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Innovation Relay Centre Newsletter January 2004

May 2005

Innovation
IRE network news
  M  E  N  U
   
  Building the will for excellence
    The region of Central Macedonia in northern Greece is an active participant in regional innovation initiatives and networks – starting with a Regional Technology Plan project a decade ago. Today, a growing innovation culture is visible in the region, particularly at the grass roots, in both enterprises and research centres.
 
  Under the spotlight
    Nine regional projects received the first-ever European Regional Innovation Awards at a ceremony in Brussels in April 2004. The event aimed to give more visibility to the regional programmes of Innovative Actions co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
 
  All money is not the same
    The nature and availability of growth finance for innovative start-ups and small firms varies considerably across Europe. Crescendo – an IRE thematic network – has been giving partners a practical insight into the range of solutions on offer elsewhere.
 
  Slovenia embarks on action plan
    Slovenia has recently completed its project to develop a regional innovation strategy. The country, now a full Member State of the European Union, has launched an action plan to implement this strategy, and now aims to reach the top half of the ranking of knowledge-based societies in the EU.
 
  Building momentum
    More than 100 regional innovation strategies have already been formulated with EU support, and a further 16 are nearing completion in the new Member States. It is clear that the importance of regional innovation policy is now widely understood across Europe. A recent workshop looked at the transition to implementation of these strategies and considered the monitoring tools that are critical to successfully doing so.
 
  Industrial regions share innovation
    Members of the IRE network’s Industrial Regions Group have found great benefit in sharing their experiences to improve innovation practice. The IRG has been self-funding for three years and is now passing on its ideas on benchmarking and good practice to regions in the new Member States.
 

The IRE network in brief

As part of the Research and Innovation activities within the Sixth Framework Programme, the network of Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) aims to facilitate the exchange of experience between regions developing regional innovation policies, strategies and schemes, and to improve their access to good practice. All such regions are welcome to participate, and over 100 European regions are already members. The network is currently being enlarged to include both new thematic networks and regions in central and eastern Europe, which will develop their own regional innovation strategies.

Further information is available at:
http://www.innovating-regions.org/