The SMARTY project’s final event was held successfully in Barcelona on April 19th and 20th, 2023, organized by the i2CAT Foundation and the Regional Government of Catalonia, with active contribution by the SMARTY consortium of 14 partners across 7 European regions. The event brought together policy makers, and stakeholders to explore innovative approaches, share good practices, and discuss regional action plans to stimulate Industry 4.0 adoption. Moreover, the event featured the presentation of the project’s Good Practices guide, showcasing 26 replicable approaches and strategies identified throughout the project from its participating regions.

On April 19th, more than 40 participants from seven European regions gathered in the project’s policy event to showcase their Action Plans, each inspired by the exchange of replicable best practices shared between regions in the first phase of the project.

The conference featured two modules that covered key approaches in supporting Industry 4.0 transformation. The first module focused on the Development of Clusters, Platforms, and Digital Innovation Hubs, emphasizing their role in driving innovation and growth. The second module delved into Implementing Policy Tools and Mechanisms, providing policymakers with tangible examples of instruments that have stimulated Industry 4.0 uptake and digitisation in their regions. The event fostered interregional learning and cooperation, facilitating valuable insights and knowledge exchange on the implementation of such policies with a particular focus on supporting SMEs in these regions.

A guide to promote exemplary Industry 4.0 approaches

One of the highlights of this final SMARTY event was the presentation of the Good Practices guide. This reference handbook encompasses 26 replicable practices identified by the SMARTY partners throughout the project in the inter-regional exchange. These practices focus on four main themes: (1) Regional platforms and clusters supporting SMEs in adopting Industry 4.0 technologies; (2) Digital Innovation Hubs facilitating digital transformation in SMEs; (3) Digitalisation for the Green Transition and Sustainability; and (3) Digital Innovation and Skills in Industry 4.0. All the identified good practices are available on the EU's Interreg Policy Learning Platform.

The event also presented the progress of each regional action plan’s implementation. Based on the shared interregional practices and lessons learned, the SMARTY partner organisations, including local stakeholders and regional managing authorities, prepared action plans to enhance regional policy instruments that further support the transition to Industry 4.0. Detailed information about the regional action plans, which are being implemented by project partners between Q4 2022 and Q3 2023, can be found on the SMARTY project website.

Cutting-edge initiatives in Industry 4.0

Furthermore, on April 20th, the participants visited the Advanced Factories Congress, where they had the opportunity to explore the latest trends in Industry 4.0, smart factories, and digitalisation. They were introduced to initiatives by EIT Manufacturing, ACCIÓ (the regional government’s trade and investment agency), the Digital Catalonia Alliance, and other industry-leading organizations and companies. The site visits continued at DFactory, the Barcelona hub that promotes and advances Industry 4.0 technologies, where the participants witnessed demonstrations of 3D printing, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. These first-hand experiences provided valuable insights into how Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the manufacturing sector.

SMARTY has successfully empowered its fourteen partners to effectively design and implement policies that support the transition of European SMEs to Industry 4.0 technologies. Through these achievements, SMARTY has played a pivotal role in fostering I4.0 growth and uptake through inter-regional European cooperation and knowledge exchange.