During the Smart Regions conference in Helsinki, June 1-2, the Vanguard Initiative was well represented both in the panel discussions and debates and also in the parallel sessions. In the closing panel discussion on collaboration in smart specialisation areas across EU borders, the Vanguard Initiative Interreg Europe project S34Growth was presented as a good example on interregional smart specialisation collaboration.
On June 1 and 2 the European Commission organised the Smart Regions conference in Helsinki. Regions from all over Europe gathered to discuss the next steps for the Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms, which were launched by the European Commission one year ago. These platforms offers an integrated approach and support framework for the implementation of regions’ Smart Specialisation Strategies in Agrofood, Energy and Industrial Modernisation.
Vanguard Initiative was buzzing throughout the two-day conference. The network was repeatedly mentioned during the plenary sessions. Professor Bianchi, Emilia Romagna chair of Vanguard and Mr. Irujo Amezaga PhD from Vanguard region Navarra, and the Committee of the Regions rapporteur on Smart Specialisation, where both part of the opening panel sessions, and shared their experiences on the Vanguard Initiatives contribution to maxmising Europe's innovation potential. The Vanguard cooperation was also put forward by Richard Tuffs, director from ERRIN and on the same stage Vanguard Initiative was presented as the main pillar of the S34Growth project, an Interreg Europe project of 10 Vanguard regions from 8 countries which explores the development of an innovative interregional element to the participating regions structural fund policy instruments.
Vanguard Initiative is committed to bring the cooperation within the S3 platforms forward and is pioneering innovative approaches in doing so. During one of the parallel sessions of the conference South Netherlands took the floor to present the network and more in particular the investment projects the network brings forward and the financial needs of those. Wim de Kinderen from Brainport Development explained that the Vanguard Initiative pilots and their democases aim to set up a pipeline of investments in specific value chains. As an example De Kinderen elaborated on the "hybrid material printing" democase in our 3D-Printing pilot.
During the parallel sessions, pilot leads from several Vanguard regions took the floor to pitch the state of play of their specific thematic pilot cooperation. Moreover several Vanguard members such as Baden-Württemberg and Lombardy gave contributions to the event on their Smart Specialisation Strategies.