Setting a new direction towards smart and collaborative innovation in the Baltic Sea Region. International conference gathers more than 100 participants

Recently, the international conference “Setting a new direction towards smart and collaborative innovation in the Baltic Sea Region” gathered more than 100 participants to unite them in identifying the role of smart and collaborative innovation in the BSR.

Multiple experts from all over the Europe, representing European Commission, European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, Interreg BSR Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat, The Baltic Institute of Finland and other organisations coming from different sectors were invited to share their views and knowledge on important macro-regional actualities covering the current situation on involving the society in developing an innovation ecosystem that works for the industry and to present the expected support for joint innovation within the Baltic Sea Region in the future.

Watch the recording of this conference >> here <<.

Simon Stermann, Chairman of the EUSBSR National Coordinators’ Group joined the conference to give an insight on the new EUSBSR strategies. It was emphasized that one of the key focuses this time is “to  ensure effective involvement of national, regional and local stakeholders, citizens and civil society, including young people, in the implementation of the macro-regional strategies“, while keeping in mind that there’s a constant need to adapt the direction of where we’re going while increasing the visibility of the changes of strategies through strategic communication. “By creating platforms to show how we’re working on our strategies, we can show our citizens that we’re relevant,” stressed Stermann.

The participants also had the chance to get acquainted with the new Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme 2021-2027, regarding the main priorities and planned support, presented by Charis-Ariadni Loupasi, Project Officer and Deputy Programme Manager at Interreg BSR MA/JS. It was emphasized that for the next period, the Customer orientation as well as the Supporting transition will be the key aspects to build and bring out the best values while developing the BSR. Good practice examples from previous and ongoing projects were presented as an inspiration for the audience on the possible opportunities because of such collaborations amongst countries and regions across the borders.

“We need innovation. It’s our absolute core interest,” stressed Sebastian Rynkiewicz, President of the Board in Metal Processing Cluster in Poland during a panel discussion in which representatives of Artificial Intelligence Centre of Hamburg, Metal Processing Cluster in Poland, the Latvian Food Bioeconomy Cluster and the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia gathered to discuss “how can a policy get along with the needs of an industry?”. “The policy makers must listen, understand the needs of the stakeholders and ask the right questions  in order to facilitate a good collaboration,” emphasized Kristaps Ročāns, managing director of the Latvian Food Bioeconomy Cluster.

The experts of the conference invited the audience to partake in the discussion not only on the creation of an innovation ecosystem, but on practical examples of how knowledge transfer and cooperation of cross-border innovation can be promoted through the implementation of pilot projects. Practical examples of how Transnational Innovation Brokerage System (TIBS) is piloted in the BSR, with the experience stories from support providers and companies representing Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, and Estonia were given.

TIBS is piloted in the Baltic Sea Region within the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programmes’ 2014-2020 project “Strengthening smart specialisation by fostering transnational cooperation” (GoSmart BSR). The international conference was organised by the Vidzeme Planning Region (Latvia) in close cooperation with EUSBSR Policy Area Innovation and was also selected to be one of the local events of the European Union Industry Week 2021 and one of the Vidzeme Innovation Week 2021 events.

With GoSmart BSR we are increasingly working together and implementing the smart specialisation strategies, not just exchanging good practices. This project has already been a very innovative, ambitious and advanced example which has laid an excellent foundation and basis on which we can build as we’re moving on to the new programme period,” emphasized one of the conference experts – Esa Kokkonen, EUSBSR PA Innovation coordinator, Director of The Baltic Institute of Finland.

The conference video as well as the presentation from each expert can be found  >> here <<. Follow the GoSmart BSR social media to see the summaries of each sector which will be posted in our Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

More information: Santa Vītola, Project Manager in Vidzeme Planning Region,

Prepared by: Marta Riekstiņa, Communication Manager in Vidzeme Planning Region,