There is a pressing need to activate collaborations between Eastern and Western European organizations to foster the knowledge transfer that is essential if we are to maximize innovation and technology commercialisation and enable technology-led growth in Eastern Europe, thereby opening new markets and internationalization opportunities for both Eastern and Western European countries.

This knowledge transfer, as well as presenting a massive opportunity for the receiving countries to enhance their Regional Innovation Strategies and to drive economic growth through innovation also represents an important opportunity for the Science and Technology Parks and Areas of Innovation in the more mature innovation ecosystems of Western Europe to develop new markets for their know-how and to cultivate partnerships which will lead to significant internationalization opportunities.

Eastern European countries, whether already members of the European Union (like Poland or the Czech Republic) or about to join (like Croatia) have access to funding opportunities to facilitate this kind of knowledge sharing. In fact the Joint Technical Secretariat of the Central Europe Programme has exactly this function. The event will examine funding opportunities and mechanisms as well as real world case histories of successful East/West collaborations.

The afternoon session will give a chance to better focus the discussion around thematic roundtables devoted to “Regional Smart Specialisation and Science and Technology Parks” and to “building partnerships for growth: technology-based business development”. The program foresees also a third thematic roundtable whose theme will be identified by the participants according to a participatory approach to be adopted before and during the workshop .

The first thematic roundtable, dedicated to “Regional Smart Specialisation and Science and Technology Parks” will examine the role Science and Technology Parka and Areas of Innovation can play in the delivery of the European Commission’s vision of Smart Specialisation, which is defined on the “Smart Specialisation Platform” as follows:

“Smart Specialisation is a strategic approach to economic development through targeted support to Research and Innovation (R&I). It will be the basis for Structural Fund investments in R&I as part of the future Cohesion Policy’s contribution to the Europe 2020 jobs and growth agenda.

More generally, smart specialisation involves a process of developing a vision, identifying competitive advantage, setting strategic priorities and making use of smart policies to maximise the knowledge-based development potential of any region, strong or weak, high-tech or low-tech.”

It is clear that Science and Technology Parks and Areas of Innovation can offer much to further the objectives of Smart Specialisation. They can act as hubs around which Smart Specialisation can grow, facilitators of Smart Specialisation Programs or centres of excellence where the core competences necessary for Smart Specialisation can be concentrated. We shall discuss existing and potential future strategies to exploit the full potential of Science and Technology Parks and Areas of Innovation as drivers and enablers of Smart Specialisation.

As a global organization  IASP is uniquely well placed to facilitate the bringing together of East and West in a win-win partnership for future growth and AREA Science Park, a full member of IASP for many years, stands at the geographical and historical gateway between Eastern and Western Europe and has already demonstrated its commitment to knowledge sharing with its near neighbours. Drawing on its long history of successful technology commercialisation expertise and its innovation management system AREA, like other Western Science and Technology Parks has begun to work in direct partnership with organisations in Eastern European countries including Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as well as those more Southern Eastern Mediterranean countries like Turkey.

The event will be an interactive showcase of best practice as well as an opportunity to network and build partnerships for the future.

A great emphasis will be put on presenting case studies from some of the most experienced managers in IASP, so don’t miss the opportunity to make your voice heard!