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Organization and Delivery of the Italian Presidency Conference on the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) – the SET IT Project

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SET IT (Organization and Delivery of the Italian Presidency Conference on the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) – the SET IT Project)

Reporting period: 2014-07-01 to 2014-12-31

Launched in 2008 the EU’s SET-Plan is the technology pillar of the EU’s energy and climate policy to support research and innovation on low-carbon technologies by establishing joint partnership among research actors, industry, European Commission and Member States. Its major goal is to contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy by reducing CO2 emissions as well as to increase energy security in a sustainable way while reinforcing competiveness, by using the available resources more effectively and leveraging investments to create growth and new jobs.

Over the last six years, the SET Plan has promoted and fostered the exchange of information and knowledge between key decision-makers, industry and research actors and has had a structuring effect in EU and national programmes, orienting investments around selected technologies. Building on these achievements, the Integrated Roadmap and Action Plan will respond to the new challenges of the energy transition and the objectives of the European Energy Union.

The 2014 edition of the Conference falls at a crucial time, when momentum is gathering towards the development of the SET Plan Integrated Roadmap and an Action Plan promoting stronger collaboration in areas such as energy efficiency, competitive low-carbon supply of energy, and system optimization including smart cities and communities. It was agreed that being the main opportunity for the SET-Plan’s different stakeholder groups to meet and promote their objectives, the Conference should:

i) provide a privileged forum for open discussions to develop a new integrated vision for the SET-Plan and shared understanding;

ii) provide stakeholders with an updated panorama of the European energy and technology framework policies as groundwork for spurring active participation and commitment to the “SET Plan” objectives;

iii) promote the outreaching of the SET Plan current portfolio, that is address still untapped resources of relevant sectors.

ENEA, as organizing body, worked out the SET IT project to capitalize on the SET-Plan Conference as an attractive communication event for developing and implementing new participatory tools. The exploitation of 2.0 technology enhanced interactions of audience, delegates, active stakeholders, potential ones, and media professionals during the Conference days; once the event ended, the new tools will remain in use as suitable channels for sharing information and knowledge, and possibly constitute the first attempt to create a legacy to be passed on to future SET–Plan conference organizers.
The kick off meeting of the SET-IT project was held in Rome on May the 21st 2014. The meeting was organized following the designation of their respective representatives in the governance bodies foreseen in the project, by the stakeholder institutions involved in the organization of the SET Plan Conference, and namely: the European Commission – DG ENER, DG RTD, DG JRC; Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the Ministries of Education, University and Research (MIUR), of Economic Development (MiSE), of Foreign Affairs (MAE), of Infrastructure and Transports (MIT), of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea (MATTM), and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM).

A launch event followed by a networking cocktail reception was held in Brussels on October the 13th 2015 inviting representatives from European Institutions, National Authorities and R&I liaison offices operating in Brussels to an informative meeting on the SET-Plan conference goals and agenda. The networking event targeted to Brussels’ information multipliers, for an expected attendance of about 150 people, was held at Italian Embassy premises, with speeches from the Ambassador of Italy to Belgium, The ENEA’s Commissioner and Senior representatives of the EC (DG ENER, DG RTD and JRC).

The 7th Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) Conference co-organized by ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and the European Commission took place in Rome on 10 and 11 December 2014, under the auspices of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference was held at the Auditorium Antonianum, a multifunctional structure conveniently located in the city center. The structure is equipped with high speed internet connectivity, live video streaming facilities, press room, VIPs’ lounge, two large foyers, accessibility for the disabled and a coffee bar.

Concerning the organization, the entire management of participant data and information delivery was carried out making use of 2.0 technology. Participant registration was an on line procedure. After registering, participants were admitted to a restricted participant area, where they could have booked side events and the Gala Dinner or upload a poster for the poster session. The data provided was elaborated to generate information for an interactive personal participant card exploiting Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is contactless and bidirectional. All participants received a personal QR-code via e-mail. On the first day of attendance they had to show their QR-code at the check-in desk and have their personal NFC card activated. Nearing the NFC card to the-point totems placed in the entrance hall they could: be identified and granted access; re-confirm side event attendance; re-confirm Gala Dinner attendance; re-confirm attendance to the technical visit to ENEA Casaccia Research Centre; vote their favorite poster; get in contact with other participants.

The Conference represented a unique forum for all stakeholders (experts, energy companies, universities, research institutes etc.) and representatives of national and EU institutions to have in-depth discussions on the new developments of the SET Plan towards an Integrated Roadmap and Action Plan addressing research & innovation challenges and needs of the EU energy system.

The definition of the Conference contents, structure and speakers was jointly defined by the Steering Committee (SC) and the Conference Secretariat (CS). The Operational Unit (OU) was in charge of the logistic. Concept and procedures for the different sections of the Conference including the Poster session were deeply assessed and identified.

Within the Conference, five Side events and one Extra-Session have been organized either at lunch breaks or after the main sessions so as participants could attend both. The events were on i) Energy Research For Driving Indust
Leading European and Italian authorities and over 650 energy stakeholders from all across Europe and beyond gathered in Rome for the two-day conference on SET-Plan.

The high-level opening speeches from the European Commission acknowledged that “this event could not fall at more opportune time, where the need to ensure a competitive, secure, affordable and sustainable energy system is without a doubt one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Indeed, the construction of a resilient Energy Union with a forward looking climate change policy has been identified as key priority of the current European Commission. European Energy R&I policy has a major role to play”.

“In this context – said ENEA Commissioner, Federico Testa – research and innovation are key to give answers to the challenge of securing energy supplies and to the increasing concerns on climate change. The crucial climate-energy nexus is further strengthened by the concurrence of the Lima Conference on climate change while the SET Plan Conference is taking place”.

The value-added features of the Italian event was, on the one hand, the enlarged audience of stakeholders and, on the other one, the launching of a new participatory governance tool which makes full use of the 2.0 web technologies.

This new methodology for the management of the flux of information of the conference generated organized data which could be further deployed for the SET Plan implementation and future SET Plan Conferences. It will be definitely crucial for follow-up activities and will also enable to overcome one limit of all previous conference web sites: they all had active live not longer than the event time span; some of them remain obsolete on the internet. The Italian event web site was no more conceived just as a container of useful information but as a gate to useful services, delivered through the SET Plan conference’s social network pages. Even if our web site would be dismantled in due time, content, links and data generated for and during the conference will then remain in the social network pages as a legacy to ensuing SET Plan conference organizers and will be available for exploitation and networking in the future, establishing a continuity and enhancing the impacts of our work on future conferences. The 2.0 technology was also at the core of the promotion strategy of the Conference, which made it possible to convey updated information and services through the current social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, so as to produce spontaneous sharing and reproductions of contents on the web, enlarging the audience and enhancing impacts.

It is worth pointing out that the SET IT project managed to create a bridge between the real event in Rome and the virtual event on the internet. This was achieved by video streaming the Conference on line and coherently exploiting the social network pages of the SET Plan Conference, while reproducing the interactions of the social networks on a dedicated screen (so called “social wall”) at the Conference premises.

Some of the results of the promotion and dissemination campaign are outlined in SET-Plan Conference 2014 web-site.
Poster Session
Some invited eminent speakers (A. Siegler, G.F. De Santi, M.C. Donnelly, D. Ristori, F. Testa....
Conference leaflets
The Auditorium Anonianum
Session 1: Towards the Integrated Roadmap
SET-PLAN Conference 2014: the numbers
Conference view 2
Conference view