On 25 November, Eddy Van Hijum, Chair of the Vanguard Initiative, and Željko Pazin, Executive Director of the European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA) signed a Cooperation Agreement in the framework of the “Made in Europe” European Partnership.
The signature took place in the presence of VI Ministers and Peter Droell, Director for Prosperity at the General Directorate for Research and Innovation of the European Commission. The collaboration between the two associations will allow to join forces on a shared goal: accelerating market exploitation of innovation in the field of advanced manufacturing – particularly among manufacturing SMEs – and thereby safeguarding Europe’s global leadership.
The Cooperation Agreement represents a significant milestone in the collaboration of the two associations and another important step towards a more integrated European Manufacturing Innovation Ecosystem.
Through the VI Pilot activities, VI member regions are well informed on the European manufacturing challenges. In the same way, VI regions know too well that the size and complexity of these challenges can only be met by joining forces. Indeed, the Vanguard Initiative has been for some years pioneering a new approach to support industry internationalisation and competitiveness by bringing regions, clusters and research institutes together to accelerate innovation and market uptake of those innovative solutions in several thematic areas.
As rightly put by Mrs María Ángeles Elorza Zubiria, Secretary General for External Action of the Basque Government…. “The signing will only be the first step. We have a lot of work ahead of us in order to translate our commitments on paper to a reality that benefits Europe’s manufacturing ecosystem in the years to come.”
And this is why Mr Zeljko Palzin, Executive Director of EFFRA, warmly welcomed the signing of this cooperation agreement as a starting point to jointly explore and identify synergies and complementarities, with the aim to assess opportunities and further elaborate the strategic collaboration which will be articulated around 4 key areas:
Mr Peter Droell congratulated the VI regions for their energy and sense of purpose towards strengthening the role of regions in the EU overall innovation ecosystem. He welcomed the Cooperation Agreement as a catalyst for more opportunities and engagement for the VI regions in relation to e.g. the European Green Deal, Horizon Europe, technology roadmaps for industrial transformation, etc.
As a next step, VI and EFFRA will set up in the next weeks a joint task force in charge of the definition, development, and assessment of an annual action plan that would implement the cooperation agreement.