Delegates from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough area and eight other European regions met in Cambridge on 29th to 30th March as part of the HIGHER project. Funded through the Interreg Europe programme, HIGHER aims to impove innovation policy through a smart specialisation approach. HIGHER partners provide analysis and exchange experience and good practice on the management and implementation of policy instruments designed to promote innovation projects through collaboration between research centres, industry and public authorities.
The first day of the two-day event at the Future Business Centre in Cambridge provided a forum for a partner update on progress with the project. The second day gave an opportunity for the international partners to hear from Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network and GCGP LEP about UK approaches to smart specialisation, including the national Smart Specialisation Hub and the East of England Science and Innovation Audit. Delegates also learned about three research and innovation projects – KEEP+, REACTOR and Innovation Bridge – currently funded by ERDF in the GCGP area.
Partners from Stockholm shared some innovative approaches to smart specialisation from the Swedish capital. HIGHER partners also shared their best practice examples on various aspects of smart specialisations, including governance, the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process and transnational cooperation and value chains.
The HIGHER project has been operational since April 2016 and will run until April 2020. Through workshops, study visits and thematic summits, as well as joint analyses, peer reviews and e-learning modules, the partners exchange experiences and good practice with the aim of improving policy instruments in each region. The partnership is led by UAB Research Park in Barcelona. The other partners working alongside GCGP are from the Marche and Abruzzo Regions in Italy; Nordregio (Sweden); CEiiA (Portugal); the Lithuanian Innovation Centre; the Association of Urban Municipalities of Slovenia; and the Central Macedonia Region (Greece).
The next scheduled HIGHER event will be an Innovation Summit organised by the Lithuanian Innovation Centre, to be held in Vilnius on 17th to 18th May.