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Work meetings in Italy organised by Cluster Sofia Knowledge City

A series of working visits were organized by the cluster team in leading cluster organizations, research institutes, technology parks and smart city organizations in Austria, Slovenia, Italy and UK. These visits are aligned with the aim to build organizational capacity, internationalization, and successful partnerships.

In July (16-20.07.) Milena Koleva – strategy and development expert at the cluster – visited Italy and participated in several working meetings with cluster managers of Emilia-Romana Associazione Clust-ER, Greentech, Agrofood, ICT, Building and Construction, Health and Wellbeing, Mechanics and Mechatronics in Bologna, EURAC Research institute and NOI Tech park in Bolzano as well as innovation center Verona 311 in Verona.


Emilia-Romana is one of the most developed regions in Italy and the visited clusters are created under the innovation strategy for smart specialization. According to the cluster managers in order for a cluster to be successful research centers and scientific institutes should be actively involved. During the meeting with a team from the Institute for renewable energy at EURAC Milena was informed about the best practices of the cities of Bolzano and Trento and the region South Tyrol for solving the challenges of the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. There was a discussion about particular ideas for cooperation within the programme Horizon 2020.

The meeting with the team of one of the most developed technology parks in Italy - NOI Tech Park was very insightful and useful for the cluster. Some of the leading research institutes are located in the park (Fraunhofer Italia, EURAC Research, Climate House Agency, etc.) together with NGOs, companies and other organisations. The park is aiming to become a leading innovation hub in the region with the main goal to support the development and transformation of Bolzano into a smart city.

In alignment with one of the goals of the cluster to support the human resources development in the city Milena visited also one of the successful innovation centers in Italy – 311 Verona. In addition to being a business accelerator the center develops partnerships with big companies like Sharp for training young people and preparation of human resources in digital and smart city technologies. The representatives of the center expressed willingness and readiness to provide technical assistance and support to create and develop such innovation accelerator at the cluster in Sofia as well.

A detailed information about the meetings together with key conclusions and recommendations will be presented to the cluster members in September 2018.

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