Vidzeme Planning Region’s action plan aims to improve the accessibility and the exploitation of local Research and Innovation Infrastructure (RII) assets by SMEs in Vidzeme region. To reach this aim, an important step is to initiate the research and innovation ecosystem in the region. The action plan consists of four actions and here is the progress made during the Phase 2 of the INNO INFRA SHARE project.

Vidzeme Planning Region (VPR) has been working closely with the Managing Authorities of innovation, regional development and industrial policies in Latvia – The Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development on the first action “Streamline policy framework”. As a result, regional research and innovation platform, based on the identified good practices in the Phase 1 of the project, is included in the Regional Development Policy Guidelines, and subsequently also referred to in the Guidelines of Industrial Policy and Science, Research and Innovation Policy. Also, Open Lab model and consortiums for shared research and innovation infrastructures were reviewed by the MAs in the context of current operational programme and are considered for the potential funding in the next ERDF planning period. VPR is including the platform in the Development Programme of the region, being developed in 2020.

Work on establishing the platform is also part of the second action “Regional research and innovation consultative platform”. Inspired by project partners in Estonia and Sweden, VPR has introduced yearly Vidzeme Innovation Week that takes place in February each year and gather international, national and regional public and private stakeholders to exchange ideas and shape the future of innovation in the region. The Vidzeme Innovation Week serves as a main connecting event for MAs and all the innovation stakeholders and RII owners in the region. Two Innovation Weeks have been organized by VPR in the Phase 2 of the project - in 2019 and 2020. An on-line innovation week will be organized in the February of 2021.

The third action is “Training and motivation of regional stakeholders” which has been ongoing during the whole Phase 2. VPR has actively disseminated partner best practices, especially Estonian and Swedish examples of open and shared RIIs and large innovation related events with regional RII owners, experts from MAs and other Planning regions in Latvia. Latest training took place in November 2020 when Belgian partners from Flanders Make introduced their mobile RII Make Lab to Vidzeme stakeholders. After the INNO INFRA SHARE final conference where this infrastructure was presented, there was an active interest from several RII owners in the regions in learning more about Make Lab experience developing cooperation with industry and sustainable RII business models.

Action 4 “International cooperation” has been the most influenced by the Covid-19 crisis. Just before that luckily VPR stakeholders had the chance to visit Skåne region, Sweden for an in-depth review of the Skåne Open Lab model. Read more about it here.

Moving forward, work on further implementing the action plan will stretch beyond the accomplishments in Phase 2 of the project. The good practices of our project partners - accessible state of the art RIIs, their sustainable exploitation models and innovation ecosystems built around them, will continue to be reliable and inspirational references for our future activities. VPR is actively working with the MAs and regional stakeholders to elaborate the regional innovation platform in all the policy documents and secure the operational and funding model for this instrument.

All partners forming the INNO INFRA SHARE project consortium have successfully completed Phase 1 of the project which culminated in the development of the Action plans for each region involved and are currently implementing the Phase 2 of the project during which these action plans are implemented and their implementation progress is being regularly monitored. The Phase 2 of the project will end in December 2020.