We continue our virtual tour across Europe meeting Interreg Europe funded DIGITAL REGIONS project partners to find out more about project development. This week we stop in Biel / Bienne (Switzerland) to speak with Pascal Hirt, Project Assistant at Swiss Smart Factory.


Why is the DIGITAL REGIONS project needed in your region?

In our region, we are an innovation leader (RIS 2019). However, this project showed during the analysis, that SMEs have a lack of knowledge and awareness for I4.0 and related support and funding. Furthermore, lots of different innovation initiatives exist but it is difficult to keep an overview. This project lays out this discrepancy and is searching for solutions to fill the gap between the offer of innovation initiatives and the knowledge and needs within the SME environment to digitally transform. This challenge is highly needed to address this challenge.

What have you learnt from project partners?

We have learned that we face very similar challenges across whole Europe. The knowledge exchange and seeing how other partners deal with similar circumstances has been very insightful and enriching to learn from.

Are you inspired by any good practices shared?

E.g. the virtual tours from project partners have showed great good practice examples. They show on a very practical and individual manner how the digitalization is faced and addressed in the specific region and with specific solutions. These solutions are very inspiring and show us different ways how we could solve similar situations we may not have been considered yet or where we have different approaches.

How are stakeholders engaging in your region?

We held every few months advisory board meetings with regional experts within the field of digitalization. This is the main engagement with our stakeholders. These meetings have been either in person or virtually and are designed as an engaging workshop with different creative activities. Thereby, the participants could contribute in an efficient way to the topic, and we could gain a lot of great insights to different topics and ideas we have prepared in advanced. In addition to the advisory board workshop, we have been in contact with different stakeholders from the industry to have interviews with them which we may contact in a later stage of the project again.