Regional policies adopting Industry 4.0 for Digital Transformation

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DIGITAL REGIONS  =  Regional policies adopting Industry 4.0 for Digital Transformation
Project Status:
Live Project
Project Leader:
Funding Programme:
Project Budget:
Start Date:
Aug, 2019
Finish Date:
Jan, 2023
The aim of the project is to:

Achieve an increase in the number of SMEs from the manufacturing sector cooperating with other innovation actors in the participant regions to implement Industry 4.0 solutions as a result of improved innovation policies.

Specific objectives are to:
  • Better utilise/improve policy measures to increase the level of cooperation taking place between I4.0 innovation actors in different regions, particularly between centres with complementary I4.0 technologies (e.g., IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics) or serving the same smart specialisation sector, in this case manufacturing. This will contribute to the overall objective by increasing the range and quality of I4.0 solutions available to SMEs in a particular region;
  • Improve the participation of SMEs in Industry 4.0 innovation programmes by introducing support measures to enhance I4.0 skills development, participation in test-beds/field-labs and global value chains. The lack of such support measures are identified as barriers to uptake of I4.0 by SMEs;
  • Develop policy guidelines and recommendations (output as an “I4.0 Policy White paper”) aimed at regions not participating in the project, but with a smart specialisation in the manufacturing sector. This can be applied in regions not participating in the project and adapted for particular smart specialisation manufacturing niches and regional needs.
RegionOrganisation / Role
Gobierno de Cantabria
The Cantabrian Government will actively contribute in the knowledge of exchange process bringing good practices existing in the region of Cantabria. Apart from this it will host site visits and thematic workshop.
ERNACT will be responsible for leading the management and communications that will support the project’s objectives. ERNACT will share their experience and bring good practices to the exchange of knowledge process.
University of Ljubljana
University of Ljubljana will contribute by sharing knowledge and experience from other projects in the field of open innovation, co-creation and training in the fields of digital transformation. They will also share best practices from the country and neighborhood regions.
Business Agency Association
Business Agency Association will bring its expertise in supporting digital transformation processes, tools and projects under quadruple helix cooperation. BAA will apply its expertise in mobilizing stakeholders for policy deployment and improvement.
West Romania
WRDA will actively contribute in the exchange of experience process. Apart from this it will host site visits and thematic workshops.
The common challenge addressed by DIGITAL REGIONS is how to best adapt innovation policies to support smart specialisation in the manufacturing sector as a result of the emergence of INDUSTRY 4.0 (INDUSTRY 4.0 or I4.0 is often referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution and its solutions sit at the intersection of digital transformation and advanced industrial capabilities).

The overall objective is to, by 2022, achieve a 15% increase of the number of SMEs from manufacturing sector cooperating with other innovation actors in the participant regions to implement I4.0 solutions as a result of improved innovation policies.

The 8 participant regions are Oberfranken (DE), Slovenia (SI), Espace Mittelland-Canton of Bern (CH), BMW (IE), Centro (PT), Cantabria (ES), Varna (BG) and West (RO).They are distributed across the 4 IE zones with a mix of central/peripheral areas and innovation levels (leader, strong, moderate and modest).

All have manufacturing as a smart specialisation priority and are represented by an appropriate mix of partners from each region's innovation value-chain including managing authorities, universities, Industry 4.0 Centres of Excellence and business development intermediaries.

The project seeks to improve 7 ERDF policies addressing the Thematic Objective "strengthening research, technological development and innovation” and 1 Swiss equivalent policy.

It will result in instruments which better meet the needs of I4.0 in smart specialisation manufacturing regions, taking into account revised 2021-2027 Investment for Growth and Jobs priorities and the new Horizon Europe and Digital Europe policies. They will include measures to facilitate increased I4.0 policy cooperation between regions, increased participation by SMEs and availability of skills.

It will benefit all stakeholders in each region’s innovation ecosystem, i.e. innovation policy makers, SMEs that use I4.0 solutions, suppliers of I4.0 services and universities and innovation centres.

Newfoundland & Labrador
South Ostrobothnia
West Romania
San Sebastián
Derry & Strabane
United Kingdom