Vanguard Initiative for New Growth through Smart Specialisation (Vanguard Initiative) is a unique, organisation aimed at supporting the resurgence of industry in the European Union through economic cooperation in areas of smart specialisation. The initiative was launched with the participation of Małopolska Region. Its main objective is to support economic development and employment in its member regions through interregional cooperation at European level. Currently, the Initiative brings together 32 regions from the European Union, with Małopolska Region being the only representative from Poland and Central and Eastern Europe.
The Initiative works to strengthen industry through, among other things, the development of strong clusters that cooperate in areas of smart specialisation in different EU regions and countries. Such cooperation is expected to lead to a synergy of potentials, the strengthening of regional smart specialisations and the transformation of regional clusters into European ones, operating in the most innovative EU industries. The burden of cooperation within the Initiative lies with companies, research institutions and clusters. Five pilot actions are currently being implemented under the Initiative: Bioeconomy, Efficient and Sustainable Manufacturing, High-end Manufacturing through 3D Printing, Advanced Manufacturing for Energy Applications in Harsh Environments and New Nanotechnology-enabled Products.
BERRY+ is a new interregional smart specialisation partnership targeting regions committed to innovation. It was inaugurated in November 2020 and its geographical scope and content remains under development. The three key objectives underpinning BERRY+ are to seek to foster interregional investment, to integrate the innovations occurring in the partners into existing or new value chains, and to establish an interregional cluster focused on the processing of renewable natural resources. Małopolska Region is the only region from Central Europe which is part of the current 11-partner agreement. The decision to cooperate was taken due to the common interests with the BERRY+ thematic areas in relation to smart specialisations, which were identified in the key assumptions of the Regional Innovation Strategy of the Małopolska Region 2030.
The activities undertaken under the initiative are primarily related to the processing of renewable natural resources and their derivative products for high value-added applications. Due to the prioritisation of activities that do not adversely affect the environment, the BERRY+ agenda is geared towards the development of a closed-loop economy and support for clean production technologies. Participation in the partnership will enable entities from Małopolska Region (such as entrepreneurs, research units, business environment institutions) to establish international contacts, implement joint R&D initiatives, project cooperation, interregional investment in innovation, as well as joint development and exchange of experience in the implementation of strategic assumptions related to innovation growth.
A network created to support regions to participate more fully and effectively in the ERA (European Research Area). It promotes the exchange of knowledge, joint activities and partnership projects between its members in order to strengthen the network's partner regions in research and innovation. The network achieves its objectives by organising regular thematic workshops, seminars, briefings on announced calls for projects and information 'exchanges' for regional practitioners to seek project partners.
The NEREUS Association has been active since 2007 and is the only thematic network in Europe that represents the interests of European regions using space technologies. The key role of the Association is to explore the benefits of space technologies for European regions and their citizens, and to promote the use of space and its applications. NEREUS carries out its activities as an international not-for-profit association that is funded solely by the annual membership fees of its members. The network pursues its objectives by, among other things, organising conventions, research seminars and educational activities for the benefit of its members, and by promoting and educating the public about the potential and benefits of space.
There are currently 22 European regions among the full members of the NEREUS Association, such as Abruzzo, Puglia, the Azores, Baden-Württemberg, Basilicata, Bavaria, Brittany, the East Midlands Region, Emilia Romagna, Bremen, Hesse, Madrid, Mazowieckie Region, New Aquitaine, Occitania, Piedmont, Podkarpackie Region, South Holland, French Guiana, Tuscany, Veneto and Wallonia.