Bringing Responsible Reasearch and Innovation closer to small mountain communities in North East Romania
North – East Romania disposes of a significant mountainous population which have their own specific needs and assets. The Horizon 2020 – TeRRItoria project – aims to increase the degree of involvement of local communities in decisions regarding investments for innovation in the areas where they live. The staff of ADR Nord Est is trying to facilitate the matchmaking between innovation providers and the request for such solutions in small mountain communities. The Romanian experiment targets the tourism and agri-food sectors from two mountainous micro-regions: territories of the Local Action Groups (LAG) from Bazinul Dornelor in Suceava county and Ceahlau in Neamt county.
What was achieved so far?
ADR Nord-Est has two main objectives to achieve by the end of TeRRItoria project. The fist objective is the development and adoption of a local consultative tool for identification and prioritization of innovation needs (EDP approach – Entrepreneurial Discovery Process). After several workshops with the local stakeholders (local companies, public authorities and NGOs), on-line consultation process and a final workshop in 2021 with the regional research and innovation actors, we managed to have a clear identification and prioritization of the main challenges at local level based on their potential for innovation and prospect together some of the solutions.
The second objective was to develop a Brokerage platform for innovation (and research on demand) for the “pilot” mountain territories in the fields of tourism and agri-food. With this platform ADR Nord Est aims to bridge local communities (potential beneficiaries of innovation), innovation facilitators, and research organizations (the generators of innovation). All the actors involved in the project have been working together to make the brokerage platform operational. It was presented in a draft version and tested during our last workshop and will be ready to be published beginning of 2022, after the final revisions based on the feedback received so far. In the last two years, the ADR Nord Est staff realized how important it is to have the constant support of most of the stakeholders in the project and without them we would not have been able to finalize our activities during this crisis.
What are the next steps?
The Covid-19 pandemic made us all better realize the importance of having proper and functional on-line tools and adapted processes. ADR Nord Est come to the aid of potential innovation beneficiaries from small communities who very often do not know who to turn to or what services they need. They are also supporting the innovation providers to reach a larger area of possible beneficiaries and to increase their visibility. The goal is to have as many interactions and as many funds as possible available for the development of the target territories.
ADR Nord Est hopes that their approach will be useful for the “pilot” communities and they are willing to replicate it in other parts of the North-East region. Their plan is also to extend to all the areas of interest. In addition to the two agri-food and tourism sectors, also the other priority sectors of RIS 3 North – East (energy, environment, textiles, ICT, health) will be introduced in our future approach.