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InnoRenew CoE Report Summary

Project ID: 664331
Funded under: H2020-EU.4.a.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InnoRenew CoE (Renewable materials and healthy environments research and innovation centre of excellence (InnoRenew CoE))

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Renewable Materials and Healthy Environments Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence (InnoRenew CoE) addresses issues at both the national and international level. At the national level, the project addresses research and scientific quality, relevance, and applicability issues. Internationally (including in Slovenia), the wider issues addressed are optimising wood utilisation and building construction that emphasises accessibility, adaptability, and positive human health impacts in addition to environmentally sound construction.
Addressing these issues will help Slovenia become a high-performing innovation and research country. Within the country this will lead to greater utilisation of Research Development and Innovation (RD&I) activities within forest sector businesses, which will increase their competitiveness with other European and global firms. Increasing the utilisation of wood through optimising processing, developing new processes (especially related to wood modification), and identifying applications for wood and wood composites will reduce the strain on non-renewable resources and contribute to economic recovery in the forest sector. Producing solutions for better built environments will directly impact society by increasing occupant well-being in buildings, at work, home, school, or elsewhere. Specific targets to increase wellness in buildings are to reduce stress levels, increase recovery from stress (e.g., restoration of depleted physical and psychological resources), improve the ergonomic function of buildings and objects within them (e.g., furniture, safety railing) to protect worker health and allow the elderly to stay at home longer.
The overall strategic objective of the new Centre of Excellence (InnoRenew CoE) is to harness and upgrade the talents and expertise of all collaborators and relevant stakeholders in order to create, improve, and communicate innovative products, processes, services, business models and systems for smart, sustainable and modern built environments for all generations, thus facilitating Slovenia’s transformation into a society focused on sustainability, cyclical economy, human well-being, and use of its renewable resources and assets.
The overall mission of the InnoRenew CoE is to realise its overall objective in close collaboration with and by mentoring from the advanced partner, Fraunhofer WKI, by accomplishing the following specific objectives:
- to create an Innovative Renewable Material Uses living laboratory (LL InnoRenew) in which stakeholders representing industry, consumers, and researchers gathered to collaboratively explore, design and validate themes, opportunities and risks for new innovative renewable material based products, services and systems
- to perform market analysis of consumers and industrial entities identifying opportunities and risks related to the value and innovation chains
- to update the SWOT analysis based on the results of the market analysis
- to identify methods and measures necessary to achieve scientific and innovation excellence
- to prepare a RD&I roadmap to implement the identified methods and measures to achieve scientific and innovation excellence
- to define a long term business plan that meets the stated objectives of the CoE and includes sound financial planning, strategic, operational, and risk management methods, and addresses market needs
- to select metrics, indicators and business intelligence tools to help measure the impacts of the new CoE business model
- to openly share and innovatively disseminate the CSA activities and findings

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The InnoRenew CoE project work plan consisted of six work packages focused on different aspects of project development. They were designed to achieve the overall project objective of developing a robust business plan for the new InnoRenew CoE.
Basic promotion of the project was achieved through the InnoRenew CoE’s webpage and its content, and through engagement on the online social networking sites. InnoRenew CoE created Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles. Further dissemination of the InnoRenew CoE took place within the LL InnoRenew established during the CSA. Several types of LL InnoRenew activities were implemented: the InnoRenew CoE consortium organised three workshops dedicated to the CoE’s services, to the impact and communication strategies, and to innovation and industrial communication methods. Many LL InnoRenew members participated in the workshops, while others were informed about them online. The consortium met with current and potential LL members in personal meetings to determine the needs of individual organisations, which helped shape the InnoRenew CoE’s research topics and goals.
Several politically oriented events, which resulted in discussions about possible German-Slovene economic integrations with emphasis on the InnoRenew CoE, took place during the first stage of the project.
Additional dissemination activities were performed at national and international events (roundtables and meetings, fairs, conferences and workshops) attended by InnoRenew CoE partners to share information about the project and collect feedback and insight from other scientists.
To promote the project and its partnership in the early stages, and its achievements in the later stages of the project, leaflets and posters communicating the InnoRenew CoE and LL InnoRenew were prepared and distributed or exhibited at the national and international events attended by professional, scientific, and public audiences. Finally, all this was summarised in a four-volume brochure.
The InnoRenew CoE partners published peer-reviewed articles addressing the project’s primary topics, themes, and work. Furthermore, they presented InnoRenew CoE in professional journals, and on the websites of all nine partners within the consortium. The most important project’s events were covered in national and international media.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected impacts of the first stage InnoRenew CoE project have been conveyed. Through collaboration with Fraunhofer WKI, the consortium partners became better equipped to seek competitive funding (public and private/industrial sources) in national and international environments. Collaboration in LL InnoRenew during the first year improved the research and innovation culture of the involved participants, especially SMEs, resulting in increase of joint proposals for competitive funding and investment in RD&I within these companies. Through its dissemination activities, LL InnoRenew enhanced attitudes towards and perceived value of research and innovation in the general public and industry. Intensive interaction and partnership with the ministries of the Republic of Slovenia resulted in increased institutional awareness of the need to provide policy support for RD&I in general, and development of the renewable resource sector in particular. Furthermore, the advanced partner deepened its knowledge on regional RD&I and industrial landscape, and therefore increased the potential for collaboration and exploitation of new research avenues and approaches (such as living laboratories), as well as direct commercial collaboration (e.g., certification, licensing, etc.).

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