Regional Action Plan (RAP) describes the changes that each region aspires to develop in its regional policies, based on the regional excellences and ambitions.

How did Cluster Sports & Technology developed its RAP?

During Phase One of I4S Project, it reviewed the good practices in the different regions and discussed how these could be implement in the region. These information were included in the initial RAP whilst being informed by the cooperation, as well as exchange of knowledge and constrictive feedback with other regions so to present the RAP in December 2020.

What are the Good Practices and Lessons Learned described in the RAP of Cluster Sports & Technology?

Good Practices from Valencia as this included innovation actions on stimulating activity levels of people in the work-setting, as well as boosting health/care system involvement in the innovation field. Indeed, Sport & Technology decided to implement these lessons in its Vitality Living Lab (VLL) whilst expanding its innovation ecosystem by incorporating activities to stimulate vitality not only in the public-space but also in the work-place. In merit, the Good Practice from the Cluster ‘Asociación para el Cuidado de la Calidad de Vida’ (CVIDA) was relevant due: 

• Wide range of stakeholders: industry, health related organisations, research and universities, end-user, organisations and local authorities

• Bottom-up approach

• Customer perspective in health issues

• Positive Public-Private Partnerships to innovate, approve new approaches and create a road map for new developments.

Furthermore, the Arctic Sport Network and its related Smart Specialisation (S3) Policy from Lapland Region was inspiring due:

• Wide range of sport stakeholders: sports associations, sports infrastructure operations, local councils, sports industry and sports related education and research.

• Positive Public-Private Partnerships

• Regional Government interconnective-approach to develop a roadmap and smart specialisation S3 policy (and its financial means) unanimously.

Most remarkably, both regions demonstrates that structural innovation ecosystems around Sports&Vitality are key tools in boosting healthy and active lifestyles whilst creating socio-economic added value in future.

Fig 1: Overview how these good practises have inspired us to come to our (draft) action plan. 

What is the ultimate goal you want to reach with the RAP?

We would like to start a so-called Innovation Hub for Sports&Vitality so to bring innovation and innovators related to sports and vitality together. This innovation hub is a service point to create access to knowledge and innovation actions for both public and private parties. This is a structural collaboration of key partners from our region with the intention to create a globally appealing ecosystem in South Netherlands for start-ups and business development in the domain of Sports&Vitality. Hence, the aim is to increase the investments in innovation for Sports&Vitality through the addressed policy instruments. Indeed, Sport & Technology aspires to influence the OP ZUID program with its RAP.

The current OP ZUID program promotes business investments in Research and Innovation and promotes the adoption of innovative low-carbon technologies in the region through demonstration and pilot projects. The RIS3 strategy of the region is clearly focussing on crossovers between relevant top sectors. Therefore, Sports&Vitality is seen as an interesting crossover that provides interesting opporunties for new businesses. Furthermore, the VLL project focus on reinforcing the economic structures on a major societal challenge (Vitality) and it laid the foundation towards the desired policy changes whilst being part of the current OP ZUID program.

Accordingly, the exchange of knowledge and Good Practice with the I4S consortium has favoured the successfully evidence/advocacy for policy changes. In other words, the current OP ZUID program has been influenced by I4S project. Notwithstanding, the aspiration is to also influence the upcoming OP ZUID program (2021-2027) which will focus on innovation with economic return and social impact in five transitions – all challenges that South Netherland faces and where breakthroughs can be reached thanks to the powerful innovation system in the region. Hence, Sports & Technology mainly contributes to health challenges - care for health - as such its RAP perfectly fits the OP ZUID program (2021–2027) objectives.

How does the Action Plans help you to reach this goal?

The RAP and the Good Practices described demonstrates how certain solutions/approaches in the realm of innovation for  Sports&Vitality  works very well in the other regions already. This “evidence” is essential to further convince regional policy makers to start something similar in the region. Most remarkably, the consortium has the opportunity to develop Pilot Actions which advances the implementation of our RAP and with that the aim of I4S project.