Pilot Project I and II

Pilot Project 1 "Cooperation with Innovation and business intermediaries at county or subregional level"
Pilot Project 2 "Cooperation with local authorities on internationalisation"

Findings of the Pilot Project 1 of IPP

During the project’s lifetime, the partners met three times to discuss the developments of Pilot Project 1: first in Nyiregyhaza last year, then this year in Magdeburg in February and in Jurmala in June. Three workshops have been organized in Jurmala about the following topics: Cooperation between universities, between business support organisations and SMEs and between EU service agencies of the IPP regions.

In the sessions the participants discussed concrete measures to continue the cooperation between their agencies and agreed on the exchange of information on cooperation wishes of SMEs, rising projects, support structures/institutions and on upcoming events. Using their direct contacts (via IT-tool, cooperation of enterprises, workshops) and organizing the “Regions Day” event twice a year (in a rotation of the partners, focusing on one industrial sector, supported politically by IPP partners and inviting speakers from other IPP partner regions) are two other tools to keep and  follow up their joint activities. The participants have once more identified common areas of interest, which are: Food industries, Materials, Renewable Energy, Eco innovation/eco design and Waste management.

With regard to the question how the leaders of the institutions support the EU academic network, Mrs. Köhne and Mrs. Hagen (from Germany) explained that the directors of the different universities of applied sciences are members of the board of the EU academic network. The representatives of the network get together with them during annual meetings, in which they report on the activities of the network and get feedback by the leaders of the universities. In addition the network cooperates well with the regional ministry and maintains contacts with the national contact points of the programmes. Universities from across Germany conduct regular meetings to exchange experiences.  This might be one of the Good Practices that the project partners can exchange between each other.

 Pilot Project 1 Workshop and Study Trip in Magdeburg

On 22nd February 2012 the representatives of several EU advisory service agencies came together in Magdeburg to learn about networking techniques. The first topic of the day was how to generate project ideas with partners. Ms. Jana Görs of Zephram pointed out that the choice of participants; location and workshop design are the essential basics. The participants discussed how the specific challenges of European project calls affect their preparation of workshops and Ms. Görs presented a general workshop concept, consisting of 4 steps: Introduction, Clarification of key topics / attributes, Identification of project ideas in groups, Presentation of pre-selected ideas by group.

The second part of the workshop focused on techniques to help partners cooperate and create commitment on project ideas. Given a topic, ideas for projects can be developed by looking at problems, competences of the partners and at key success factors with regard to this topic. The next steps are presenting the idea to all participants, finding others interested in the idea, identifying how they can contribute, defining further steps in the cooperation and naming the responsible partner for pushing the development of the project idea further.

Following the lecture the participants of the pilot workshop were encouraged to try out the presented techniques for idea generation in smaller groups.

After the workshop the partners of the pilot project were officially welcomed by the lord mayor of Magdeburg, Dr. Lutz Trümper. He underlined the importance of internationalisation for the city and wished the participants of the IPP meeting an interesting and fruitful stay in the city.

Examples of industry and innovative research facilities were also introduced to the IPP partners during the site visits. The first stop was the MHKW waste to energy plant (www.mhkw-rothensee.de) as part of the regional waste management system. Participants learnt about the development of the plant and the treatment of waste for the production of energy and community heating. The guided tour also allowed for a look inside the monitoring room of the plant.

The vdtc Virtual Development and Training Centre of the Fraunhofer Institue (www.vdtc.de) introduced applied research of the latest virtual reality technologies for applications in industry. The IPP partners experienced the 360° projection system and three-dimensional visualisation, which can be used for virtual engineering to plan, test and operate technical systems. The vdtc is located in the Port of Science. During a short tour it was explained that the area of the formerly unused harbour is being developed into a science quarter. This urban development project is also an example of international cooperation, as it has benefited from the project REDIS, in which Magdeburg exchanged ideas with other European cities on rebuilding city quarters for knowledge based development.

Pilot Project 2 Workshops in Sandersdorf-Brehna and Daugavpils

“Internationalisation” has more than one dimension and affects many stakeholders and also levels of local administration. This was the starting point when the partners of the pilot “Internationalisation Strategies for Local Authorities” gathered for their second meeting on 21st  February in Sandersdorf-Brehna / Saxony-Anhalt. Mrs. Sarmite Rozentale of the Vidzeme University of Applied sciences explained that internationalisation as part of the territorial development needs to take into account the territorial capital, defined by elements from the sphere of nature and infrastructure, knowledge, society or identity as well as the relations in between. Furthermore she introduced a draft methodology for the development of a strategy which was based on these pillars.

A practical example for increasing the awareness about a municipality was introduced by Jörg Böttcher from the City of Magdeburg. Their “City of Otto”-marketing campaign focuses on the unique feature of having two famous persons named Otto linked with the history of the city and has opened itself to cooperations with institutions and companies from the city.

In the afternoon session several other examples of how internationalisation is fostered by municipalities were presented. Then the participants divided into working groups to discuss more potential measures regarding identity, education and social platforms. In continuation of the meeting the pilot partners addressed the topic of necessary prerequisites for internationalisation in the local administration and how to achieve them. To complement the territorial capital approach – introduced beforehand –, 8 steps for the development of an internationalization strategy were identified.
The updated methodology was also the main topic during the 3rd meeting of the pilot partners, which was held on 26th April in Daugavpils / Latvia.  The participants discussed how the methodology could be implemented in their municipalities and found that the most likely challenges to be faced are the commitment of decision makers, the motivation of employees and the lack of skills. To overcome these obstacles, it was suggested to involve the political decision makers before the beginning of the internationalization process, to integrate colleagues into internationalization activities happening “at home” and to show the benefits of internationalization activities for municipalities and for individual persons. The improvement of the available skills by vocational training programmes, by intercultural/project management skills, by modern communication tools, by staff exchange and also by the employment of skilled staff was emphasized.

The finalised Methodology of Internationalisation Strategies for Local Authorities was presented to the public during the Mainstreaming seminar on 14thJune in Jurmala / Latvia.

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