Project - Regional policies adopting Industry 4.0 for their Digital Transformation


Description (EN): The common challenge addressed by DIGITAL REGIONS is how to best adapt innovation policies to support smart specialisation in the manufacturing sector as a result of the emergence of INDUSTRY 4.0 (INDUSTRY 4.0 or I4.0 is often referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution and its solutions sit at the intersection of digital transformation and advanced industrial capabilities). The overall objective is to, by 2022, achieve a 15% increase of the number of SMEs from manufacturing sector cooperating with other innovation actors in the participant regions to implement I4.0 solutions as a result of improved innovation policies. The 8 participant regions are Oberfranken (DE), Slovenia (SI), Espace Mittelland-Canton of Bern (CH), BMW (IE), Centro (PT), Cantabria (ES), Varna (BG) and West (RO).They are distributed across the 4 IE zones with a mix of central/peripheral areas and innovation levels (leader, strong, moderate and modest). All have manufacturing as a smart specialisation priority and are represented by an appropriate mix of partners from each region's innovation value-chain including managing authorities, universities, INDUSTRY 4.0 Centres of Excellence and business development intermediaries. The project seeks to improve 7 ERDF policies addressing the Thematic Objective "strengthening research, technological development and innovation” and 1 Swiss-equivalent policy. It will result in instruments which better meet the needs of I4.0 in smart specialisation manufacturing regions, taking into account revised 2021-2027 Investment for Growth and Jobs priorities and the new Horizon Europe and Digital Europe policies. They will include measures to facilitate increased I4.0 policy cooperation between regions, increased participation by SMEs and availability of skills. It will benefit all stakeholders in each region’s innovation ecosystem, i.e. innovation policy makers, SMEs that use I4.0 solutions, suppliers of I4.0 services and universities and innovation centres.
Expected Results (EN): The overall objective is to, by 2022, achieve a 15% increase of the number of SMEs from manufacturing sector cooperating with other innovation actors in the participant regions to implement I4.0 solutions as a result of improved innovation policies. Sub-objectives, helping to achieve the overall objective, are: 1) Better utilise/improve policy measures to increase the level of cooperation taking place between I4.0 innovation actors in different regions, particularly between centres with complementary I4.0 technologies (e.g., IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics) or serving the same smart specialisation sector, in this case manufacturing. This will contribute to the overall objective by increasing the range and quality of I4.0 solutions available to SMEs in a particular region; 2) Improve the participation of SMEs in I4.0 innovation programmes by introducing support measures to enhance I4.0 skills development, participation in testbeds/field-labs and global value chains. The lack of such support measures are identified (by the project partners and other reviews – see C.6.4.) as barriers to uptake of I4.0 by SMEs; 3) Develop policy guidelines and recommendations (output as an “I4.0 Policy White paper”) aimed at regions not participating in the project, but with a smart specialisation in the manufacturing sector. This can be applied in regions not participating in the project and adapted for particular smart specialisation manufacturing niches and regional needs.
Expected Outputs (EN): The main result – by implementing the 8 regional Action Plans - will be an increase of 15% in the number of SMEs in the manufacturing smart specialisation sector in the project regions cooperating with innovation actors to implement INDUSTRY 4.0 solutions. This result will be amplified by: 1) Production and dissemination of the I4.0 Policy White paper to stimulate adaption of I4.0 measures in innovation policies in other regions and additional uptake of I4.0 solutions among their SMEs; 2) Utilisation of policy measures to extend use of existing high quality I4.0 innovation capacity in innovation leader/strong regions to moderate/modest regions to accelerate adaption and availability of I4.0 technology and solutions. PRE¬DEFINED RESULT INDICATORS The project will address 8 RTD policy instruments (1 per region). Each of the 7 EU regions address the ERDF TO1 instrument, i.e. “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation” while Espace Mittelland-Canton of Bern (Switzerland) addresses a regional programme, also focused on innovation and technological development (more emphasis on digital transformation) A target of € 13.645.000 has been estimated across the 7 EU regions as the amount of Structural Funds influenced by the project. In addition to this 1.5 M€ of Swiss funds will be influenced too. This is realistic, taking into account the total amount dedicated to the relevant measure in each region, the size and population over which the partner has influence and the likely budget of potential projects. SELF¬DEFINED POLICY INDICATORS The self-assessment indicators from each region (see section C.6.2) relate to an improvement in I4.0 capacity in enterprises, particularly SMEs. Most relate to an increase in the number of I4.0 products and services introduced, while one region is interested in improving I4.0 skill levels. OUTPUT INDICATORS - Policy Learning Events: A total of 55, including 5 site visits (3 of them back-to-back with thematic workshops), 8 staff exchanges, 40 regional stakeholder group meetings (5 in each region) and 2 additional interregional meetings. - Good Practices: 18 are targeted. Only practices, located in the partnership area, that have been individually analysed and validated as valuable to the project will be included. - Increased Professional Capacity: 80 people are targeted to attain increased competence as a result of the interregional learning process (an average of 10 per region). - One Communications and Dissemination plan will produce the following outputs. 24 appearances in press, radio, television, news websites, online portals, blogs, etc. This is based on a realistic target of 3 per region.

Thematic Information

Thematics: ICT and digital society  SME and entrepreneurship  
Specific Objective: Improve the implementation of regional development policies and programmes, in particular programmes for Investment for Growth and Jobs and, where relevant, ETC programmes, that support the delivery of innovation by actors in regional innovation chains in areas of “smart specialisation” and innovation opportunity.
Thematic Objective: (1) strengthening research, technological development and innovation by:
Investment Priority: (1b) promoting business investment in R&I, developing links and synergies between enterprises, research and development centres and the higher education sector, in particular promoting investment in product and service development, technology transfer, social innovation, eco-innovation, public service applications, demand stimulation, networking, clusters and open innovation through smart specialisation, and supporting technological and applied research, pilot lines, early product validation actions, advanced manufacturing capabilities and first production, in particular in key enabling technologies and diffusion of general purpose technologies

Project Summary

Project name (EN): Regional policies adopting Industry 4.0 for their Digital Transformation
Project acronym: DIGITAL REGIONS

Period: 2014-2020
Date of latest update: 2019-06-12


Project start date: 2019-08-01
Project end date: 2023-01-31
Project status: Ongoing

Total budget/expenditure: EUR 1.215.614,00
European Union funding: EUR 1.017.531,50

ERDF budget: EUR 1.017.531,50
ERDF equivalent budget: EUR 0,00

Project documents

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Partners Data

Lead Partner (EN): European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology
Lead Partner: European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology
Address: Unit 271, CoLab,LYIT, Port Road, Letterkenny, Ireland
Legal status: public

Department: Directorate for Innovation, Technology Development and Industrial Entrepreneurship
Address: Parque Cientifico y Tecnologico de Cantabria. C/Albert Einstein 2 5th Floor, Santander, Spain
Legal status: public
Department: Institut für Informationssysteme (iisys)
Address: Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1, Hof, Germany
Legal status: public
Address: Rua Combatentes da Grande Guerra, Nº 62, 1º Dtº, Covilhã, Portugal
Legal status: private
Department: Faculty of electrical engineering
Address: Kongresni trg 12, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Legal status: public
Address: 11 Prezviter Kozma, Varna, Bulgaria
Legal status: public
Address: No. 5 Proclamatia de la Timisoara Street, Timisoara, Romania
Legal status: public

Partners Location

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