Meeting topic: 


University research parks, business incubators, accelerators and technology transfer hubs are novel Research & Innovation providers that contribute to advancing entrepreneurship all over the world. However, it is widely recognized that innovators often struggle to scale up, as many of them find it difficult to reach people and develop strategic partnerships, especially in those areas facing specific socio-economic and environmental challenges, such as the Alpine region.
Networks are crucial tools to cut down the costs of innovation, as they facilitate the coordination of R&I activities, the access to new markets and technologies, the pooling of complementary knowledge and experience in order to boost lean and process innovation.
Since its establishment, the Alpine Macro-Region - represented by EUSALP Members - has been addressing important R&I priorities in the name of EU territorial cooperation and regional cohesion, with the aim to tackle common challenges and enhance competitiveness. Hence, the creation of a EUSALP-wide network of R&I clusters gathering businesses, labs and knowledge institutions is key to foster a more agile and dynamic innovation strategy, while capitalizing on existing infrastructures and resources.
The exchange of experiences, innovation-based solutions and technical expertise among different geographical areas, and between private and public actors, will enhance an effective network of collaboration. Furthermore, it will encourage and support research centers to move from basic to “applied” research, able to deliver innovative products and services, especially in the digital sector, which is changing the business landscape at an impressive speed.


At the AG1 Workshop that will take place in Constance on 28 March 2019, the Action Group 1 intends to discuss on the elements and strategies that are leading to the development of a successful incubator ecosystem, to be extended across EUSALP regions and beyond.
Specific focus will be on creating the conditions for the enhancement of digital innovation to support the development of marginal and rural areas of the Alpine space, overcoming physical boundaries and bridging existing competence centers through the creation of transnational networks. In this context, EUSALP representatives will share their experiences and insights, as well as the main instruments to connect the dots across the Alpine Innovation ecosystem.

Scope and purpose

As the workshop will target digital innovation and relative networks in the Alpine space, the topic is certainly attractive for a heterogeneous audience, from higher education representatives to young entrepreneurs of high-tech start-ups.
Therefore, the purpose of the workshop is to stimulate the debate on how to promote connections and networking in EUSALP macro-area.
Starting from a discussion upon EUSALP mission and initiatives in the field of interregional cooperation and Smart Specialization, the event will look closer at regions’ best practices and existing tools to build on for the development of a network of digital innovation players within the Alpine territory, in order to foster transboundary collaboration and cross-sectorial fertilization.
This workshop will also provide an opportunity to reflect on how to involve the industry and local SMEs in the implementation of digital ecosystems aimed at building competitive transnational value chains.

Format and participation

The workshop will take place on 28th March, in a session from 9:30 to 18:00. There will be interventions by several speakers, a round table between the participants coordinated by a moderator, and a final wrap up.
The workshop will be attended by members of the AG1 (EUSALP) and representatives of the various institutions that will be presented during the event: the International Lake Constance Conference and University, the ArgeAlp-Project “Online Campus” (Kanton Graubünden), the EU-Commission (DG CONNECT and JRC), the Alpine Space Program (Munich), AlpGov, and the Four Motors for Europe (Working Group „Research and Higher Education”).


09:30 – 10:00 | Opening: Welcome addresses (Baden-Württemberg, IBH, EUSALP AG1)

Uta Sprenger - Ministry of Science, Research and Arts Baden-Württemberg.

Carsten Manz - President Hochschule Constance and Member of the Executive Board, International Lake Constance University (IBH) – t.b.c.

Anna Giorgi - AG1 Leader

10:00 – 10:20 | How Digital Innovation Hubs and their collaboration within the Alpine Space are beneficial for fostering the digital transformation of companies and thereby the competitiveness of EUSALP regional ecosystems

Andrea Halmos - DG CONNECT, Unit A2 Technologies and Systems for Digitising Industry

10:20 - 10:40 | Thematic Smart Specialization Partnerships and Platforms to support macro-regional R&I aims and ambitions

Aleš Gnamuš - Project Leader, European Commission – DG JRC Growth & Innovation, Territorial Development Unit

10:40 - 11:00 | The Alpine Space Programme

Katharina Köhne National Contact Point for the Alpine Space Programme (ASP)

11:00 – 11:20 Coffee break

11:20 - 12:00 | The ArgeAlp project “Online Campus Alpine region” for the socio-economic growth of rural mountain areas

Martin Michel and Christian Ehrbar - Ministry of Higher Education, Graubunden

Bruno Studer and Tanja Hess - University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur

12:00 - 13:30 Midday networking lunch

13:30 - 15:00 Universities’ cross-border cooperation:

International Lake Constance University (IBH)
Markus Rhomberg - Managing Director IBH

IBH-Living Lab Active Assisted Living
Petra Friedrich - Kempten University of Applied Science

IBH-Lab KMUdigital (SMEdigital)
Manuel Treiterer - Hochschule Constance, University of Applied Sciences

15:00 – 15.15 | Short break

15:15 - 15:45 | “A global platform for the future manufacturing: the World Manufacturing Foundation”

Rossella Luglietti - General Manager, World Manufacturing Foundation (Italy)

15:45 – 16:15 | “ITEM LabEx: Hybrid networks for social innovation”

Kirsten Koop and Jean-Baptiste Grison - Université Grenoble-Alpes (France)

16:15 – 16:45 Coffee break

16:45 – 17:15 | Presentation by the Pulp and Paper Institute (Slovenia)

Mateja Mešl - Director, Pulp and Paper Institute (Slovenia) – t.b.c.

17:15 - 18:00 | Wrap-up session and conclusions from the workshop

Hochschule Constance, University of Applied Sciences, Baden-Württemberg