Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ETRERA_2020 Report Summary

Project ID: 609543
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: Italy

Final Report Summary - ETRERA_2020 (Empowering Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Research Alliance for Europe 2020 challenges)

Executive Summary:
Empowering Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Research Alliance for Europe 2020 Challenges - ETRERA_2020 is a EU project aimed at tackling the future energy needs by creating a Euro-Mediterranean research alliance for the development of a RDI network on Renewable Energy Sources (RES) technologies and for improving Research-Industry cooperation. The ETRERA_2020 idea is to improve S&T and entrepreneurial relationships between European Member States and the neighbouring Mediterranean countries in the strategic field of renewable energy production, distribution and storage by a range of activities targeted to bridging the existing gap between research and innovation.

ETRERA 2020 is addressing its efforts to some specific technological fields: wind, PV, grid connection, solar thermal and hydrogen and fuel cells seen as a way to store energy. Specific goals are:
o improving human resources & know-how of Mediterranean Partner Countries RTD organizations;
o increasing the networking opportunity among the main actors of the RES value chain;
o increasing of public – private partnership;
o increasing the accessibility to research facilities;
o increasing the project/partners visibility in order to attract potential research/industry partners.

ETRERA_2020 contributed to:
✓ foster mutually beneficial public-private partnerships between organization belonging to EU member states and Mediterranean partner countries through the market uptake of research results.
✓ to the enhancement of cooperation between research and innovation actors on both sides (EU-MPC)
✓ increase the potential of STI cooperation between the partners and the organization involved in the projects under the Horizon 2020 and to contribute to the definition of common programmes on innovation.

Project Context and Objectives:
The project started the 1st of September 2013. ETRERA_2020 project is divided into 6 Work Packages:
• The project management WP1 ensures the overall management of the work undertaken in ETRERA_2020 – Empowering Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Research Alliance for Europe 2020 challenges in European and MPC area. The goal of the management activities is to implement the project management practices.
• Basis for Cooperation and Knowledge transfer WP2 deals with the in depth analysis of knowledge developed in the partners research center, so as to enable target regions to unlock and to exploit mutually their successful experiences. Objective of this task is to get a detailed framework of the state of art of the knowledge developed. In particular, we explore RTD expertise and specialisation, market demand, needs and outlook in order to identify potential area for developing new products and services. Moreover the in depth analysis of target center will enable member organisations of the consortium to know in depth the research and innovation domains and regional capabilities in which the partner and the regions excel for growth. This is the starting point for integrating expertise and know-how and to turn analysis results into a Joint Action Plan for enhancing capabilities.
• Networking for enhanced collaboration WP3. The networking activities are a key issue in ETRERA_2020 to enhance the cooperation between research and innovation actors and fostering the public-private partnership. The specific goals within this framework are:
o promoting networking between actors in the "knowledge value chain" to better focus research on socio-economic needs as well as to facilitate exploitation of research results, notably through the organization of brokerage events;
o creating a Metacluster on renewable energy area to boost the technology transfer and the international cooperation in the MPC area.
o boosting real cooperation among the actors involved in the value chain through the signature of collaboration agreements.
• Capacity Building WP4. The activities dedicated to “Capacity Building” aims at developing actions to ensure that renewable energy operators in the participating Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) are experienced to manage, transfer and use knowledge resulting from research..
• Innovation and support services WP5 The goal of the support service is to provide to organization belonging to the partners countries innovative technology services aimed at:
o speeding up market transfer of innovative solutions and provide start-up assistance;
o providing a business advisory link between the work of researchers and SMEs market’s needs;
o supporting the removal of barriers to enable viable, competitive and sustainable businesses.
• Communication and dissemination WP6 aims to carry out a set of actions aiming at increasing the visibility of ETRERA_2020 project, partners, activities as well as disseminating and exploiting the project results in order to make it a successful and sustainable project. Further the ambition is to make project’s results available to other RES partnerships, potential future industrial partners, the scientific community, regional, national, European and MPC decision-makers and the interested public, and to facilitate networking and co-operations between industry and science.

Project Results:
ETRERA_2020 succeed in reaching some key outcomes in terms of enabling the S&T international cooperation.

1. The creation of the basis for Cooperation and Knowledge transfer
In order to reach this general objective:
• we built a detailed framework of the state of art of the knowledge developed in each research centre. In particular, we explored the RTD expertise of research centres partners of the project in order to identify potential area for developing new products and services.
• we identified the existing and potential bottle necks in the technology transfer process;
• we organised several awareness development moments in order to gather feedbacks and needs. All those actions were the starting points for integrating expertise and know-how and to turn analysis results into a Joint Action Plan for enhancing capabilities.
• we wrote a Joint Action Plan in which the common priorities of the partners were defined. This document also contains the identification of some technological areas that are promising for the next years. This was a time consuming work that requested also the support of the steering committee.
Two main scientific products have to be highlighted among the 4 main activities above described:
i. the publication of the report Economy, policy and innovation analysis of Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.
ii. the production of the Joint Action Plan

The report Economy, policy and innovation analysis of Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia
The report is organized into four parts:
i. Executive Summary: This part is dedicated to the summary results of: Desk, Survey and Field Analysis. The overall results concern: economy, policy and innovation analysis of Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, identification of existing and potential bottlenecks about research entities and industry cooperation in these target countries, as well as technology transfer and know-how valorisation activities.
ii. Section 1 (Desk Analysis): Section one, presents theoretical studies about Research Entities and Industry cooperation in Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. The work started devoting to the solely literature review and data gathering about technology transfer, the actors involved and their assigned role in the process in the three Countries: Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. The goal of this Analysis is to find success and failure cases. During our research, we used several tools to reach this goal. Moreover, the desk analysis acted as a springboard to introduce the Survey Research.
iii. Section 2 (Survey Analysis): Section two, concerns the quantitative research, after a deep analysis of documents, reports, papers etc., we considered appropriate to implement a survey research. We chose quantitative approach, as scientific method to investigate and get a clear and complete picture of the relationship between research entities and industry. We built and distributed a questionnaire to demonstrate “how and if” Research Entities and Industry cooperation operate in the target Countries (Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia). Indeed, the survey allowed us to understand if success and failure cases about technology transfer process exist.
iv. Section 3 (Field Analysis Research): In this last section, some major issues that arose from the desk and survey analyses, were selected to implement the field research, to investigate in-depth on the contradictions or potential bottlenecks. Through the open-ended questions, we tried to identify the experiences of failure and success between research centres and industries cooperation in the three countries in order to understand how it works, and how could be possible to operate.
“Mix" of all three parts contributed:
• to clarify the relationship between research entities and industry;
• to identify the potential bottlenecks and gap between research entities and industry cooperation;
• to create recommendations for the future.

The production of the Joint Action Plan
The development of the ETRERA_2020 Joint Action Plan (JAP) is based on regional, national and European priorities and trends so as to foster and to put into action a common R&D and innovation strategy and related financial plan for the consortium for the next years. As regards, the methodology and the structuring ETRERA_2020 JAP followed an interactive procedure which was based on the contribution of the consortium, using further resources such as group of specialists and certain innovative methods such as SWOT analysis and CSF analysis. In more specific:
i. In the Chapter 1, the background of report, the JAP objectives and the adopted methodology were analysed. Special attention has been taken in the priorities and actions that the ETRERA_2020 project set to be realized by the JAP (i.e. education, training, communication, planning, exchange of good practice, research, demonstration, strategy in priority energy themes). Key points for the JAP realization were the identification of the relevant priority areas of interest in order to develop joint activities towards 2020 and beyond focused on five sustainable energy priority themes. In this context, a brief analysis of the different national strategic plans for the development of RES and Energy Efficiency of each project partner and the synergies between the local RTD research-driven clusters was made in order to define common activities which could be built up and developed through the Joint Action Plan and the common R&D strategy. Once the strategies of the ETRERA_2020 countries were fully mapped a working group of experts within each of the participating regions drafted the individual action plans for the prioritized sustainable energy themes. The primary focus of the plans is to support research and technological development for each of the priorities to contribute towards the wider goal of sustainable energy production and regional energy self-sufficiency.
ii. In the Chapter 2, the ETRERA_2020 consortium based on the results of a SWOT analysis and taking into account the individual action plans has an obvious target to actually select and implement targeted actions to develop the five sustainable energy priority themes. The SWOT analysis is a useful tool for the strategic plan, aiming to establish a broad understanding of the technical and economical market potential for the RES technologies within the partnership, to identify and quantify the technological and practical issues relevant for this market, to investigate the legal, regulatory and administrative hurdles for market development and to recommend withdrawal actions in the participant countries. The SWOT analysis covers the technical, market, environmental and social aspects for the priority energy themes supported by the ETRERA_2020 consortium to investigate the critical success factors.
iii. In the Chapter 3 the implementation of SWOT and Critical Success Factors - CSF detailed analysis allowed the consortium to finally specify recommendations for the ETRERA_ 2020 “Strategic Plan” for the next seven years of the Meta-Cluster, fulfilling the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) requirements. In this chapter, the consortium based on the chapter 2 analysis and outcomes selected from an initial "thinking tank" the most ambitious energy priority themes to focus in the future ETRERA_2020 actions. Each institute/organisation chose up to five main and three runner up energy themes according to their interests. The final processing was concluded in a final choice of five plus three priority energy themes. The consortium determined RTD activities and innovation strategies within the priority themes that can cause structural changes and to improve the competitiveness of the energy priority themes affecting also other sectors of economy. The proposed RTD activities per energy theme are determined in the basis of high penetration potential and promising influence in the Mediterranean countries. To this scope of work, two predefined tools were developed for the pilot RTD projects valuation in relation to specific market criteria (business critical mass, market margin, RTD resources & availability, job creation, economic impact, interface with other platforms etc.) and recommendations for intervention actions taken by the private sector and/or the state in Mediterranean countries, providing targeted quantitative and qualitative information.

2. The Networking for enhanced collaboration.
In order to reach this general objective, the main following activities have been carried out:
• Promotion of networking between actors in the "knowledge value chain" to better focus research on socio-economic needs as well as to facilitate exploitation of research results, notably through the organization of brokerage events. This was done by mapping the actors involved in the "knowledge value chain" in Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia
• Creation of the Metacluster concept on renewable energy as a tool to boost the technology transfer and the international cooperation in the MPC area.
The main scientific product was the detailed definition of the meta-cluster concept. This definition allowed in a second moment to the establishment of the NET-ERA meta-cluster as a stable alliance among organizations.
The Meta-Cluster
We started from the definition of a generic Meta-Cluster as a trans-regional network of cluster, which focuses on the same or complementary specific technological field or sector. A meta-cluster consists of at least three clusters in three different region. From the observation of the reality it is clear that the companies in a strong cluster environment are more innovative than other companies. The research organizations in cluster environment are more active in innovation with higher research standards/results, while the regions with strong cluster attract more venture capital that areas without strong cluster. The strong clusters creates a higher level of entrepreneurship and they are magnets for skilled labour whit higher wage levels as well as added value growth. Considering the previous assumptions it is possible to define that a meta-cluster organization offers the opportunity:
• to combine innovation capabilities of different regions to develop new products and services, which are customized to the requirements of the different market
• to exchange research ideas, capacity/labs, and testing areas among different regions and sectors
• to encourage and support modern innovation processes in SMEs across different regions, markets and sectors.
• to optimize the transition from basic R&D to innovative products and services, in the context of cross collaboration: Modern innovation processes are more and more meta-national.
• to innovative companies to use the different innovation capabilities of different regions.
• to the innovators to customize products and services to the specific demands of the different markets. (A lot of innovations fail not because there is a lack of advanced technologies; it is more a missing understanding of customer needs).

3. The Capacity Building
The activities dedicated to “Capacity Building” aim at developing actions to ensure that renewable energy operators in the participating Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) are experienced to manage, transfer and use knowledge resulting from research. In doing this the objective was to support the qualification of the partners institutions and in a minor way organizations outside the partnership. The goal was to manage, transfer and use knowledge resulting from research and to build a culture/mind-set that goes toward the innovation. In order to achieve this result three main actions have been developed: i) an actions to promote exchange of best practices amongst relevant organizations characterized by a successful experience in terms of University – Industry collaboration; ii) a mobility programme industry/academia have been put in place; iii) an handbook has been issued.
Those activities bring to:
• The publication of the handbook
• A series of lesson learned from exchange of best practices and from the mobility programme
The handbook
The handbook details the steps to be undertaken to ensure that research ideas can be successfully turned into innovative projects. The publication includes specificities of MPCs as well as the specificities of the concerned renewable energy technology. The objective is to provide: a) a general overview of the process to transform an R&D project in a successful, and commercially viable, innovation project; b) a comprehensive guide on available funding opportunities for innovation projects for MENA project partners at international level. The handbook has been focused on:
• Technology Readiness Levels
• Project Phases
• 14 pieces of Innovation Puzzle
• Specificities of Renewable Energy Projects
• Specificities of Mediterranean Partners Countries
• Financing opportunities for renewable energy in the MENA region
The lesson learned from exchange of best practices
ETRERA_2020 stimulated the exchange of best practices by organizing an Euro-Med competition the so-called ETRERA_2020 Prize. The competition allowed to scout some successful case of cooperation between Research and Enterprises in order to get some key insight that could stimulate the crossing of the impossible bridge between academia and industry. The best ideas were showcased during a workshop held in the framework of a large international scientific event ICCE 2014 Conference. Around 100 people between researchers and innovators took part at the workshop. The overall aim was to help other researchers coming from different countries from in the Mediterranean area and other parts of the world (due the international audience of ICCE 2014 Conference) to learn how research projects can be brought to the market.
We mapped the following aspects:
• uniqueness of the project idea;
• robustness of the business model;
• financial plan;
• communication and motivation;
• business plan;
• team dynamics and commitment and preparedness of the management team;
• entrepreneurial skills;
• risk management plan.
What is listed below is an highlight of all the main lessons learned /tips were shared the workshop as a result of the plenary discussion:
• Uniqueness of the idea
✓ Find a problem to solve
✓ Catch new trends and market opportunities
✓ Know the art (all features of the technology you are trying to promote - EVEN the ones you dislike!)
✓ Know the market (and competition)
✓ Increase the value for the customer
• Robustness of the business model (merge with business plan)
✓ “If you cannot describe your business model in 10 easy words, you do not have business model.
✓ Bear in mind that an idea is not a product....a product (or a service) is not a business,...a business is a business.
✓ The business will thrive only if A LOT of conditions are fulfilled.
✓ Locate and understand WHERE your business IS.
✓ Partner with others in areas where you have limited experience.
✓ Create and rely in partnerships to supply different parts of the product chain.
✓ Don’t try to do everything...
✓ Use the already installed capacity from your strategic partners.
✓ Listen to your strategic partners.
✓ Create a network partnerships of suppliers and distributors.
✓ Keep a light organizational and productive structure.
✓ Make a product which can go quickly to market.
✓ Make your product adaptable to different markets.
• Financial plan
✓ Breaking down financial needs.
✓ Reduce exposure (technical and financial) to the essential.
✓ Don’t believe in promises.
✓ Don’t do what you don’t need to do!
✓ Foresee room for flexibility in your financial plan
• Communication and motivation
✓ Don’t preach. Don’t teach!
✓ Reduce the meetings to the essential. Communicate always to all members. Be clear, concise and direct.
✓ Make every opinion count. Take in the idea and move on. Don’t get annoyed if the group refused your idea.
✓ Always praise the good work.
✓ Change to a different venue when searching for creative solutions.
• Team dynamics and commitment and preparedness of the management team (merge with team dynamics)
✓ Put some skin on the game! Show commitment by allocating resources (money) into the project!
✓ Core level. Coordination
✓ Design, Engineering and Management.
✓ Students/researchers: specific tasks.
✓ Access to all information within the project. Accountable to the coordinator.
✓ Integrating students/researchers is time consuming at the beginning.
✓ Positive yield on the long run. Good for team spirit. Sense of belonging.
✓ Complementary skills and knowledge facilitate cooperation.
• Entrepreneurial skills
✓ Learning is a never ending process!
✓ From researcher to entrepreneur... it’s a big challenge!
✓ Get support from Incubators & Accelerators.
✓ Ensure policies are output-orientated, not process-orientated, so that they enable research.
✓ Be clear how you are supporting researchers and easing their workload, so that they don’t see project management as simply creating additional regulation.
✓ Optimism is a true asset, it will help get you through the tough times that many entrepreneurs experience.
✓ Vision: Can you easily see where things can be improved? Can you quickly grasp the "big picture," and explain this to others? And can you create a compelling vision of the future, and then inspire other people to engage with that vision?
✓ Do you enjoy being in charge and making decisions? Are you motivated to lead others?
✓ Risk tolerance: Are you able to take risks, and make decisions when facts are uncertain?
✓ Resilience: Are you resilient, so that you can pick yourself up when things don't go as planned?
o And do you learn and grow from your mistakes and failures?
o And are you able to delegate work to others? Are you a good negotiator?
✓ Do you deal with people with respect, integrity, fairness, and truthfulness? Can you lead ethically?
• Risk management plan.
✓ Foresee risk and find a solution to face it
✓ Avoid risk
✓ Mitigate risk
✓ Accept risk
✓ Transfer risk
✓ Get advisors support and legal aid
✓ Any new product (idea) takes time to come to market. Sometimes years!
✓ Keep working hard and accept the specific pace of the art
✓ There is no bad luck!
✓ There is no guilt!
✓ In an R&D project you have errors and you should learn from that.
✓ Embrace the outcome and move on!
The lesson learned from the mobility programme
The ETRERA_2020 Mobility programme for innovation has been shaped to integrate the project final goal, the achievement of a successful transformation of knowledge and research results into commercial products and services related to three fields of sustainable energy (renewable energies: wind, solar and smart grids) and the consequential creation of positive impact on market and society. The Mobility programme pivoted on two axes, research and industry, and partners benefited of a series of staff exchanges organised during ETRERA_2020 operational life. In particular:
• partners from research centres had the opportunity to spend one week in a private company (preferably SMEs and start-ups, large organization/association) in order to learn about entrepreneurial skills;
• partners from industry had the opportunity to spend one week in a research centre in order to learn about ideas generation and problem solving.
It provided the partners with practical insight and hand-on experience on the innovation process. The success of the ETRERA_2020 Mobility programme can be measured taking into accounts various factors which include the consistent feedback obtained in terms of applications received, new contacts, both at academic and industrial level, established and all new partnerships and future ones created among beneficiaries and hosting partners. The interest showed that this kind of activities should be replicated in the future with some improvement that could help to alleviate the several problems incurred during the ETRERA_2020 mobility development.
A list of these possible improvements comprise the following points listed below:
• more possibility, especially from a financial point of view, to follow ups the initial mobility actions with more visits and other reciprocal contacts after the visits
• a clear and unequivocal request for indicating hosting partners which may have a real connection with each beneficiary’s activity
• a precise indication of the limits in indicating hosting organisations. This indication should be realistic for future projects to address and, above all, obtain possible return and cooperation from hosting organisations. It is difficult, in fact, to obtain support from big companies or multinationals which have their own programmes devoted to these exchanges, aiming at a precise private benefit rather than a enlarged no profit sustain as the one financed by the different EC actions (H2020, Leonardo, etc.)
• an increased attention to prepare each mobility, allowing the different actors (hosting partner and visitors) to interact before the visits take place in order to modulate all actions included in them to be more in line with a profitable and effective result.
• from more than one participants and from some of the hosting organisations a possible future follow up of the ETRERA_2020 mobility action has been asked. The opportunity of financing travels and accommodations together with the payment of the fees/reimbursement of costs of experts/hosting organizations involved in the visits offered the concrete possibility for establishing contacts and synergies among all stakeholders involved achieving a successful overall result.

4. Innovation and support services
The activities dedicated to “Innovation and support services” aim at developing actions to ensure that operators in the participating Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs) are supported in their business development by removing barriers to enable viable, competitive and sustainable businesses. The model developed within ETRERA_2020 and replicated also in the FP4BATIW project (the other R2I project funded under the same call, was to provide business actors and researchers, with support services for improving technology transfer and for spreading innovation into market by mainly tutoring, coaching auditing services. This activity triggered the set-up of 2 start-ups in Tunisia and the business awareness in Morocco, while in Palestine this model of activities supported the energy needs of the companies also by providing them some executive plans. The activities developed in in this framework have been designed under macro tracks:
• Technical Assistance
• Research Result Valorisation Services
• Private equity mechanism promotion
The success of the ETRERA_2020 Technical Assistance, as in the case of the Research Result Valorisation Services, can be measured taking into consideration various factors which include the consistent feedback obtained in terms of applications received, new contacts, both at academic and industrial level, established and all new partnerships and future ones created among beneficiaries, experts providing support and potential financing partners.
As expected the Technical Assistance outcomes and the feedback for beneficiaries together with the direct comments of the partners involved in the transfer of knowledge action brought the coordination team to formulate and articulate a variety of topics and subjects to be addressed in order to ameliorate this already effective action.

The lesson learned from the Technical Assistance & Research Result Valorisation Services
• There is an hidden need of this kind of business and technical support expressed by the local organizations that needs to be coached
• Companies needs time to trust in the programme and to know it, a day by day work done by the local partner is necessary
• Very important is the “language factor”. Many of the beneficiaries to the Technical Assistance asked specifically for a training in their home language (in most case Arabic or French). This aspect has to be taken onto consideration when selecting the experts for providing the support as it can limit the eligibility of them.
• More possibility, especially from a financial point of view, to follow ups the initial Technical Assistance action with more similar actions like the organisation of events/seminar/coaching related to energy conservation in order to raise awareness for worker in the sector
• As thanks to this TA action most participants insistently asked for giving them the opportunity of taking part into future action in order to allow them having additional time for going more into the details and improve the knowledge acquired during the formation for accomplishing the work requested
• Technical Assistance & Research Result Valorisation Services need time to be provided to the companies a large duration time should be foreseen in the future.
• An increased attention to prepare each Technical support action, allowing the different actors (experts and beneficiaries) to interact before and during the support in order to modulate all actions included in them to be more in line with a profitable and effective result
• Could be key the possibility of financing with a little of cash those kind of technical support actions together with the opportunity to modulate the transfer of knowledge case by case adapting it at closest to the exigence of beneficiaries.
The lesson learned related to private equity mechanism promotion
ETRERA_2020 has demonstrated that there is interest in the MPC countries for innovation and for the development of innovative start-ups. It has demonstrated that there is room for entrepreneurship and self-entrepreneurship and that there is the interest of the entrepreneurs in innovation.
However, the R2I projects (ETRERA_2020 and FP4BATIW) have demonstrated the need of more intensive business coaching and technical assistance. The importance to support financially the entrepreneurs and to provide them a network of relationships with investors or partners and clients.
These needs could be fulfilled by some targeted acceleration programmes designed for the MPC peculiarity. Could be extremely important for those countries the launch of a round of calls for proposal targeted to transnational accelerators, who, in turn, can play a strategic role for making research results becoming new products and services in an efficient and effective way, accelerating the enterprises innovation. This modus operandi could allow to reach the optimal financial and bureaucratic dimension between art. 185 and ERA-NET, following the example of DG Connect with the 16 FIWARE accelerator programme. Where each accelerator is in charge to provide to the companies: finance, technical assistance and managerial/business competence, training, network.

5. The communication and clustering
The activities dedicated to communication and clustering have been carry out aiming at increasing the visibility of ETRERA_2020 project, partners, and activities as well as disseminating and exploiting the project results in order to make it a successful and sustainable project. Further, the ambition has been to make project’s results available to other RES partnerships, potential future industrial partners, the scientific community, regional, national, European and MPC decision-makers and the interested public, and to facilitate networking and co-operations between industry and science. In order to achieve this goal to several activities were performed. The most two important were:
i. the organization of the International Green Energy Conference – INGEC
ii. the cooperation with the other R2Is projects

The International Green Energy Conference – INGEC
the International Conference (International Green Energy Conference & was organized in Tunisia from the 9 to 12 May 2016. It was developed in cooperation with the Euro-Mediterranean Hydrogen Technologies Conference a brand developed in 2012 within the former ETRERA project by some of the ETRERA_2020 partners. InGeC sow the participation of more than 120 paying participants, from 15 countries, took part at the bouquet of activities organized: plenary sections, parallel sections, brokerage event, high level roundtable gathering Former Ministers, CEOs, and Senior Representatives coming from the Public and Industrial sector and networking moments.
The clustering
The main lessons learned in the framework of the clustering activities developed by the project, could seem trivial in its simplicity, but it is a key. It can be simplified in “cooperation”. Even if cooperation among projects could seem a “must”, we have to highlight that this is not common.
The development of clustering activities among projects, the signature and set up of cooperation agreements go behind the simple communication and dissemination. This kind of clustering allows to create synergies, to reach a wider and deeper impact and to create solid networks.
The R2I projects such as all the other projects running in a specific domain or geographical area represent a privileged observatory of analysis of dynamics, problems and needs. They are the antennas that every day collect the instances of hundred organizations working on a specific field or territory. Today thanks to the clustering activities, we can say that a R2Is community have been created. It is a missing opportunity for the projects and for the Commission itself not to stimulate and organize some common moments and meeting occasion in order to discuss and collect feedbacks and inputs from the ground.
The clustering activity brought to two main political papers the so called 10 point of Messina and the Tunis agenda. Below are reported those to documents:
The 10 points of Messina
Below the 10 key policy points as defined during the meeting:
i. What are the missing parts and actors in the MPC area for future sustainable activities, e.g. innovation agencies in some MPC countries (there exist in Morocco but not in other countries). There is the need to support the set up of innovation actors/ innovation agency able to promote actions in the MPC. There is also the need of operational activities and the need for funding. Why not to stimulate calls, pilot actions, avoiding Ministries with big structures unable to manage projects with real outputs and provide them to real acting actors in the regions e.g. industry ministries rather than education ministries. The agency could also work on that issue. Or an alternative could be the model developed by DG CONNECT of the FIWARE 16 accelerators. In this case the DG financed and delegates to 16 accelerators the responsibility to publish calls and follow/coach the granted companies.
ii. Smart specialization strategy/culture lack in MPC region on specific activities. There is the need to concentrate the resources around few key priorities strategy following the EU smart specialization model.
iii. Medium size research infrastructure and network of testing platforms open to innovation actors, to test and benchmark products and technologies. Key issue, promote and disseminate such tools and strategies through local clusters. Cross-fertilization. In other words, to stimulate such strategy in the different MPC, considering the needs in terms of R&I infrastructure (medioum size). However first needed the definition of countries’ specialization and the list of specialized and localized such infrastructure, avoiding duplications. Such strategies should be open to the other countries and actors of the region to favor them to take profit of such infrastructures and related developed knowledge (similar to RIS in Europe). The joint action plan defined by ETRERA_2020 doesn’t consider the RIS strategy, however it could be useful for the energy sector in order to define one section of the smart specialization strategy by promoting the local know-how.
iv. Related to this there is the need of soft skills, the capacity to use the research infrastructure and the capacity to exploit, upgrade, maintain and commercialize/valorize such facilities. Such soft skills should be addressed in two ways, trans-national and intersectorial mobility (as well as the access mobility such as that of the EU big infrastructures) and the sustainability actions (business capacity to work with the research, innovators and private sector). However, consider also as a possibility the role of such infrastructures to determine places where to test developed technologies or facilitate EU-MPC companies to test their products or technologies or facilitate the introduction into new markets.
v. Innovation call/innovation procedure, where innovators can promote the cooperation between the actors of the innovation value chain. ETRERA_2020 considered the need to create or strengthen the risk capital culture, considering the different actors existing in the different regions. Usually, such investment, at the end, it is stimulated by performed or existing concrete market analysis on the sector.
vi. Stimulate the business creation, new start ups and new ventures. Need of involvement of Business Schools. Concerning business creation, it is important to include the Business Schools and employ e.g. the formula existing at Catalonia (ESADE) where there is programme that tries to match good already evaluated technologies through programs or prizes with good Business School Teams searching for their Master, trying to facilitate that such technologies reach the market with a good financial team and a good researcher team.
vii. Company missions to stimulate the transfer and to promote to the companies’ technologies ready to be used or scaled up. MARE introduced their experience in a similar way due to the activities they already carry out as a link (try to avoid an academic market analysis, it should be really market niche oriented). Again is introduced the lack of dissemination or awareness of existing facilitators and tools to be provided to the entrepreneurs and all the innovation actors in the different value chains.
viii. Development of a public procurement platform where to create some network of enterprise to be able to access international tenders. Again it is introduced the problems of South-South cooperation if compared with the North South cooperation individually. In this way a platform able to solve or reduce such a problem would be welcome, independently of the political situation, trying to gather the corresponding institutional support from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan. Maghrenov introduced the concept of the procurement platform, together with market studies, what kind of business skills are need for a procurement study, however there is a lack of leverage of the final actors that can act to succeed and get part of the market concerning the different technologies considered in certain sectors. At the end is to facilitate the process on how to access the procurement market for the MPC companies, as the actual governments are not confident on the local companies and finally trust on EU actors. MENFRI questions about how to mobilize/attract the EU actors to participate and invest in MPC, considering the perceived risk by such actors in the region. However, as MENFRI considers, there are real doubts concerning the sustainability of generating this kind of idea. Other suggestions provided by MENFRI include the needs of the sector, e.g. despite they have the raw materials, they need of transforming industries (from forestry point of view) to compete with other actors in the market. Could be useful to introduce in the area the concept/legal form of the network of enterprises. This model has been developed in Italy the national enterprises association and it is allowing to the SME to group together and increase their critical mass.
ix. Integration of technologies (water, energy, food) with not used land. Integration of NEXUS technologies and stimulation of non-used land (unknown property or different owners or scavengers present at the time of use) to reuse the territory, know how, competence not used so far for future networking missions and to validate the R2I propositions in this sense considering the different actors to be involved. Use of a policy for the use or non-use of the land. To support users of abandoned or ruin land. To be further defined by MENFRI. Stimulate the use of not used land for biomass production for domestic use.
x. The diaspora issue and the involvement of key staff on the procedures and networks to be developed due to their knowledge and gained experience, specially on the creation of spin-offs and start ups in Europe.
The Tunis agenda was launched during the ETRERA_2020 final conference, the policy round table charted some the actions lines for the set-up of the EMIS based on 5 pillars:
i. Acceleration programme: Euro-Med innovation projects around specific innovation ‘drivers’ - impact oriented (Solar Energy, W/F/E Nexus, Grid integration and interconnection, ‘made in Euro-Med’, etc.) tailored on the needs and constrain of the Euro-Med and Africa environment
ii. Training: Set – up an educational Euro-Med community oriented toward the promotion of energy transition ‘game changers’ and entrepreneurs
iii. Meta cluster: Innovation dedicated services, esp. for SME’s, start-ups and joint ventures, ... through deploying the Meta-Cluster concept
iv. PPa: Set up of a dedicated PPa as an operational umbrella, based on co-financing, impact oriented
v. Political & Financial support: support to pioneers & legislation reformation

Another important concept discussed among the clustering was the meta-cluster concept below described:
The meta-cluster idea is based on the concept of the innovation funnel. For the future the goal could be to include in the meta-cluster associations or organizations, big umbrella actors, working at both shores of the Mediterranean. ETRERA_2020 showed the characteristics of the existing clusters developed by the different R2i projects.

Potential Impact:
The ETRERA_2020_impact

The problem/issue addressed

The continuous world population growth and the impact of human activities on the environment, create a number of global issues to be solved in short time. The increasing world energy demand, in front of limited traditional energy sources availability, and the necessity to limit the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission are considered two of main issue to which a quick response is needed. European Union (EU) posed these aspects as priority social issues in the new framework program HORIZON 2020. These problems concern the emerging, and industrial countries. The research on energy technologies plays a fundamental role in supporting this energetic policies and it is asked to transfer to local industries the related technological know-how.

This last step is fundamental if we look at a real technological development and to an economic growth. The Empowering Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Research Alliance for Europe 2020 - Etrera_2020 - worked in this direction. ETRERA_2020 aimed at tackling the future energy needs by creating a Euro-Mediterranean research alliance for the development of a RDI network on Renewable Energy Sources – RES technologies and for improving Research-Industry cooperation. ETRERA_2020 targets the following technologies:
₋ wind
₋ photovoltaic
₋ solar thermal
₋ hydrogen and fuel cells
₋ smart grid

European research centres and enterprise are asked to support and cooperate with MPC in capacity building in the strategic field of renewable energy production, distribution and storage by a range of activities targeted to bridging the existing gap between research and innovation, to gain mutual advantages: training researchers and entrepreneurs, creating new infrastructures, and developing joint research and entrepreneurial activities to reinforce MCP research and industrial capabilities in RES technologies.

Some specific highlights & key results

First, ETRERA_2020 have developed a catalogue of competences. The objective was to identify, collect, systematize and map the knowledge developed in each research centres, partners of the consortium. This allows the consortium to get a snapshot of facilities, know-how, and knowledge to be exploited among the partners and beyond.
In the meantime we have generated the inventory of organisations belonging to the RES value chain dealing with different aspects of renewable energy: policy body, regulation institutions, implementations companies and industries.

However, the main goal of Etrera_2020 has been the setting up of a meta-cluster “NET-RERA2020” a trans-regional network of clusters from different regions focused on complementary technological field of renewable energy. The aim of NET-RERA2020 is to improve S&T and the entrepreneurial relationship between European Member States and neighbouring Mediterranean countries in the field of renewable energy production, distribution and storage, developing the culture of energy efficiency and sustainability. The NET-RERA2020 programme is to:
• join forces in order to unlock the innovative potential of the group and to create innovation and business opportunities in Mediterranean countries.
• identify R&D and innovation activities which can be developed competitively in the regions concerned
• implement the policies necessary to pursue the Renewable Energy meta-cluster’s vision and mission.

Another key step was the setting up of R2I alliance arose from the clustering activities among R2I projects working in the challenging fields of energy, food, forestry, water and health. The R2I projects alliance acted as a privileged observatory of analysis of dynamics, problems and needs of the EU-Med area. There were considered as the antennas for the everyday collection of Euro-med organizations instances. In this respect a Memorandum of Understanding among ETRERA_2020, MARE and MAGHRENOV projects was signed in order to commit the three projects for mutual cooperation. Moreover, others memorandum of understandings were signed between ETRERA_2020 and REELCOOP and ETRERA_2020 and EUROSUNMED, two SICA actions dealing with RES, and a MoU with the Cluster Development Med - CLUSDEV MED project. This cooperation brought to the Innovation Week organised in Morocco during the first week of March 2015 and to The Messina’ Meeting, held in Messina on September 21 2015, that consolidated this alliance. Two are the main outcomes of this meeting:
₋ the so called “10 Points of Messina”, ten policy priorities issued, validated in several international events (European parliament, Maghrenov conference and InGec conference) and to be promoted to the EC.
₋ the pivotal role that meta-cluster concept has to play in the coming years as a tool for the MPC area development

The creation of new joint activities and collaborations between MPC partner and EU organizations as well as the enhancement of entrepreneurial capability and skill of MPC human resources were secured by the ETRERA_2020 Mobility Programme. As a matter of fact, ten among MPC researchers and business “partners” got in touch with the best European innovation stakeholders. The aim was to increase the partners’ know-how and in generating new ideas and achieving new problem solving instruments. Additionally, these practical and hands-on experiences represented a launching tool for the creation of new connections and a scientific/industrial network with research and industry partners all over the European continent and of their international visibility.
Furthermore, fifteen companies have been supported through ETRERA_2020 technical assistance and business support. These technical assistance services and business support allowed MPC economic entrepreneurs to exploit their know-how and to be supported in their market needs. The aim was. in fact, to stimulate the business development process with concrete actions able to create relationship/links between companies and research centres. Those services provided entrepreneurs (or potential ones) in the solar, wind, grid integration sectors with:
• Technical Assistance on market intelligence and business models development
• Research Result Valorization Services for the most promising research results to be potentially exploited into the market of energy field of solar, wind and grid integration technologies
More in particular, the Technical Assistance on market intelligence was targeted on:
• an assistance focusing on market intelligence and aiming at improving capabilities for strategic and technical decision making;
• an assistance focusing on the creation and the testing of a suitable business model. It intended to enable participants in formulating new strategies. In this respect, ETRERA_2020 consortium provided the necessary tools for creating, delivering and capturing value and it similarly allowed entrepreneurs (and potential ones) to manage innovation strategies as well as their business structures.

Some relevant outcomes

Etrera_2020 have contributed to move forward a closer collaboration between research and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the MPC area and between MPC region and EU. Different actions, in fact, led to: a) a better understanding of the main hurdles and constraints that hamper a stronger cooperation; b) formulate policy recommendations (the 10 Points of Messina) define a Joint Action Plan for the MPC area.
The analysis of existing and potential bottlenecks for technology transfer in MPC allows to explore and delve more deeply the main bottlenecks in the transfer of knowledge from research to business. The work has been carried out in three main steps:
✓ desk analysis: research of documents, paper, statistical data, presentation to seminars, etc....about the economic, political and innovation technology situation in Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.
✓ intermediate analysis/massive survey: drew up a on line questionnaire on research entities and industry cooperation. The survey distributed thorough online system (surveymonkey). This survey was quite a success with more than 200 respondents.
✓ field analysis: wrote up a set of open questions for a field research. The interviews face to face was necessary to identify success and failure cases, about transfer technology in Morocco, Palestine and in Tunisia. The local partners in MPC carried out the survey on the field. In order to get a standardize approach a guide for the interviewer was developed.
At the end of these steps, we drew up a final document with the theoretical and empirical analysis, highlighting the results of field and survey research. The abstract with the methodological approach of this work and key findings were submitted and accepted by the University Industry Interaction Conference 2015 that was held in Berlin (www.university-industry.com). The work named 'Economy, policy and innovation analysis of Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia” has been registered with the following ISBN number 978-9973-9950-3-2 '.

The Joint Action Plan (JAP) capitalized the analyses performed for developing and for putting into actions a common R&D and innovation strategy and the related financial plan for the years to come.
The methodology of ETRERA_2020 JAP followed an interactive procedure which was based on the contribution of the consortium, using further resources such as group of specialists and innovative methods of analysis. The identification of the relevant priority areas of interest were defined to develop joint activities towards 2020 and beyond focused on five sustainable energy priority themes. Once the strategies of the ETRERA_2020 countries were fully mapped, working groups of experts within each of the participating regions drafted the individual action plans for the prioritized sustainable energy themes. The primary focus of the plans is to support research and technological development for each of the priorities to contribute towards the wider goal of sustainable energy production and regional energy self-sufficiency. Five plus three priority energy themes have been selected. The proposed RTD activities per energy theme have been determined on the basis of high penetration potential and promising influence in the Mediterranean countries. The implementation of SWOT and Critical Success Factor detailed analyses allowed also the consortium to finally specify recommendations for the ETRERA_ 2020 “Strategic Plan” for the next seven years of the Meta-Cluster, fulfilling the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan).

Next steps

Two spin-offs have been triggered thanks to the RTD activities developed within the ETRERA project. The added value of the R&I and ETRERA_2020 track-record was the capacity to work together, to pool and to connect different actors and experiences with the aim to trigger economic growth and innovation in the MPC. The R2I scheme led to the creation of an innovation-friendly ecosystem for the MPC acting as innovation accelerator. As a matter of fact, the results of these experiences has led to the creation of Nexus meta-cluster pooling key organizations among R2I projects, including some ETRERA_2020 partners, focusing the attention on food, water and energy challenges. Eventually, it led also to a new project 5TOI_EWAS – The Quintuple Helix Approach to Targeted Open Innovation in Energy, Water, Agriculture in the South Mediterranean Neighborhood funded under Horizon 2020, involving 9 EU countries and 14 MPC countries, and a carefully selected balance of skills, expertise and experience in the water, energy and agriculture sectors. The 5TOI_4EWAS deals with energy, water and agriculture through the Nexus approach and aims to deliver an effective and inclusive decision-making process under the Quintuple Helix Model to secure a free circulation of new knowledge.

The impact at scientific, political and civil society level

The scientific level
Under the scientific level, thanks to the project it was possible to organize the InGec conference 2016. InGec sow the participation of more than 120 registered participants, the opening section was published on the Tunisian media and engaged the Ministry of Research of Tunisia and the coordinator political representative (the Italian Embassy).
ETRERA_2020 was also hosted within the Clean Energy Conference (ICCE 2014), in Istanbul in June 2014. The strategy was to secure a high and qualify attendance and to propose to the researcher that took part to the ICCE the ETRERA_2020 model for research and innovation.

ETRERA_2020 outcomes and insight have been also published within the following papers
The ETRERA_2020 project has accounted several publications and one patent, hereinafter presented:
• How TOI and the Quadruple and Quintuple Helix Innovation System Can Support the Development of a New Model of International Cooperation. Authors: Andreana Casaramona, Antonia Sapia and Alberto Soraci. Journal of the Knowledge Economy Vol. 6/Issue 3
• Economy, policy and innovation analysis of Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. Authors: Alberto SORACI at All. Article. 07/10/2016
• From Research To Innovation: The Empowering Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Innovation Alliance For Europe 2020 Challenges – Etrera 2020. Authors: Alberto Soraci at All. Practitioners Proceedings of the 2014 University-Industry Interaction Conference: Challenges and Solutions for Fostering Entrepreneurial al Universities and Collaborative e Innovation. Barcelona. 26/10/2014
• Research Centers and Industries Cooperation in Morocco, Palestine and in Tunisia. Authors: Antonia Sapia at all. Practitioners Proceedings 2015 University-Industry Interaction Conference: Challenges and Solutions for Fostering Entrepreneurial Universities and Collaborative Innovation. 24/06/2015

One Patent: Cylindrical-Parabolic Solar Water Heater type 'Collector storer' with transparent insulation of honeycomb and night insulation (CESCP NDIN). Applicants: 1. Eng. Anis MESSAOUDA [Engineer at CRTEn, technically assisted and coached by ETRERA_2020 Project] | 2. Prof. Chakib KERKENI [Researcher at CRTEn] | Patent Attorney: Eng. Zied KBAIER [CRTEn]. Foreseen embargo date: 24/09/2034. Application reference: TNP2014402
The scientific community was also engaged by the participation of the several members of the consortium in relevant scientific events where to project activities and outcome have been showcased.

b) The Political Level
Under the political point of view the project was able to mobilize an important mass of stakeholders going from the Ministries of research of Tunisia and the several offices of the ministry to the Italian Embassy in Tunisia and Casablanca & Rabat, the Spanish consulate in Casablanca, etc.
The contacts with the abovementioned institutions were extremely important both under the visibility point of view (ETRERA_2020 was promoted on ANSAMED thanks to the tam -tam triggered by the Italian Embassy) and under the relationship development point of view. In fact, the good relationship established with the Italian Consulate in Casablanca supported the speed up of the visa release of one of the Moroccan researchers that had his mobility in Italy at the end of the project.
Moreover, the project together with the other R2I projects was able to conceive some political suggestions for the release of new calls and for the improvement of new strategies of international cooperation.
c) The Civil Society Level
ETRERA_2020 had an impact on the civil society by reaching it via the web, the newspapers, emails and others media the public at glance.
The project was disseminated in more than 100 different occasions with a direct audience reached by the several activities that we could estimate in about 375.000 people.
Moreover we have to highlight that the website has been designed in a way to reach and attract the civil society and the public at glance. It can be considered as an online magazine (even if for technical reason the format/shape is not of a magazine), in which all the news related to other project or the news related to renewable energy in the MPC are published.
The ETRERA_2020 website was put on line since the end of 2013. We have started to collect data/statistics on the visitors since 25 February 2014. During those 30 months, it was reached by about 300.000 visitors from all over the world.
The website was also designed as the entry point for some important “parallel” websites/ICT platform connected with ETRERA_2020, more in details:
✓ the ETRERA_2020 competence platform/networking database
✓ the InGec & EmHyTec conference website
✓ the former ETRERA website
✓ the Horizon 2020 website
Moreover, the website is hosting the hyperlink to more than 20 different websites and a library with books and publications of interest for the scientific community and for the general audience. This made the website an interesting tool for the visitors.
Together with the etrera2020.eu website, we developed the InGec website, a website exclusively developed for the ETRERA_2020’s scientific conference organized in the framework of the project. The InGec website was put online on the October 2015. Until the end of August it reached nearly 4,800 visitors.

The impact for the project’ partners

The project allowed to reach an interesting impact for all the project partners, we mapped this impact thought a questionnaire addressed to the 12 organizations belonging to the partnership.

Regarding the scientific collaboration with project partners already and developed at the end of the 3 years those have been developed in the form of:

1. Scientific collaboration with project partners already developed: Replies
- visit exchanges 6
- joint scientific publications 7
- to develop prototype 2

Just to named one, some bilateral agreement regarding PhD student have been signed between ENIT Tunis CTREn and Nantes University.

Regarding the scientific collaboration planned with project partners for the future those could be developed in the form of:

2. Scientific collaboration with project partners in planning for: Replies
- visit exchanges 10
- joint scientific publications 6
- to develop prototype 2

Another strong form of collaboration is related to the common participation to future projects. In this case, all the 12 partner are interested in collaborate with the other project partners without exclusion. This mean that in 36 months a good level of trust has been established between the partners.

Regarding the networking capacity: the project reached its objective:

5. Did ETRERA_2020 allow you to increase your network? Replies
in relation to
- enhance visibility of the institution at national and international levels 12
- learn and exchange best practices with project’s partners as well as other R2I projects 11
- understand the relation between Innovation and Research. 6

As showed by the table above, in terms of network development, the project fully succeed to reach one of its focal objective, “the increase of the network of the participant’s organization”. Some strategic MoU have been signed in the framework of the research results valorisation activities and in the framework of the technical assistance.
Among the several the CRTEn, developed/enforced relationship with the several companies: PROSCH Company (Tunisia) in the field of Energetic valorisation as well as chemical processes development, Assad Company and LIEU Network in Brussels.

The project adds also a considerable impact in terms of increasing the partner’s innovation capacity, knowledge of venture capitalist and business angels sector, knowledge on companies/innovators needs.

List of Websites:
www.etrera2020.eu

Project coordinator Alberto Soraci
tel. +39090716030
mobile+393470611030

Related information

Documents and Publications

Contact

Angela Capri, (Employer)
Tel.: +39 090 716030
Fax: +39 090 669632
E-mail
Record Number: 194629 / Last updated on: 2017-02-09
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