On September 27 and 28, 2018 the staff exchange visit to Krakow, Małopolska Region, took place as part of the project InnoBridge – Bridging the innovation gap through converting R&D results into commercial success in a more effective and efficient way. Snezhina Gabova from Sofia Development Association and Prof. Rumen Nikolov, member of the project stakeholder group, participated in the visit, together with partners from Finland and Austria.
The purpose of the staff exchange was to learn from the experience of the Polish partners in organizing and developing initiatives in support of the innovation ecosystem in the region through the utilization of European structural funds. One such good practice is the organization of the annual Małopolska Innovation Festival (since 2011), a region-wide, one-week long event that brings together companies, start-ups, universities, entrepreneurs and scientists. The regional administration coordinates the event which is also a main component of the work to promote regional smart specialization. The Regional administration is responsible for organizing the annual call for partners of the Festival, meeting with the partners to set the event agenda and a comprehensive promotion of the Festival (in Krakow and all participating cities, currently six).
After meeting with the regional office, the first day of the visit included also meetings at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology and attending the Awards Gala of the Małopolska Innovator Competition, during which the most innovative companies and products were recognized and awarded. The competition is organized by Enterprise Europe Network at the Technology Transfer Centre – Krakow University of Technology and by the Marshal Office of Małopolskie Voivodeship (http://fismalopolska.pl/?lang=en.) The second day involved meetings at the LifeScience Cluster, a cooperation initiative of several universities in Krakow, businesses and technology companies that supports cutting-edge research in the life sciences sector. The next stop was the Aptiv company, a high-end automotive company and world-leader in delivering solutions for automated/autonomous driving and automated mobility on demand, high-speed sensing and networking systems in vehicles. APTIV is also an active partner of the Innovation Festival. The final event in the study visit was the opening ceremony of the Researcher’s Night. We had an opportunity to attend a fun science show organized for school children in Kijów Centrum, titled “TIME MACHINE. Children who changed the world.”