The Kick-Off Conference of the new Interreg Alpine Space programme, which gathered more than 300 attendees, was organized by the Joint Secretariat in Salzburg and held online due to the COVID-19 restrictions established by the Austrian Government days previous to the celebration. It consisted of a two half-day programme (22nd and 23rd of November) under the motto “Let’s change our altitude”.
During the first day the thematic priorities of the Alpine Space programme 2021-27 were presented alongside best practices from old and ongoing projects such as CIRCULAR 4.0, ALPGRIDS, ALPBIONET2030 and ARDIA-Net.
On this occasion Sergi Costa, senior project manager at BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH (Lead Partner), participated in the slot “Innovative, digital, inclusive: Insights into the priority Innovation and digitalisation supporting a green Alpine region” moderated by Jana Habjan (Joint Secretariat) to present ARDIA-Net. Alongside this, a second project LinkingAlps was presented by Daniela Gamper (AustriaTech GmbH). The last intervention was by Riccardo Celi from the Department for Cohesion Policies at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Italy, who brought insights on the priorities of the new programme and the planned embedding process between EUSALP and the Alpine Space programme.
The thematic priority 3 of the new programme is aligned with the European Green Deal and strives for a green Alpine region, that should be climate resilient, resource sensitive and inclusive. Some of the specific objectives of the new programme are already mainstreamed through the work of ARDIA-Net i.e.:a) Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities;b) Supporting the coordination between innovation activities and policies;c) Supporting clusters cooperation in transnational value chains relevant for S3 (Smart Specialisation Strategies).
The 10-minutes presentation of ARDIA-Net was structured in three chapters: an introduction presenting the challenges faced by the consortium i.e. the regularly missing cross-regional approach in the regional research & innovation funding programmes and the existing funding gap for projects involving many Alpine regions and conceived as such; Sergi also pointed out that many programme owners still think that cross-regional cooperation is not easy. The second part was dedicated to the results achieved during the two years already implemented, highlighting the AlpsConnect scheme, the pilot call Innovation Express and the wide outreach of the project results through contacts with DG REGIO, EUSALP (AG1 and AG2), EUSBR, EUSDR and INTERACT programme. As wrap-up of the presentation a testimonial video by Judit Schrick-Szenczi from Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg was displayed. The role of Ms. Schrick-Szenczi has been pivotal in the conception and facilitation of the Innovation Express, a pilot call inspired in the BSR Stars Innovation Express scheme implemented in the Baltic Sea Region from 2013 to 2017.
ARDIA-Net is heading towards the last semester of implementation, that will conclude with a Final Conference on 10th-11st May in Milan.
ARDIA-Net consortium is composed of: BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH and Bavarian Research Alliance GmbH (Germany), Business Upper Austria - OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH and Innovations- und Technologietransfer Salzburg GmbH (Austria), Lombardy Green Chemistry Association and SC-Sviluppo Chimica S.p.A. (Italy), Poly4EmI hosted by Anteja ECG d.o.o. (Slovenia), and University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland - School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg (Switzerland).