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WASTE management focussing on: Knowledge and Integration to create Transnational economic development

Final Report Summary - WASTEKIT (Waste management focusing on knowledge and integration to create transnational economic development)

Executive summary:

'Waste management focusing on knowledge and integration to create transnational economic development' (WASTEKIT) is funded under the 'Regions of knowledge' (RoK) Theme of the European Union (EU)'s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The main purpose of this project is to analyse municipal solid waste management in four studied regions based on research and technological development (RTD), innovation and infrastructures in order to identify regional and interregional strengths and barriers to waste management related economic development.

WASTEKIT has three main objectives:

(1) expand ambitions of regions with respect to regional economic development based on waste management RTD, innovation and business creation;
(2) expand international mentoring roles of waste management-related actors;
(3) create an international role as a European network of (regional) waste management-related clusters.

There are four different regions involved in WASTEKIT: the Amsterdam Metropolitan District (the Netherlands), the Emilia Romagna Region (Italy), Sofia (Bulgaria) and the Yorkshire and Humber Region (UK). Each region is represented via a triple helix of stakeholders: regional / local authority or related organisation, knowledge institution and business. In total, there are 19 partners involved in the success of WASTEKIT.

The project has strengthened the 'research potential' of participating European regions, partly through the development of regional 'research-driven clusters' bringing together universities, research centres, enterprises and regional (or local) authorities taking a collaborative approach to waste management opportunities and barriers. The differing nature of partners has encouraged significant knowledge transfer at regional scale. Each participating region has analysed, developed and implemented areas of research that the regional or cross-border clusters have been interested in pursuing. Areas such as advanced thermal treatment of waste have linked with research and development (R&D) capacity and regional priorities. Involved regions prepared interregional pilot actions in the interregional joint action plan (JAP). These activities and the activities in the regional JAPs were aimed at encouraging community regional funds and other community and national funds to better complement one another. Pilot actions at a Y&H scale include potential initiatives to improve the integration of research actors (universities) in regional economies, through their interaction in the regional network.

The WASTEKIT consortium as a whole feel the project has fostered collaborative learning through the culmination of events and mutual learning in RTD and innovation. A four dimensional model developed and adapted in the mentoring work package (WP) - WP6 - allows replication of collaborative learning activities and events. This links with RoK aspirations to mobilise 'transnational regional consortia' and associate research actors in academia, industry and government to deliver 'guidance' solutions with, and for, technologically less developed regions. This mentoring guide is the main deliverable for project WASTEKIT and will be used and elaborated upon for hopefully many years after finishing the project.

Project context and objectives:

Project description of context and objectives

WASTEKIT is a European waste research project focusing on knowledge and integration to create transnational economic development. The project is funded under the RoK Theme of the EU's FP7.

The involved regions share a common ambition to stimulate waste management-related RTD, innovation and business creation at a regional as well as European level. WASTEKIT has the following 3 objectives:

(1) Expand ambitions of the involved regions with respect to regional economic development based on waste management RTD, innovation and business creation by means of the following most important approaches: facilitate the creation of knowledge and new technologies, facilitate the creation of spin-off projects, involve small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), attract investors, offer investment-related support, develop and implement innovative concepts with the aid of (launching) customers, create and intensify the waste management cluster / network.
(2) Expand the international roles of the waste management-related actors of the involved regions via international collaborations in the field of waste management-related RTD, innovation and business creation projects and initiatives. Expand the mentoring roles of the waste management-related actors in order to commercialise waste management-related knowledge, skills and technologies, exchange best practices and to support regions to upgrade their waste management infrastructures. This will lead to the development of more sustainable wastes management across the European partners.
(3) Create an international role as a European network of (regional) waste management-related clusters to optimise the usage of knowledge spill-overs. This network of networks (clusters) for mutual learning (via best practices) and exchange of knowledge, skills and technologies could lead to an optimisation of waste management-related innovation and competitiveness.

WASTEKIT has achieved the above objectives by offering involved regions additional opportunities to learn new European waste management best practice. The project is represented by a triple helix of actors: local / regional authority or related organisation, knowledge institution and companies, including linkages with intermediary actors. In total 19 consortium partners contributed to WASTEKIT from four regions: the Sofia region (Bulgaria), Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (the Netherlands), Yorkshire & Humber region (UK) and Emilia-Romagna region (Italy).

(1) Sofia region (Bulgaria): Sofia Municipality - Balkan Science & Education Centre for Technology & Environment Protection - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce & Industry - Denkstatt Bulgaria BOO.

(2) Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (the Netherlands): Amsterdam Innovation Motor (AIM) - Afval Energie Bedrijf (AEB) - Qeam BV - Delft University of Technology - Van Gansewinkel.
(3) Yorkshire & Humber region (United Kingdom): Leeds City Council - University of Sheffield - University of Leeds - ITI Energy Ltd - Yorwaste Ltd.
(4) Emilia Romagna region (Italy): Aster - Emilia-Romagna Region - Research Centre on Animal Production - Conserve Italia Group.

This part describes the deliverables from the seven WPs in the WASTEKIT project and the methodology used to analyse and enhance the waste management in regions.

Context

Waste management is on top of the European agenda since waste has a substantial impact on societal and economic challenges we face. As a waste challenge example, the figure below indicates the projected generation and landfilling of municipal waste in the EU.

Waste management is a related to the processing of waste (municipal solid waste; commercial and office waste; construction and demolition waste; industrial and mining waste; agricultural waste). The waste hierarchy indicates waste processing options: waste prevention, waste minimisation, waste reuse, waste recycle, waste recovery (including energy recovery and compost) and waste disposal.

In order to optimise the results of project WASTEKIT, we have identified an overall strategy plan:
Overall strategy of the work plan
The project has three project phases: analysis phase, synthesis phase and measures and dissemination phase. Due to the innovation policy and cluster expertise of consortium members, the following work plan was defined:

- Analysis phase (WP2): WP2 has a clear focus on inventory studies and realising the right information basis. It involves partners from each of the participating regions. The output of WP2 offers the fundaments and building blocks for WP3 and WP4.
- Synthesis phase (WP3, WP4): The results of WP2 are processed in WP3 and WP4. WP3 deals with integration of the results, mutual reflection on the results and definition of synergy potentials of the involved regions. Next, WP4 focuses on the actual definition of the JAPs. With respect to regional opportunities, regional JAPs are generated (one for each region). The central JAP reflects on the overall consortium (and European) potentials for joined RTD, innovation, business creation and network of clusters actions for the coming years.
- Measures and dissemination phase (WP5, WP6, WP7): WPs are defined for the following: RTD focused measures (WP5), mentoring focused measures (WP6), and dissemination measures (WP7). RTD focused measures are strongly linked to the academic and innovation actions of the JAPs. It typically focuses on strengthening the RTD, innovation and business creation fundaments of the region and among the regions in the consortium. The consortium sees WP6 also as an important part of the project in order to reach the following consortium's objectives: international collaborations, international business development, mentoring of regions (especially in South and Eastern Europe). WP7 covers the activities to share aspects and results of project WASTEKIT. It also focuses on positioning and strengthening of the European network of waste management clusters.

The project has been delivered considering the aims of objectives of the RoK funding programme.

The project has strengthened the 'research potential' of participating European regions, partly through the development of regional 'research-driven clusters' bringing together universities, research centres, enterprises and regional (or local) authorities taking a collaborative approach to waste management opportunities and barriers. The differing nature of partners has encouraged knowledge transfer at regional scale.

Each participating region has analysed, developed and implemented areas of research that the regional or cross-border clusters have been interested in pursuing. Areas such as advanced thermal treatment of waste have linked with R&D capacity and priorities. In-line with the RoK programme, WP4 involved regions working together to develop an interregional JAP. These activities and the activities in the regional JAPs were aimed at encouraging community regional funds and other community and national funds to better harmonise one another. Such pilot actions at a Y&H scale include potential initiatives to improve the integration of research actors (Universities) in regional economies, through interaction in the regional network.

The WASTEKIT consortium as a whole feels that the project has fostered collaborative learning through the culmination of events and mutual learning in RTD and innovation. The four dimensional model adapted in the mentoring WP (WP6) allows the replication of such collaborative learning events, as run in the WP6 Sofia Conference. This links with RoK aspirations to mobilise 'transnational regional consortia' and associate research actors in academia, industry and government to deliver 'guidance' solutions with and for technologically less developed regions.

The WASTEKIT project has identified a number of opportunities for international business collaboration. The project has strengthened connections and contacts between European Members States and will, inevitably, lead to new business.

Project results:

Introduction

WASTEKIT is an EU-funded project and has governments, knowledge institutions and companies as partners from Sofia region (Bulgaria), Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (the Netherlands), Yorkshire & Humber region (UK) and Emilia-Romagna region (Italy). WASTEKIT stimulates the development of waste management strategies and innovations. WASTEKIT is funded under the RoK Theme of the EU's FP7. WASTEKIT has three main objectives:

(1) expand ambitions of regions with respect to regional economic development based on waste management RTD, innovation and business creation;
(2) expand international mentoring roles of waste management-related actors;
(3) create an international role as a European network of (regional) waste management-related clusters.

Especially the objectives one and two have relevant science and technological (S&T) results according the WASTEKIT consortium, mainly in terms of developed methodologies, frameworks and content. Below we will highlight the main developed methodologies and frameworks related to the first two objectives. The actual content - with relevant S&T results - can be found in the WASTEKIT deliverables like de regional and interregional analysis report, the WASTEKIT central JAP and the four regional JAP and of course WASTEKIT mentoring guide (see deliverable list of WASTEKIT).

S&T results related to the first objective of WASTEKIT

With respect S&T results in relationship with the first objective the WASTEKIT project has performed the following main activities:

(1) analysing and defining the dynamic (regional) innovation system looking at the current waste management-related RTD, innovation, business creation and economic development situation;
(2) reflecting on the interconnections between the regions in terms of waste management RTD, innovation, infrastructure, actors and mutual reflection on and analysis of synergy potentials;
(3) transforming analysis results and findings into JAPs that gives suggestions to stimulate waste management RTD, innovation, business creation, cluster development and international collaborations.

Ad 1: Analysing and defining the dynamic (regional) innovation system looking

The WASTEKIT consortium has developed common methodology for the 'Analysing and defining the dynamic (regional) innovation system looking at the current waste management-related RTD, innovation, business creation and economic development situation'. This methodology is labelled as an S&T result of the WASTEKIT consortium. Some elements of the methodology have been shared with participating regions from STINNO project developing a common dialogue platform which will contribute to strengthen the regions' capacity for investing in and conducting research and technological development activities. The following methodology is adopted in order to understand the state of the art and the process of change in waste sector.

- Analysis focalisation on three areas of waste with high partner skills:
(a) thermal treatment (including gasification and pyrolysis);
(b) biological (composting and anaerobic digestion);
(c) collection and separation;
(d) other ('Other' may include C&I waste, or C&D waste streams if a partner cannot focus on MSW. ‘Other’ could also cover waste minimisation and re-use.)

- Analysis instruments:
(a) desk research;
(b) actor interviews;
(c) strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis.

- Analysis outputs to be integrated in the Analysis Reports on Regions:
(a) overview;
(b) case studies;
(c) SWOT.

An important analysis framework is the dynamic (regional) innovation system (see figure below) indicating that innovation is an interactive process in which various factors and actors play a role: knowledge institutes, business enterprises (large companies, SMEs and start-ups), (launching) customers, intermediary organisations, government, human capital, social / institutional capital, knowledge / creative capital, cultural capital, infrastructural capital etc. All these actors and factors support an efficient productive base to the regional economy.

Ad 2: Reflecting on the interconnections between the regions

The WASTEKIT consortium has developed a highly detailed analysis framework (so-called meta-table) to reflect on the interconnections between the regions in terms of dozens of waste-related aspects. This metatable is labelled as an S&T result of the WASTEKIT consortium. Via the aid of this meta-table several league tables were generated to identify the potential synergies that will ultimately feed into the WASTEKIT JAPs - WP4.

By analysing the SWOT analyses from the regional reports, the meta-table and the league tables that were subsequently generated, 11 synergy potentials have been identified for feeding into the JAPs.

Final agreed synergy potentials have been allocated to at least one region to mentor or provide a consultation service to sound-proof ideas and actions on that synergy topic. For example, the Emilia-Romagna region volunteered for the synergy potential 'options for plastics'. Providing consultation in this way increases communication in WP4 and ensures knowledge transfer between the differing regions. The regions allocated to synergy potentials are listed below:

- Technology: waste to energy - Sofia and Yorkshire and Humber.
- Knowledge transfer (including data and education) - Amsterdam and Sofia.
- Options for Plastics - Emilia-Romagna.
- Funding and spin-off projects (including procurement) - Amsterdam and Yorkshire and Humber.
- Public perception and understanding (of waste and associated technology) - all regions.

Ad 3: Transforming meta-analysis results into JAPs

In the following scheme is described the methodology that is adopted by all cluster regions in order to define comparable and homogeneous JAPs (both at regional and at consortium level).

The starting point of the JAP is the definition of the priority actions. Source of inspiration of the priority actions are, first of all, the produced SWOT during the WP2 activities. If / when the elements analysed in the regional SWOT are not enough to delineate a number of significant priority actions, the constitution of expert/advisor group is highly recommended. Cluster regions were freely adopt one or more expert / advisor, according to the requirements.

The second step focussed the interventions (i.e. operative measures). Also in this case, the WP2 reports were fruitfully used as source of inspiration. According to schemas below the performed SWOTs focusing on case studies (all listed in the interregional report) supply a number of (common) invention actions.

The above-mentioned methodologies (labelled as a S&T result of the WASTEKIT consortium) supported the definition of the WASTEKIT central JAP and inspired the processes of defining regional JAPs. The thematic focus of the WASTEKIT central JAP:

(a) technology waste to energy (combustion, gasification, etc.);
(b) options for plastics;
(c) knowledge transfer;
(d) funding and spin-off projects;
(e) public perception and understanding of waste.

Key team member to investigate the WASTEKIT central JAPs:

(a) key members from NL;
(b) key members from UK;
(c) key member from Italy;
(d) key member from Bulgaria.

As indicated earlier: from content perspective relevant S&T results can be found in the developed JAPs.

S&T results related to the second objective of WASTEKIT.

S&T results related to the second objective of WASTEKIT is mainly linked to the methodologies, frameworks, tools and event experiences of the WASTEKIT mentoring guide. The WASTEKIT mentoring guide and related deliverables (leaflets, presentations, best practices overviews etc.) give suggestions how to coordinate and facilitate - via mutual learning activities - the first steps in vision and strategy development of waste management policies and interventions in the region. Important is a shared vision among public and private sector organisations about their waste management sector for the coming decade in the region. Such a shared vision helps various stakeholders to invest structural and long-term in waste management strategies.

Mutual learning is the process of learning by fostering the sharing of knowledge and know-how between stakeholders from various relevant regional stakeholders. They focus on various waste management related topics like reuse, recycling, waste to energy, waste processing or landfill.

Mutual learning - via e.g. round table sessions - facilitates the development of a common vision on waste management policies and actions in order to create sustainable and feasible (regional) partnerships and to achieve the objectives in waste management and sustainability. WASTEKIT acknowledges the mechanisms and factors related to mutual learning to stimulate the collaborative development of a regional waste management vision and strategy. Therefore the WASTEKIT consortium considered the Ansell & Gash Collaborative Governance Model.

WASTEKIT has shown that mutual learning on waste management is based on the sharing of knowledge and know-how among different kind of stakeholders. It is important to offer the stakeholders (e.g. participants of round table sessions) a common and consistent framework of 'lenses' to accompany a focussed process of knowledge and know-how sharing. The WASTEKIT consortium defines the usage of this four-dimension model for learning and knowledge exchange as an S&T result of the project.

Mutual learning also means considering waste management-related best practices in order to learn and understand policies, projects, infrastructures, solutions and technologies in other regions or relevant contexts. Best practices can be considered via available document and reports. An extra dimension is site visits.

The WASTEKIT Mutual Learning Event in Sofia was organised via so-called round table sessions. During a round table session a specific waste topic is discussed from cultural, planning, policy and finance perspectives (four-dimensional model) as well as from macro to micro level. It supports a broader waste topic analysis in which participants of the round table session play an active role. The attendees were (very) positive about the added value of the round table sessions and the so-called four-dimensional model as an instrument to elaborate on waste management vision, options and solutions. The four-dimensional model helped to gain focus when approaching and discuss a certain waste management topic from multiple dimensions.

Stakeholders participating in the mutual learning events should be aware of the different 'maturity levels' of best practices. For explorative orientations it is not wrong to discuss and elaborate on 'early stage' best practices (like innovative waste processing solutions), but it should be prevented to put these kind of best practise in the centre of a regional waste management vision. To support the stakeholders and the participants of the mutual learning events with balancing the signalling information of best practices. WASTEKIT developed a maturity level indication of best practises (labelled by the WASTEKIT consortium as an S&T result). The figures below give an indication of the maturity levels (from European perspective) of various best practices for the waste hierarchy level Recycling known by the WASTEKIT partners and/or considered during WASTEKIT mutual learning events or other elaborations activities.

Third WASTEKIT objective and S&T results

During the WASTEKIT project knowledge transfer channels have been set up as a direct result of the WASTEKIT activities (e.g. round table sessions; workshop) in the different regions. E.g. students, at a variety of different levels (Master through to Doctor of Philosophy), have worked in strong collaboration with the industrial and government organisations as the project has been delivered.

WASTEKIT has encouraged networking. This has taken place at various scales at a local, regional, national and international geography. New communication has been introduced between a variety of partners and stakeholders:

- Public sector bodies including regional government bodies and local authorities.
- Private sector companies: small-, medium- and large-sized businesses.
- Academic institutions: universities and academic networks including colleges.
- Third sector organisations including charities, local groups.
- Knowledge transfer and experienced dissemination.

Potential impact:

Economic and societal impact of WASTEKIT

The consortium beliefs WASTEKIT has provided great societal impact and good economic impact.

The following benefits are identified:

Integrated approach: The WASTEKIT projectoffers the involved regions means to create and expand their waste management clusters via an integrated approach of regional innovation analysis and definition and activation of JAPs based on strong interactions with regional triple helix actors (research, industry, government, intermediaries) and the other involved regions (clusters). Since every involved region has its own waste management settings (due to directives, historical reasons, knowledge, innovation and business related actions etc.) this project offers attractive starting points to exchange waste management-related experiences and collaborations in JAPs.

'Weak spots' in the regional innovation systems are addressed: project WASTEKIT offers the involved regions to address the 'weak spots' in their regional innovation systems. In this way, the involved regional triple helix actors have insights to enhance the regional innovation systems in order to limit the impacts of the addressed weak spots and act on them according to the JAP and the mentoring guide.

Research-driven clusters are appropriate settings for creating focused partnerships. Project WASTEKIT offers means for all regional triple helix actors to learn from and contribute to (the spin-off of) this project. It enables partnerships on regional and international level. Authorities can play a role in procurement programs and as launching customers. RTD actors have abilities to strengthen their contact with industrial actors and specifically SMEs. They benefit in terms of qualifying applied research programs at a faster pace and making sure that their research contributes to innovation. Large companies benefit from the partnerships in terms of innovation.

Strengthening the regional RTD and innovation clusters itself: due to project WASTEKIT involved regions have opportunities to create and / or strengthen their regional RTD and innovation clusters dealing with waste management.

Benefits on European level

A benefit on European level is the fact that a specific RoK project focussing on waste management RTD, innovation, business creation and clustering, results in reflections regarding its impact and best practices. This offers policy makers and other relevant actors all over Europe insights regarding opportunities and challenges for creation, enhancing and expansion of waste management research-driven clusters and networking settings.

The fact that project WASTEKIT creates for itself an international role as a European network of (regional) waste management-related clusters (and actors) gives a benefit on European level. A visible entity interesting for a variety waste management related clusters and actors (e.g. research institutes, waste management industry, governmental organisations, intermediaries and others like investors). We have had interest from other projects and also related new proposals.

Furthermore, project WASTEKIT has put mutual learning in a new perspective. We have identified various ways to organise mutual learning and the impact this has on waste management in regions:

Common vision and strategy development

Mutual learning events based on various round table sessions help to explore specific waste topics from various perspectives and waste management levels. Gaining and sharing information help stakeholders like public organisations (e.g. municipalities) or commercial organisations (e.g. waste processing companies) to develop a shared and common vision to give shape and direction to actions and solutions to current and future waste challenges.

Openness

Mutual learning events are a success when they lead to a shared and common vision on regional waste management policies and actions. This requires openness of the participants: they need to have the desire and the ability to freely share their knowledge and know-how during the round table sessions. If this openness is available, it will magnify learning processes and lead to stronger and more realistic development of a shared and common vision on waste management policies and actions.

Excellence

Mutual learning offers every involved participant (individual and organisation) more insight regarding the various aspects of waste management and therefore contributes to individual and organisational excellence in waste management especially when a trans-disciplinary views, knowledge and skills are required.

Facilitating linkages

Due to the involvement of various stakeholders, these mutual learning events based on round table sessions facilitate linkages amongst stakeholders on individual and organisational level. These linkages go deeper than networking since the stakeholders have deeper understanding about their knowledge and know-how about waste management as a result of the round table session discussions and participation.

List of websites: http://www.wastekit.eu

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