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Innovation Policy in University City Regions (INNOPOLIS)
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

INNOPOLIS aims to identify regional best policy practice in the field of knowledge exchange between universities & enterprises. Having done so, INNOPOLIS will develop a simulation & a user-friendly electronic repository of the project's key outputs that can be used by regional authorities in transfering best policy practice, and thus actively supporting knowledge co-creation between universities & enterprises. The activities of INNOPOLIS focus on university city-regions, defined here as localities with at least three multi-departmental universities and at least 60,000 students (students used as a proxy of university knowledge endowments). This choice is on account of the profound diversity in the current ability of regional authorities to exploit the innovative potential of universities in such regions. Celebrated success regions are included in this project alongside regions where regional policy did not drive knowledge exchange.The activties of the project will take place in four, diverse university city-regions: Helsinki, Lodz, Manchester & Thessaloniki. These provide a broad geographical focus and capture significant differences in success of existing regional policy. The project partnership includes two partners in each of these regions: a regional/local authority & a university. This is viewed as the best possible combination for realising best policy transfer - as the former are central for developing policy whilst participation of the latter is important for effective implementation. INNOPOLIS uses a broad range of networking activities for the achievement of its main aim. These include: study visits, workshops, seminars, audits of best practice in knowledge exchange & best policy transfer, etc. Some of these activities are not confined to the regions included in the project but aspire to learn from success across the EU & beyond (and particularly the US).The results of INNOPOLIS will be disseminated to two types of audiences, using a comprehensive dissemination strategy. The first type includes key stakeholders within the regions of the project, the second type includes regional/authorities, universities & other stakeholders in other regions. Dissemination will be achieved through a website, a brochure, EU wide & regional public relations releases, a newsletter, regional launch events for the learning outputs, the launch of a professional journal & a disseminations conference. Achievements: INNOPOLIS aims to identify & disseminate best practice in innovation policy (BPP) in 4 European city regions: Manchester, Helsinki, Thessaloniki & Lodz, through a variety of activities. The project started with an audit of Knowledge Exchange (KE) practices to identify instances of best practice. 10 multimedia cases were produced. Partners also researched BPP practices in participating regions &worldwide. Each region performed an audit of their BPPs & cases were selected on the basis of their effectiveness in enhancing KE & a collection of 4 cases was produced to form the basis of the BPP guide. The key activities of the project so far have been workshops & seminars, 3 study visits & BPP seminars & policy simulation framework. In Lodz & Thessaloniki barriers & enablers to achieving successful cooperation between universities & industries in post socialist countries & Southern Europe respectively were discussed and examined and workshops held. In Helsinki the project partners learnt about Helsinki innovation system & the different means of cooperation between enterprises, universities & cities in the region. As a result of this visit funding has now been obtained to create an Innovation Manager at Lodz University. A BPP seminar was organized at Aalto University with presentations on notable KE practices. During the study visit partners identified 2 further particularly good KE practices: Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology & Innovation & Biomedicum Helsinki, the centre for medical research and training. The focal point of Semester3 was the Manchester Study Visit & seminar. At the seminar a draft framework for BP simulation was tested. Participants were introduced to the key actors in the innovation ecosystem in Greater Manchester area. 3 best practices were identified during the Manchester Study Visit: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships; Innovation Vouchers;& the Higher Education (HE) Innovation Fund. The highlights of Semester 4 included the Prague Study Visit & partners meeting. The study visit incorporated briefings on national & regional innovation policy from the Government Council for Research, Development & Innovation & the Ministry of Industry & Trade. A discussion on the role of Prague as a centre of innovation was hosted by the City Development Authority. Many notable example of good practice were visited including business incubators, an aerospace research centre & technology transfer centre. During Prague visit the IINNOPOLIS partners identified one good practice Aerospace Research & Test Establishment (VZLU) which is a national centre for research, development & testing in aeronautics & space. The partners meeting determined future plans for communication & dissemination, the end of project conference & the policy simulation events which was held simultaneously in Thessaloniki & Lodz in Semester 5. Dissemination activities so far have included development of the website, the brochure capturing the project's aims, objectives, impacts & key contacts in each participating region, 5 newsletters describing the projects achievements, workshops, seminars & study visits. 4 EU wide press releases (PRs) & a number of regional PRs were published to communicate & disseminate the projects achievements to an EU wide audience. The activities in Semester 5 were also supported by press releases & newsletter. The main events being Launch events for Learning Outputs in each of the partner countries & the running of the BP transfer experiment events (2) occurring concurrently in Lodz & Thessaloniki & linked through video-conferencing. Policy makers & other stakeholders used the policy-transfer simulation to explore the process, implications & potential success of policy transfer in their area. Data from these events is informing the development of Policy Simulation Guide that will be produced & launched at the final dissemination conference in the next semester.
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