The SMARTY project partners met virtually on 8-9th September, 2020, to exchange good practices on regional policies aimed at supporting Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in their awareness and adoption of Industry 4.0 solutions. Hosted by the Łukasiewicz Research Network-Institute for Sustainable Technologies, the fully virtual event addressed Digital Innovation Hubs initiatives for supporting digital transformation in SMEs.

"Digital Innovation Hubs are becoming increasingly important in the framework of policies supporting innovation and digitization of European SMEs, both at the EU and national and regional levels. Given the significant importance of DIHs in building the innovation ecosystem in Europe, it is also justified to address this topic as part of the SMARTY Project," said Anna Pajak, Project Manager at Łukasiewicz Research Network-Institute for Sustainable Tecgnologies. "During the meeting, we took up three key themes: how different countries approach the coordination of national DIH networks, also, how regional authorities can support this coordination, second, how different DIHs’ organizational structures should be govern to achieve the Digital Europe goals, finally how to create an efficient DIH through the use of resources already existing in the region. "

 On 8 September, nine good practices were presented in two thematic sessions:

Digital Innovation Hubs in Europe: national and regional approaches

• DIH Slovenia - experiences and lessons learnt, Katja Mohar Bastar, DIH Slovenia, Slovenia

• Building the Cataln EDIH for the future: from isolated nodes to an integrated service approach, Dr Eduard Balbuena, i2CAT, Spain

• The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre & Digital Innovation Hubs in the UK, Prof. Rab Scott, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, UK

• The Digital Innovation Hub and Competence Centre in Tuscany – a network for deploying Innovation 4.0 in the Region, Paolo Guarnieri, Municipality of Prato, Italy

Strategic partnerships, competence centres & regional networks towards supporting digital transformation in SMEs

• European Advanced Manufacturing Centre & PIAP HUB, Krzysztof Lipiec, Director Plenipotentiary, Łukasiewicz-Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurments, Poland 

• TEQU : Build it Digital, Matti Vatanen, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Finland

• 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, Sue Cooke, CEO, 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, UK

• Strategic Research & Innovation Partnership for Factory of the Future, Simona Kneževič Vernon, Slovenian Tool and Die Development Ctntre – TECOS, Slovenia

• Incentives for the creation of highly specialized competence centres on I4.0 in Italy, Enrico Venturini & Leonardo Marchetti, Next Technology Tecnotessile (Italy, Tuscany)

• Industry 4.0 in the context of Interregional ecosystems and SMEs promotion applied to boost Europe's economy in the raw materials industry, Dr Santiago Cuesta-Lopez, General Manger, ICAMCYL, Cluster ISMC, Spain

On 9 September, participants had the opportunity to learn about a case study of Polish company TREND GLASS on the cooperation of industry and research units towards applying Industry 4.0, presented by  Michał Kaleta, Director of Operation at TREND GLASS.

Further interregional activities to support SMEs

The next milestone for the SMARTY project is the second Interregional Policy Brokerage, to be hosted on 9th December by i2CAT Foundation and the Generalitat de Catalunya.