project partners continued to implement the ongoing contacts to administration bodies to prepare the political agreements on the regional valley, which were established on the federal and municipal level. As Eco4Life serves as implementation tool for the ScanBalt Flagship “Baltic Sea Health Region”, it contributes to the innovation agenda of ScanBalt Baltic Sea Health Region Flagship with its project outcomes and recommenadations to the ScanBalt Innovation agenda ISIS (International Business Innovation Support). The Eco4Life project contributed to an embedment of the South Balti region into the Baltic Sea region/ScanBalt Flagship Heath Region.
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