If you wish to know a bit more about what we actually do. You can get an overview of our main activities here.

Expanding our knowledge base

We will support the knowledge transfer between the cities and regions, the clusters and academia. Regional innovation strategies (RIS3) focus on the strengths of a region – they seldom take into account the synergies with neighbouring regions and the potential of transnational cooperation

Therefore, we will expand our knowledge on how RIS3 can support internationalisation and how clusters can use this. These findings will provide valuable input to the capacity building on political and strategic level.

We also intend to dig deeper into how clusters support SME internationalization and innovation participation. This will provide a basis for cluster capacity building.

Want to know more?

Read more of our preliminary results and from our meeting in December 2017, and download the summary of preliminary results below. Get at 1-page overview of these activities in the sheet "Northern Connections - Baseline knowledge" below.

Read the short version


Building cluster capacity for innovation

The participating clusters will jointly develop and test tools to improve SME’s innovation skills – and in doing so also build their own capacity for regional innovation support. It will allow the clusters to adapt their services to meet enterprise needs. Our work will lead us to an in-depth understanding of the exact working of Regional Innovation Systems for each region and identify bottlenecks in the innovation systems.

Activities entail identification of existing innovation support measures – specified per renewable energy technology (RET) value chain and covering each step of the innovation chain on Technology Readiness Level 5-9.

The activities will also lead to an understanding of how to develop and carry out interregional innovation activities for SMEs around innovation support measures already tied into regional RET value and innovation chains.

A model for synergetic interregional cooperation, where SMEs can profit from innovation and business opportunities through the alignment of interregional innovation and value chains is unique. It will contribute significantly to existing projects and initiatives like Enterprise Europe Network and European Cluster of Excellence Initiative.

Want to know more?

You can read some of our discussion points here.

Get info on our toolbox for clusters here.

Download version 1.0 of our Toolbox of Innovation Support Measures. This compilation of examples can be adapted by cluster actors to enhance innovation capacity. Selected measures will be implemented in our coming living labs. 


Building political and strategic capacity

By bringing together regions, cities and clusters, we can create the basis for discussing how smart specialisation strategies can be optimised to support SME innovation across borders. Our aim is to stimulate the international competitiveness of the region and extend the innovation collaboration between clusters, regions and cities.

We will develop and test new practices for building an international dimension into regional smart specialisation strategies, with a particular focus on living labs and how a coordinated effort from clusters and cities play a key role in this.

You can read some of our discussion points here as well as an example from Århus, Denmark. Get at 1-page overview of these activities in the sheet "Northern Connectins - Policy" below.

You can also download our Recommendations and tools for Cities and Regions as drivers for innovation.


Living Labs

We are working with setting practises on involving SMEs in solving the energy challenges of cities and regions. This we are doing through what we call Living Labs. A sustainable energy Living Lab is a real demonstration project with actual industry investments, technologies and experts - it is not merely a demonstration project, that is static and limited to its existing partners. 

In this project, SMEs receive access to an early phase of developing a pool of solutions towards these often public, but also private challenges. They are made accessible in open-solution pitches i.e. world-café workshops starting 2018. These workshops to be carried out throughout the North-Sea region will create a true market place. There will be joint learning effects in the public partners, the clusters and enterprises for cross-sectoral projects and future Living Labs. Also the transregional SME partnerships will strengthen the value chains and close individual knowledge gaps through joint ideation and market testing.

We started out the proces with a long list of 170 potential living labs and shortlisted 40. We are now in the process of further shortlisting. 

We have now carried out two Living Lab sessions - one in South Denmark and one in Oslo. Learn more about the South Energy Living Lab in the video below. 

Below you can download our Short Guide to Living Labs and our Specification form for the shortlist proces. 

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Want to know more about Northern Connections - Download our master slides.