On June 1 and 2 the Smart Regions conference took place in Brussels. During this conference the European Commission launched three Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms which have to make sure there is an integrated approach and support framework for the implementation of regions’ Smart Specialisation Strategies in Agrofood, Energy and Industrial Modernisation, which are the central themes of this first series of platforms. Vanguard Initiative was buzzing throughout the two-day conference. The network was repeatedly mentioned, for example by European Commissioner Ms. Bienkowska, as example of how the collaboration within the platforms should be shaped.
On June 1, South Netherlands and Lombardy took the floor during a working session to explain more about the network and the efforts that members put in shaping and facilitating the Vanguard pilot projects and democases. June 2, during the high level conference programme, the South Netherlands chair of our network, King’s Commissioner Wim van de Donk from the province of Noord-Brabant, was a panelist. Introduced by European Vice-President Mr. Katainen, this panel discussed co-investments for economic transformation. Mr Van de Donk elaborated on the importance of collaboration and co-investment as core priority from Vanguard Initiative, the learning by doing mentality and commitment of Vanguard Initiative members. He stressed the promising collaboration that Vanguard Initiative has with the European Commission and talked about the inspiration that Vanguard Initiative is and wishes to be for collaboration in Europe.
Vanguard Initiative was moreover visible at the exhibition area of the conference through the stand of South Netherlands and Asturias.