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  • Periodic Report Summary 1 - INNOVER-EAST (Building a more effective pathway leading from research to innovation through cooperation between the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries in the field of energy efficiency)
FP7

INNOVER-EAST Report Summary

Project ID: 609570
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: Hungary

Periodic Report Summary 1 - INNOVER-EAST (Building a more effective pathway leading from research to innovation through cooperation between the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries in the field of energy efficiency)

Project Context and Objectives:
Context and Objectives
The unsatisfactory level of cooperation between research and business is one of the well-known bottlenecks of innovation in all countries in Europe, small or large, well or less developed. The countries in the Eastern Partnership of the European Union targeted by the INNOVER-EAST project (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine) also face this challenge, but at a much higher level than the innovation leading countries in Europe. On one hand these countries usually have a traditionally well-educated workforce and a relatively strong academic community, however, on the other side, these resources are exploited in a very inefficient way. One of the key economic and social development policy challenges in the targeted EPCs is how and how fast the available research results can be turned from option to economic reality, and how fast and successfully the research agenda can be adjusted to the actual and future social needs. All countries have recognised this bottleneck and introduced several measures to tackle these challenges, still the general framework conditions for innovation are typically unfriendly.
All the five targeted Eastern Partnership countries (EPCs) of the project consider as key strategic political and economic issues to increase their energy independence and security. All nations went through a deep reform process of their energy sector in the past 20 years, including privatization, restructuring the state owned utility systems, liberalizing their energy markets and implementing major institutional changes as well. Each country recognised at the early days of the recent transformation process that the production and use of energy is one of the most important strategic issues from both economic and social development point of views. It explains why they consider energy efficiency, energy savings and the greater use of renewable energy sources as key priorities of their national energy strategies and policies.
The EU is interested in the peaceful process of social development and economic growth in the targeted EPCs. The strenghtening of the geopolitical stability in Eastern Europe and in the Trans-Caucasus is of equal importance for the EU. These interests of the European Union are reflected in certain strategies toward the targeted EPCs.
One of the four multilateral thematic platforms – ’Platform 3: Energy security’ - organized by the Eastern Partnership is focusing on energy security. Its main objectives are to enhance framework conditions and solidarity, to support infrastructure development, interconnections and diversification of supply, to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources, and to approximate regulatory frameworks and energy policies. According to recent policy dialogue between the EU, the European Parliament and the EPC governments the necessity to improve energy efficiency was identified as a key priority in the context of EU-EPC cooperation.
The INNOVER-EAST project aims at developing new skills and competences in innovation services at relevant organisations in the EPCs, and contributing to the learning process on how to bridge knowledge and business with a direct focus on energy efficiency.
The main objective of the project is to bridge effectively the gap between research and innovation, between researchers and business, and between EU and the targeted EasternPartnership countries in the field of energy efficiency.
This main objective will be achieved by targeting the following specific objectives:
Objective 1: Capacity building on innovation services in the targeted EPCs for assisting both researchers and businesses in improving their performance to transfer technologies and knowledge from academy to industry/market. Special attention will be given to start-ups and other innovative SMEs.
Objective 2: Paving the way for a more effective commercialization and market uptake process of innovative products and solutions in the targeted EPCs.
Objective 3: Facilitating the policy dialogue between the EU, EU Member States, Associated Countries and the targeted EPCs, and in particular inside the targeted EPCs, on innovation related to energy efficiency.
Objective 4: Building and developing capabilities at national level in the targeted EPCs among all stakeholders in the innovation value chain on energy efficiency, including academy, industry, government, innovation financing (private and public) and bridging (service provider) organisations.
Objective 5: Improving and facilitating the networking activities of innovation actors (academy, industry, NGOs, intermediary service providers) between the EPC region and Europe and promoting investment related to innovation in the EPCs.

Project Results:
Activities and Results so far
In Work Package 1 (led by ICEG, Hungary) an in-depth analysis was prepared on the state of the art of present national innovation in the targeted EPCs in the field of energy efficiency, with special focus to identify major bottlenecks of innovation. In the first step a conceptual framework had been defined and the methodology of the review had been developed. The methodology framework along with the guidelines for preparing the national studies were presented and explained by ICEG at the Methodology Workshop in Trieste, Italy on 1-2 December 2014. Based on the guidelines data was collected on energy and energy efficiency, and on research, technology development and innovation; national strategies were collected and analysed in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine and partly in Azerbaijan. Based on the mapping of the stakeholders in energy efficiency and innovation in the EPCs, and also using input from the EaP R2I cluster projects (mainly ener2i and NoGAP) a stakeholder database was set up.
Using all these inputs, systemic national studies of research-to-innovation bottlenecks in promoting energy efficiency were prepared by the EPC partners (except for Azerbaijan where not enough valid data had been found) with the methodological support of the EU partners. Draft studies have been validated by the local energy efficiency/innovation community at targeted national workshops except for Azerbaijan where this activity is yet to be done.
The National Studies were partly based on interviews and online surveys. Its key questions focus on the main reasons behind the failure of innovation, mapping the strengths and weaknesses of the supply/demand chain and the key actors in innovation and energy efficiency. They form the basis of the future recommendations for policy makers (in 2017) trying to identify the exact key measures to be applied to tackle the bottlenecks of innovation in energy efficiency in the Eastern Partnership.
The validation process had been closed by a validation workshop organized in Armenia (10 June 2015), in Belarus (14 May 2015, as part of the ‘Belarusian Industrial Forum’), in Georgia (1 June 2015, co-organized with the ener2i & SECURE-R2I projects) and in Ukraine (22 April 2015, as part of the ‘Oil and Gas Power Engineering 2015’ International Conference) with cca. 30 stakeholders in each country. Participants of the workshops included policy makers, representatives of the local research and business community, innovation service providers and NGOs. The validation process in Azerbaijan has not been finished yet.
The validated versions of the studies (except for the Azeri one) were presented in July 2015 at the 1st International Policy Event in Armenia and are constantly updated by the consortium. Based on the common findings in the five countries a synthesis report is being compiled.
The Interactive Stakeholders Database was given the name ‘Interactive Energy Services (IES) Database’ and is available on our website: www.innovereast.eu. It consists of an interactive map of Europe and the Eastern Partnership and the connected, searchable database. Its role is threefold: a) an interactive forum provided for stakeholders from the EPCs b) base for our expert network also to be maintained after the project ends c) base for inviting participants for the project events (national trainings, brokerages, etc.).
WP2 (led by AREA, Italy) has started to build new capacities to provide innovation services in the EPCs with the aim to assist both researchers and SMEs/businesses in improving their performance to manage the transfer of knowledge from academy to industry/market. With the help of the national studies in the making the consortium analysed the needs and drew a list of innovation services to be developed and/or adapted and introduced in the targeted EPCs. Services to support concrete innovation activities and facilitate direct public research-business linkages to assist the exploitation of research results are preferred. Customized services based on the real needs of the EPC partners are selected and voted in a draft form and to be submitted as a deliverable in December 2015 by AREA, task and work package leader.
Also, to improve the human and organisational capacity of the EPC partners, a twinning system is being established (staff exchange, study tours in both directions, mentoring given by EU partners).
Trainings will be provided, on the basis of ’train-the-trainer’ principle based on the above list of innovation services and the national studies on hot topics of R&D&I in the energy sector:
- innovation service provision (Baku, Azerbaijan in October 2015)
- innovation financing (Tbilisi, Georgia in January 2016)
- building international contacts/cooperation; supporting the participation of EPCs in H2020 and other EU programmes (Minsk, Belarus in February 2016)
The first ‘train-the-trainer’ learning event already took place in Azerbaijan on 7-9 October 2015 focusing on innovation service provision. The participants succeeded in selecting the innovation services to be set up in their respective countries as well as taking place in interactive learning sessions during the 3-day event organized by AREA, BZN and the local host CPEE.
The twinning visits have also started according to the plans. Hungary (BZN) visited Azerbaijan (CPEE) in August 2015 and Georgia (EE&EP) paid a visit to Greece (CERTH) in the same time period. More visit will follow until January 2017:
- Armenia (SDF NAS RA) + Italy (AREA)
- Belarus (ENECA): + Croatia (SDEWES)
- Ukraine (IFNTUOG): + Luxembourg (INTRASOFT)
WP3 (led by INTRASOFT, Luxembourg) will pave the way for a more effective commercialization and exploitation of research results in the EPCs. Innovation services will be delivered on a national basis according to actual demands, with the aim to increase the capabilities of service beneficiaries (both companies/SMEs and research organisations) in launching the research exploitation process and implement successfully the innovation from knowledge to market. As part of the services, national brokerage events will be organised in each EPC in M25-M30 with the aim to facilitate the matchmaking of research organisations and businesses to define projects for exploiting research results. In order to open up towards a wider audience, to bring together partners from the whole Eastern Partnership, from other EECA countries, as well as from EU MS and Associated Countries an international brokerage event will take place in Ukraine in M36 at the end of the project. The expected result is at least 10 project ideas (confirmed by Letters of Intent) directed at the exploitation of EPC research results.
As for this WP, selecting the EPC participants to be invited to the customized service provision in each participating EaP country has started around M18.
WP4 (led by SDEWES) will develop a policy dialogue between the EU, EU MS/ACs and EPCs, and in particular among EPCs, on innovation related to energy efficiency. It will also promote networking capabilities at national level in the EPCs among all relevant actors in the innovation value chain on energy efficiency, including academy, industry, government, financing innovation (private and public) and bridging organisations.
The plan for involving policy makers was compiled and submitted by the task leader CERTH.
Two international policy conferences are to be organised during the lifetime of the project: the first one in M14 is to give a status report on energy efficiency in the targeted countries based on the validated national studies and will discuss the major bottlenecks of innovation identified in this specific area, while the second one in M36 will summarize the lessons learnt, provide a cross-country analysis and form recommendations for the EU MS/ACs and national EPC governments for a wider and more effective cooperation in energy issues. Recommendations will be prepared for policy makers: ’How to improve innovation in energy efficiency in the EPC. Policy recommendations; 2017’.
The first one of the two international policy events mentioned above has already taken place in Yerevan, Armenia on 6-8 July 2015 in conjunction wit the IncoNet Eap, ener2i and INCONTACT 2020 projects. The expected outcome is awareness raised about energy efficiency innovation issues in the EaP via these networks.
WP5 (led by CERTH, Greece) is spreading information about the project, with its major objective to inform all stakeholders about the activities and results of INNOVER-EAST. Cooperation is being developed with relevant international networks coming from the EU and the EaP as well, making use of the already established partnerships of the project partners. The basic dissemination material (poster and brochure) was designed, translated into the EPCs’ national languages and printed for further use.
The website of the project was launched and already fully operational by M3 (www.innovereast.eu).
It has been since operated by BZN. Some press releases, publications and social media posts (via facebook, twitter, LinkedIn) were also launched to raise awareness by all project partners.
WP 6 (led by BZN, Hungary) deals with the management of the project with great emphasis on ensuring optimal organisation, management and decision making structure as well as networking and clustering possibilities. The Kick-off Meeting took place on 25-27 June 2014 in Budapest, Hungary as planned, providing the consortium with relevant information for the successful launch of the project.
The 2nd Project Meeting also took place as planned in Yerevan, Armenia on 9 July 2015 ensuring the continuation of all tasks. Both events were organized by the coordinator BZN with the active participation of all project partners.
The Quality Control Plan was compiled and submitted by BZN as task and work package leader.
The Advisory Board (one high-level expert in energy efficiency from each country) was set up and has been operating since then. AB member took place in the Kick-off Meeting and in the 2nd Project
Meeting as well.
Clustering and cooperating with other projects and panels in this period:
- disseminating other projects’ activities on our website (mostly ener2i, NOGAP) and via our other dissemination channels
- participating at an ener2i brokerage and training in Belarus in October 2014
- co-organization of a series of events with ener2i and SECURE R2i in Georgia in June 2015
- co-organization of a series of events with INCONET EaP, INCONTACT 2020 and ener2i in Armenia in July 2015
- participating in several EaP R2I cluster meeting organised in Brussels and elsewhere in the EU.

Potential Impact:
Planned and expected results of the project activities
# New capacities built up at the EPC organisations in the field of providing innovation services, measured by the following indicators:
- number of persons in the staff of the partner organisations with new knowledge and experience;
- number of SMEs serviced by the pilot phase;
- number of new contacts set up with the active participation of the project between stakeholders in innovation.
# New platform for international dialogue between the EU and the targeted EPCs in energy efficiency, measured by the following indicators:
- number of new linkages in operation among the targeted stakeholders;
- the quality and function of these linkages;
- intensity of platform activity.
Measurable and verifiable outputs of the project
# Five national reports on the “Status of innovation in energy efficiency in [name of the country], 2014-2015” validated by professional community of energy efficiency innovation at national level
# Methodological handbook for running the national analysis, approved by the consortium and tested by the INNOVER-EAST project
# 3 training courses with the participation of 30 trainees/course from the targeted EPCs;
# Service guidelines approved and accepted by the consortium and tested by the pilot phase of service provision
# 5 short-term twinning visits from organisations in the targeted EPCs to EU Member State organisations and 5 visits from EU twins to EPCs
# 10 letters of intent signed by research and business organisations on exploitation of research results
# Policy document titled ’How to improve innovation in energy efficiency in the EPCs. Policy recommendations; 2017’ validated by the professional community of energy efficiency innovation in both the EU and the targeted EPCs
# 5 national brokerage events with at least 30 participants in each EPC
# 1 regional brokerage event with at least 50 participants from business, SMEs, academy and other research, policy makers and other administrative actors from the EPCs, other Eastern European and Central Asian (EECA) countries and EU Member States/Associated Countries
Overall expected impacts
A) To strengthen EU STI and economic competitiveness, notably through improved access to knowledge, expertise and markets in third countries;
B) To tackle more efficiently and effectively major societal challenges;
C) To support EU external policies objectives, by helping less developed regions and countries strengthen and make better use of their STI competences for their socio-economic development.
Specific expected impacts
a) To foster mutually beneficial public-private-partnerships between Member States and/or Associated Countries and ENP countries through the market uptake of research results;
b) To contribute to the achievement of a Common Knowledge and Innovation space between the EU and ENP countries through enhancing cooperation between research and innovation actors on both sides;
c) To increase the potential of STI cooperation between Member States and/or Associated Countries and ENP countries under the Horizon 2020 and to contribute to the definition of biregional programmes on innovation.
Impacts resulting from the implementation of INNOVER-EAST
1. INNOVER-EAST will provide up to date analytical evidence (e.g. key players, competences, priorities, bottlenecks for innovation, and policy recommendations to improve the existing relevant policies) for each EPC and at regional level. It will identify issues related to the framework conditions for research and innovation (e.g. intellectual property rights protection, standards, regulations, access to innovation financing, etc.), and it will raise awareness to Horizon 2020 and the EU’s policies on energy and energy efficiency in the EPC. The regional policy workshop and the national workshops will provide effective tool for these activities. The database available at the project homepage can provide good practices and an actual stakeholder map for both policy makers and investors/potential collaborators. All these results and actions will lead to:
Project Impact #1: Facilitating policy dialogue among all stakeholders in energy efficiency innovation at national level in the EPCs and at international level between the EPCs and the EU and its Member States and Associated Countries.
This impact will contribute to the programme overall impacts [B] & [C] and specific impacts (b) & (c), as listed above.
2. INNOVER-EAST will collect good practices aimed at fostering public-private partnerships in innovation
in the Member States/Associated countries as well as in the targeted countries and share it with the EPC stakeholders. It will function as a learning process. The project will organise national and international brokerage events, stakeholder workshops in order to build new bridges among the key actors in energy efficiency. The database will also provide opportunities for partner search at national, regional and European level. All these efforts will contribute to bridging the gap between research and business in order to commercialise research results. All these results and actions will lead to:
Project Impact #2: Fostering cooperation between key stakeholders in energy efficiency innovation.
This impact will contribute to the programme overall impacts [A], [B] & [C] and specific impacts (a), (b) & (c), as listed above.
3. INNOVER-EAST, based on the assessment of the bottlenecks and the analysis of the demand/supply in innovation in energy efficiency, will identify services to be developed to tackle these challenges. The service development will largely rely on good practices from the EU adjusted to local needs of the EPCs. The EU partners will prepare the EPC actors to deliver the services through human and organisational capacity building process, including training, twinning, and learning by doing activities, then the EPC partners will provide these pilot services. Lessons learned on how to improve the services will be drawn. All these results and actions will lead to:
Project Impact #3: Building new capacities in promoting innovation in energy efficiency in the EPCs
This impact will contribute to the programme overall impacts [A] and specific impacts (a) & (b), as listed above.
4. INNOVER-EAST will focus on innovation – close to market – activities in the social challenge of energy efficiency. Its main objective is to address the gap between research and innovation, in order to improve competences and cooperation between producers and users of knowledge. It will organise international events and will aim at involving European actors into the bridge-building actions. In the EPCs new innovation capacities will be developed, the networking in the region will be facilitated both in policy and among innovation actors. The stakeholders out of the region (mostly in Europe) can access reliable information on regulations, strategies, high priority areas and key stakeholders related to innovation and energy efficiency in the EPCs. It will result in new potential interest to invest innovation in projects in energy efficiency in the region and initiating new collaborations. All these results and actions will lead to:
Project Impact #4: Strengthening the general capacities in the EPCs to tackle the high priority social challenge of energy efficiency through improving the innovation capabilities at national level and developing linkages with EU Member States and Associated Countries.
This impact will contribute to the programme overall impacts [B] & [C] and specific impacts (a) & (b), as listed above.

List of Websites:
www.innovereast.eu

Contact

Klaudia Tvergyák, (project manager)
Tel.: +36 1 463 0533
E-mail
Record Number: 195369 / Last updated on: 2017-03-13
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