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Panel Brussels Future Talks: Förderung von Innovationsökosystemen durch Widening

Brussels FutureTalks: Development of innovation ecosystems through Widening

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How can European countries that need to catch up in terms of research and development be supported? The seventh edition of "Brussels: FutureTalks" explored this question. More than 70 experts and stakeholders from politics and practice discussed what contribution the EU Widening programme can make and what framework conditions will be needed in the

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22nd November 2023 — On 20 November 2023, the DLR Project Management Agency hosted its seventh Brussels FutureTalks event series. The discussion on "Fostering Innovation Ecosystems in Europe: Which Role for Widening?" took place in cooperation with the Polish National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR).

The aim of the Widening Programme is to ensure scientific excellence in all EU Member States and to increase the participation of Member States that are less well established in research and innovation - the so-called Widening countries - in Horizon Europe. The European Commission has already signalled that it considers the Widening Work Programme to be a central part of this, but sees a need for strategic and substantive change.

Vibrant discussion forum as part of Brussels: FutureTalks

The Brussels: FutureTalks explored the question of what this can include and what is special about Widening and offered an open discussion framework in which decision-makers could present their views. More than 70 participants from the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions, national and regional representations, European networks, research institutions and practical projects accepted the invitation.

DLR Project Management Agency supports strategic innovation projects

Right at the beginning, the speaker from the European Commission made it clear that Widening is a success story. Both the high level of participation in the calls for proposals and the numerous participations in the programme speak for themselves. In any case, German institutions are among the most sought-after partners and can generate considerable added value through research cooperation with Widening partners. Last but not least, a special report by the European Court of Auditors in 2022 confirms that the measures to expand participation in Horizon 2020 were well designed and effective. At the same time, the European Commission sees the need to further develop the programme while retaining what has been tried and tested.

Best practice: Teaming measures

Polish and German representatives of the SANO project, a successful example of a so-called Teaming measure, made it clear that German research institutions also benefit from this. The SANO project successfully established a Centre of Excellence in Krakow with the help of a German partner, which deals with computational medicine. The aim is to develop and apply new, advanced computing technologies and use them to improve human health.

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Regions need a clear plan on how the relevant stakeholders can be supported through strategic development projects that promote the development of value chains.

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Thomas Lämmer-Gamp
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Head of Department Regional Research and Innovation Policy in the Devision of European and International Cooperation at the DLR Projektträger
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Thomas Lämmer-Gamp
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How the integration of innovation ecosystems can succeed

So how can the interlinking of individual innovation ecosystems in the regions themselves succeed? Thomas Lämmer-Gamp, Head of the Regional Research and Innovation Policy Group at the DLR Project Management Agency, emphasised that the real drivers of regional development are the local level and local players. As both universities and companies are part of the European value chains, these need to be developed and expanded. "To do this, the regions need a clear plan on how the relevant stakeholders can be supported through strategic development projects that promote the development of value chains." Ways in which the DLR project management organisation can provide analytical and strategic support for this process were illustrated. This also includes expertise and the realisation that international cooperation – e.g. through Widening – is the key to successful strategic projects. "In order to close the innovation gap," says Thomas Lämmer-Gamp, "funding must be intelligently coordinated along national and European strategies." The Synergy Dialogue Office, which the DLR Project Management Agency implements on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), also advises on these synergy effects.

Another edition of Brussels: FutureTalks is already planned for early 2024, this time on the topic of vocational education and training in the European Year of Skills.

Main and Other Contacts

Contact at DLR Projektträger

Oliver Rohde

Oliver Rohde

Head of Department
Policy Issues
European and International Cooperation
+49 228 3821 1891