An update from North East Romania: developing a consultative tool for agenda setting in local mountain communities
The specific focus of the Transformative Experiment in North East Romania is to increase the degree of involvement of local communities in the decision regarding investments for innovation in the areas where they live. In order to reach this goal, a consultative tool will be developed to identify and prioritise innovation needs in the target communities following the model of the focus groups of the entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) organised by the ADR Nord-Est, the Regional Development Agency of the region. In addition, a brokerage platform for innovation will be created as a bridge between local communities (potential beneficiaries of innovation), innovation facilitators, and research organisations (the generators of innovations). Thanks to this platform, the research institutes should be able to adapt their research topics to the needs of the mountain communities involved in the experiment, such as Bazinul Dornelor and Ceahlău.
By the end of TeRRItoria in early 2022, ADR Nord-Est would like to have at least one ongoing RRI brokerage contract/transaction as result of the consultive tool and platform. Basically, a concrete example of exchange between innovation demand initiators and innovation providers, resulting in a collaborative activity.
Future activities and expected results
In January 2021 the development began of a standard method for collecting, identifying, and structuring the research for innovation (e.g. questionnaire/interview guide for the project staff to use for direct interaction with the stakeholders). ADR Nord-Est is supporting the stakeholders from the target communities to structure their needs and prioritise and structure the innovation requests in such a way that it can be presented to and understood by an innovation provider. The staff of ADR Nord-Est is carrying out desk research for this activity.
From March to June 2021, four workshops, which will involve local tourism and agri-food stakeholders, will take place. Due to restrictions from Covid-19 measures, they should be a very small meetings with representatives from ADR Nord-Est, CE-MONT (a Romanian research institute focused on the mountain area economies), local administrations and local tourism and agri-food stakeholders. Ideally, in each workshop at least one structured innovation requested will be drafted.
By the end of June, the brokerage platform mentioned above should be working. In January a public procurement tender for developing this platform was launched. Some employees of ADR Nord-Est will work on the realisation of this platform by developing a user-friendly device.
For the next phase, between June and July 2021, some thematic meetings between research/innovation stakeholders and community stakeholders are foreseen. There will be two meetings organised between R&I stakeholders and local stakeholders from the two areas focused on (one meeting on tourism and the other on agri-food). These will be based also on the innovation requests drafted during the workshops. The meetings may take place online or face-to-face, depending on the prevailing situation at the time.
As a result of these activities, by September 2021 the staff of ADR Nord-Est expect to have at least one ongoing RRI brokerage contract/transaction.