The innovation Alliance

The WIN team participated in the highly commended Innovation Alliance project the aim of which was to strengthen the collaborative “knowledge triangle”, between universities, SMEs and innovation support organizations. The project was a response to the problem of increasing fragmentation in the field of innovation promotion, especially the dislocation between those who generated knowledge that had the potential to spur innovation (HEIs), and those who could translate that knowledge into marketable strategies and use it to produce economic growth (SMEs). Since the SME sector accounts for 99% of all businesses in the East Transfrontier Region and provides two thirds of its private sector jobs and contributes more than half of the total value-added created by businesses region, the implementation of greater innovation in SMEs is vital to fulfilling not only the European unions objectives, but also those of a more equal and productive society with higher social and economic integration.

To achieve its goals, the EU Erasmus programme funded Innovation Alliance project:

– Set up of 4 Innovation Alliances in 5 countries across the European Union.

– Developed, piloted, published and promoted an open access, digital learning resource for European
SMEs, training them in the specific skills needed for engaging in innovation transfer with HEls and
Horizon 2020 projects

– Development, piloted, published and promoted a multimedia Comparative Study and Case Study
Guide for Innovation Transfer presenting cost effective solutions for transmitting relevant HEI
research to SMEs

The Project demonstrated the value of inter-agency and cross-sectoral co-operation as a key feature of the knowledge economy, with the potential to reshape traditional roles by multiplying outlets for HEls to generate direct economic impact from their work, and break down barriers so that SMEs of all shapes and sizes could actively implement academic-based innovation to boost their own competitiveness, and that of the wider economy.