Northern Connections

Collaboratively moving clean tech innovations forward

15 April 2019 - Published by Anne Katrine Arentsen
Fast tracking the development of emerging innovative solutions in "green tech" through public - private collaboration.

The European union has tripled financial support for energy saving projects from €6 billion in 2007-2013 to €18billion in the 2014-2020 funding period. The EU’s longer-term target is to increase environmental protection spend to 20% of the total EU budget allocation across Member States.

In line with this emphasis on supporting energy saving projects, Scottish Enterprise is moving forward with the Northern Connections Interreg project, that has the overarching aim of developing transnational business connections and increase the rate at which SME’s internationalise and collaborate across borders on the themes of sustainable development.

Realising these collaborative synergies will help fast track the development of emerging innovative solutions in "green tech" driving efficiencies in energy use within the domestic and commercial settings.

Living labs are a key activity of the project providing the platform to highlight local sustainable development challenges and inviting SME’s across partner countries to showcase clean tech capabilities and solutions to address these challenges. Through this process there are opportunities for SME’s to enter new markets, identify collaboration opportunities and gain insights from new technologies being developed across the northern countries.

See here a video from Arbnco, a Glasgow based company, explaining the benefits of participating at the living lab event in Denmark.

8 living labs will be showcased throughout the project life time, up to June 2020.
2 living labs took place in 2018, one in Denmark on the 7th of November, focused on addressing challenges in smart home technologies, encouraging green behaviour and management of smart grids and one in Oslo on the 29th November focused on clean technologies for management of commercial buildings and homes.

6 more living labs are scheduled during 2019 and 2020, including one in Scotland focused on CO2 utilisation. Details on these living labs will be shared on the Northern Connections website as they become available from partners. You can already now see the one in Gothenburg on 8th May on sustainable building, and there will be one in Hamburg in June.

The core Scottish Enterprise project team, Marta Eizaguirre, Hamish Hunter and Liz Murphy (SRO), have participated in the Living labs and other partnership activities, leading amongst other things to establishing links between the Maas Scotland cluster and Swedish Maas projects, and identifying a potential partnership opportunity with Sweden on CO2 capture and utilisation.

We have established close connections between clean tech clusters in Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Germany and Sweden so if you require introductions or information on these please contact the team.

Creation of an innovation toolbox gathering learning and best practice on innovation schemes and programmes from across the partner countries is also underway and will be finalised in mid-2020.

If you want to know more about the project please contact Hamish Hunter or Marta Eizaguirre, Scottish Enterprise. We will be working with our colleagues from the Energy sector team, SDI and Enterprise Europe in the recruitment of SME’s to participate in the forthcoming living labs in 2019, so keep an eye for our follow-on articles and Yammer posts.