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Odra region network for cross-border cooperation and integration of economy, science and technology

Final Report Summary - OREST (Odra region network for cross-border cooperation and integration of economy, science and technology)

The project 'Odra region network for cross-border cooperation and integration of economy, science and technology' (OREST) was a specific support action aimed to encourage the participation of partners from the new member states (NMS) in European activities and to stimulate innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in taking an active role in the realisation of the European research area.

OREST strived at strengthening of international co-operation in the sustainable transport and at encouraging actors from the selected new member states to contribute to 'surface transport' programmes on local, national and European levels.

The process leading to establishing the new programmes and activities was based on four stages:
I. Need: identifying need for knowledge or experience in specific fields and/or for international co-operation in transport related research - WP4 (lead by Spektrum)
II. Source: establishing a sound state-of-the-art basis, identifying sources of up-to-date expertise - WP1 (lead by Spektrum)
III. People: matching participants with the needed expertise and the ones searching for it - WP2 and WP3 (lead by Convoco)
IV. Programme: Thematic research groups (TRG) will be generated for:
- Defining their frame of cooperation (update of thematic clusters)
- Internal knowledge transfer
- Assisting in bringing future sustainable transport activities on the way WP3 (lead by Convoco)

The main geographical focus area was around the former outer border of the European Union, the Odra region in Eastern Germany and Western Poland. The main thematic foci were clean transport modes and solutions and integrated transport in cities.

The aim has been achieved through development of thematic networks which provide a contact platform for targeted knowledge transfer and exploitation of innovative and sustainable surface transport solutions. The project strives to answer the individual support needs of networks participants and involves them in the decision-making process and in the active networks development.

The OREST project has conducted support activities, including transfer of knowledge and international network development, as well as dissemination and management work during the second period of the project. These activities have allowed the work plan to progress towards the objectives set for this specific support action fostering the development of sustainable transport and strengthening of the ERA.

As planned, thematic networks in sustainable surface transport solutions with the main focus area of the former outer border of the European Union, the Odra region in Eastern Germany and Western Poland have been developed. Thematic research groups formed are: sustainable energy for transport group (1), waterborne transport group (2), and integrated transport in cities group (3).

The following are the functionalities, in accordance with the project objectives, that the thematic networks fulfil:
- setting up of a network of innovative enterprises, technology suppliers and potential institutional users of the results of 'Research and technical development' (RTD) projects.
- provision of a contact platform to support the participants from the new member states, especially SMEs, in international cooperation, knowledge exchange, scientific conferences and practical workshops.
- facilitation of the take-up of existing knowledge and to set up an international cooperation structure, going beyond the Odra region, in order to cover the knowledge and experience needs of the network partners.
- promotion of the policies of European Union within the network partners. Within the developed networks over 10 projects have already been prepared and more projects/programs should be expected as result of their setting-up.

The dissemination of knowledge and its use to support cooperation and create synergies in the chosen fields was one of the main OREST activities. Dissemination on regional and international level was provided by:
- Participation in the relevant events (meetings, conference and workshops)
- The OREST Website (
- Leading individual meetings in specific thematic clusters.

OREST activities contributed to raising the public participation and awareness, mainly by participation in meetings and presentations at trade fairs and conferences. Meetings focused on the thematic clusters in details were attended or organised. Different upcoming calls for proposals for individual RTD projects were answered by dedicated presentations.

The work in the project has shown that there is a great need for support in research, development, and in the implementation of the sustainable surface transport solutions. This need continues to exist and grows rapidly, especially in the New member states, where cities are developing, where urban sprawl is increasing and with it private car ownership, and where cities face a problem of lack of knowledge and strategies to deal with the growing transportation problems.
A number of ideas for new initiatives in the OREST thematic areas have been developed. More than 10 projects have been submitted in the second project period. This gives a chance for new initiatives to start, as a result of the OREST efforts.

The backbone for the sustainability of the OREST actions are:
1. The project ideas developed as a result of work in the OREST thematic areas.
2. The projects submitted to EU Research framework programme 7 and to other funding schemes.
3. The experience of common efforts of the partner institutions in the project ideas and proposals. This experience is a proof of commitment of all involved parties to further efforts for sustainable transport and to future cooperation in this field.
4. Based on all above, activities and initiatives which will be implemented without further funding from the OREST project after the project end. Sources of funding which are already committed to further implement the actions in line with the OREST vision.

New actions and/or initiatives will be implemented after the end of the project by the consortium members in follow up to the project, which will use the developed thematic networks, and which will follow the OREST goals:
- To promote and facilitate knowledge transfer,
- To contribute to the implementation of activities of the 'sustainable surface transport', and
- To support directly the preparation of future community and trans-national RTD programmes and individual project proposals.

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