International Conference "Danube: Innovation in flow"
Project EcoInn Danube boosted eco-innovators in joint efforts to tackle environmental issues
By: EcoInn Danube
Eco-innovators, university lecturers, projects of the Danube Transnational Cooperation Programme 2014 -2020 and students met on the April 9th on the occasion of the International Conference "Danube: Innovation in flow" to discuss eco-innovation, circular economy, waste management and new tools, strategies and pilots introduced by the project Eco-innovatively connected Danube region (EcoInn Danube).
The event organized by CCI Vratsa was opened by Bulgarian deputy Minister of Regional Development and Tourism, Mrs. Denitsa Nikolova who has underlined the importance of the innovation in the Danube region and has claimed that “in order to develop the economic, cultural, scientific and human potential of the Danube region, we must focus on increasing the participation of all stakeholders at the territorial level and on the implementation of partnerships at local and regional level”. Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, President of Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has pointed out, that “statistics show that about 7% of waste that reach the ocean is thrown by Europeans but if this waste is coming to the Danube river there is no good future for the Black sea – we would like to see the practical results from the EcoInn Danube project”. He also mentioned the opportunities which innovations give, especially to countries like Bulgaria which entered EU later than previous initial members.
Besides the presentation of the EcoInn Danube project outcomes, the event was an opportunity for matchmaking of projects addressing the topics concerning Innovative and Socially responsible Danube region, representatives of eco-innovative Bulgarian companies, such as Mr. Hristo Aleksiev from Playground Energy, Bulgaria, who showcased playground cradles and climbers that can generate electricity when used. The panel focused on current issues in the field of circular economy has introduced companies Geocycle Bulgaria, BalBok energy and Vadima.
The motivational message of the event - to enhance the cooperation between eco-innovation actors – was overall key in drafting the outcomes of the project EcoInn Danube that will be completed in May 2019. The project has implemented four group of activities to achieve the goal of a broader cooperation between the partners.
The project consortium, comprising of 13 partner organisations from 10 countries of the Danube region under the lead partner Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information has gathered important stakeholders on local and international roundtables to collect their opinions and perceptions on the obstacles and challenges they are facing, that have translated into a Common Transnational Strategy for eco-knowledge which is accompanied by Joint Action Plan – putting forward a great number of immediate and long-term actions.
To tackle one of the most pressing issues – lack of cooperation of the R&D sector with private companies, the project has developed a Virtual Lab – www.ecoinnovative.eu a marketplace for offers and demands for eco-innovations. The Virtual Lab has been continually filled with offers of innovative technologies and demands for cooperation together with a contact map with relevant institutions across the region and news from the sector.
Transferring eco-knowledge has been one of the priorities of the Danube Transnational Programme. EcoInn Danube has gathered different representatives of eco-innovation cycle on matchmaking and networking events on national and transnational level where it has collected data about (un) successful transfers of eco-knowledge that were transferred onto two outcomes - Guidelines on Successful Transfer of Eco-knowledge to Praxis Based on Previous Experience in the Region and Common Guidebook helping to orientate in the current state of art, with examples of successful eco-innovation, contact list of national innovation infrastructures – incubators, science and technology parks, agencies, patent offices and many more, overview of national legislature, commercial law and many useful information.
Building eco-innovation awareness and capacity has been a mission which was fulfilled with three successful Green Summer Schools in Stuttgart, Bratislava and Vienna and two international Green Innovation Forums – in Brno and Stuttgart, where ecoinnovative ideas were in the centre of attention – start-ups, innovators, students and researchers pitching their ideas in front of investors, panels with international experts addressing the most pressing issues.
Overall, a substantial effort was made to translate the motto of the project – environmental problems do not respect borders – we must act together to tackle them.
Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA): EcoInn Danube- DTP1-1-291-1.1