The 1st Clustering Workshop on the European Research Consortium (ERIC) was held at the CEI Headquarters in Trieste on 3 February 2015.The event was organised in the framework of the Danube-INCO.NET WP3 – Tackling societal challenges: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in a Bio-based Economy.
The event was organised by the CEI, one of the project´s full-fledged partner, and specifically responsible for the implementation of Work Package 3 “Tackling societal challenges: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in a Bio-based Economy”. It was the first of a series of 5 workshops, one brokerage event and one triple-helix conference to be held with the ultimate purpose of promoting the creation of new clusters and networks across the Danube Region.
Targeted participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine took part in the event whose main objective was to illustrate the advantages of ERIC as a legal framework for promoting transnational cooperation among Research Infrastructures.
Representatives of the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office; the Serbian Ministry of Science and Technological Development; the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information; the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, as well as of the Ruder Boskovic Institute from Croatia; the German Steinbeis Donau Center and the German Aerospace Center were amongst the invited participants.
During the Workshop, the representative of the European Commission, Paul Tuinder, provided an overview on the application process as outlined in the Council Regulation 723/2009. Success stories and case studies were also presented, including the Trieste-based Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium (CERIC-ERIC), as the only ERIC having its seat in Italy, and the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), whose application for establishing an ERIC is currently under evaluation by the European Commission. Moreover, participants were informed on the opportunity – provided in the context of the Danube-INCO.NET project - to fund 2 Pilot Activities aimed at launching new R&I cooperative initiatives in the Danube Region.
The main result achieved was a thorough analysis of a legal instrument, i.e. ERIC, specifically designed to support networking among research infrastructures, with an in-depth presentation of both the main procedural aspects and two case studies. Taking into account the fact that non-EU countries are eligible to participate in ERICs only since the end of 2013, the Danube-INCO.NET project, as a R&I Coordination and Support Action, can make a strong contribution to disseminate this instrument by highlighting its potential and by facilitating knowledge transfer from more to less experienced countries.
Furthermore, the 1st Clustering Workshop offered a useful platform where synergies between on-going regional initiatives, such as the EUSDR PA2 activities and the JRC-led Danube Bionenergy Nexus, are constantly stimulated. In this regard, the event perfectly matched the overall scope of the Danube-INCO.NET project, by offering an opportunity for mutual understanding, exchange of views, networking and know-how transfer.