The meeting took place at the NOI Techpark in Bolzano/Bozen, at the end of March 2023. The panel of international experts gathered to discuss the role of research and technology organizations in the implementation of the EU innovation agenda with a special focus on energy transition. The discourse not only covered the development of technical competences, but also the fundamental changes needed in innovation management.
EARTO represents over 350 research and technology organizations in 32 countries around the world, including some of the largest and well-known such as Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Germany, VTT Technical Research Centre Finland - the largest contract research organization in Northern Europe - TNO Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, CETMA European Research Centre for Technology Design and Materials based in Italy. Eurac Research, also a member, hosted this year's event at NOI Techpark.
The central theme of the meeting was the contribution of RTOs to the EU Innovation Agenda. High-level representatives from RTOs and industry, as well as European institutions, presented and discussed how RTOs can help Europe address the energy crisis in the short term and ensure competitiveness on the path to sustainable development in the long term. Eurac Research President Roland Psenner discussed RTOs role in regional innovation ecosystems for transformation towards sustainable economies citing the Sinfonia project , in which Eurac Research played a leading role and which over the course of six years, has improved the energy efficiency of 300 homes in Bolzano/Bozen. Stefano Corvaglia, Head of R&D and IP of the Aerostructures Division of Leonardo S.p.A., an Italian company and leader in aerospace, defence and security, spoke about the collaboration between RTO and industry, and how this can have a positive impact on innovative drive within companies.
Annika Gehrmann the human resources manager from the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft International delved into the new ways innovation management has the potential to increase European competitiveness. In order to retain top talent in Europe, she said, it is necessary to create new collaborative working conditions that provide clear added value: “When employees are heard and their contributions are valued, this strengthens corporate culture. Europe needs an innovation shift, now,” Gehrmann explained.
EARTO Annual Conference participants spent two days exchanging views on the latest developments in European research and innovation programs such as Digital Europe and Horizon Europe. “For Eurac Research and the NOI Techpark, the EARTO Annual Conference was a unique opportunity to present our research and innovation facilities to an international audience, to strengthen networks and enter into new collaborations,” explained Stephan Ortner, director of Eurac Research.
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