Brainport Development Action plan aims to reinforce, implement and support technological and applied research infrastructure and strengthen public and private R&D infrastructure. There has been much progress made to achieve this goal since the approval of the plan in the beginning of this year. These are just some of the highlights of the progress made.

To strengthen the additive manufacturing ecosystem and enhance SME participation, a start of the creation of a strong AM community has been made. First of all, a regional and international market exploration of opportunities has taken place. This resulted in a long list and a short list of targets: companies, clusters and networks, a.o. jointly with Flemish cluster organization Flan3D. Besides, a mapping of needs for 3d-printing facilities in North West Europe occurred. Next steps will be to cluster regional stakeholders and increase inter-regional collaborations.

With respect to enhancing SME participation, Brainport defined the aim to stimulate SMEs to make the digital transformation. As a first step, a new mid term agenda is being formulated, in which attention to the digitization of SMEs in the manufacturing industry, including additive manufacturing. This includes a.o. improving the connection of SMEs to existing field labs. Besides, by creating other experimentation spaces with the help of the frontrunners or the most innovative manufacturing companies in the region, more easy-accessible fieldlabs and demonstration spaces will be created.

Also, a start has been made to create the “Brainport Business Innovation Board”, a sounding board of around 50 innovative entrepreneurs and SME leaders, which will advice regarding future technology and innovations. A core group has been formed. In the first semester of 2020 we plan a first meeting with the board.

First discussion and information exchange to establish an inter-regional collaboration programme between Flanders and Brainport between the Management Authorities of Flanders (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) and South Netherlands (Stimulus Programme Management) has been set-up with positive feedback. A start of the co-ordination of regional RIIs has been made by comparing the infrastructures financed within both ERDF programmes in both regions. Next meeting is planned for January 2020 with the aim to align regional policies related to Industry 4.0 and business models to support SME access to infrastructures.

The first “Flemish – Netherlands Science and Innovation Day” has been held on October 28th. The goal of it was to bring together the triple helix stakeholders on both sides of the border around the themes Life Sciences, Healthcare, Artificial Intelligence, Industry 4.0 and Sustainable Energy.

For optimal use of the selected policy instrument OP Zuid, one of the goals is to achieve that more international partners take part in the projects. The result of discussions during steering group meetings is that the M.A. is considering to dedicate the rest funding by the end of the programme period to a specific call focussing on international collaboration.

Also, Brainport pleed for diminishing the complexity and bureaucracy of the procedures, in order to make it easier for SMEs to participate. Result: this topic is recognized as high priority and a project group on the topic has been formed together with other MAs in the Netherlands.

The policy Instrument for Brainport Development is the ERDF Operational Plan South Netherlands, which has several main goals:

• specific goal 1b1: structural reinforcement and widening of open innovation ecosystems and crossovers between sectors of international and national importance. With higher participation of SMEs;

• goal 1b2: strengthening valorization among innovative SMEs within the international and national top clusters;

• goal 1b3: sustainable reinforcement of the human capital system (matching demand and supply) within the top clusters.

More information about the Action plan for the Brainport Development can be found here:

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 impelled and their implementation progress is being regularly monitored. The Phase 2 of the project will end in December 2020. The main results of the project will be showcased during the final conference which will take place in Bologna, Italy next year.