Successful completion of Vanguard conference at Technology park Ljubljana

20. 12. 2017

Successful completion of Vanguard conference at Technology park Ljubljana

On Tuesday, 12th of December 2017 Technology park Ljubljana Ltd, with support of Republic of Slovenia Ministry of Education, Science and Sport; Ministry of Economic development and Technology and Government office for development and European cohesion Policy – Smart specialization coordination body, organized an International conference on opportunities for Slovenian stakeholders (mainly research institutions and companies) to be included in transnational S3 Initiatives as well as Vanguard initiative. The conference was entitled Opportunities for collaboration and growth of Research and Innovation stakeholders in S3 European thematic partnership and the Vanguard Initiative.

We have hosted over 80 participants from Slovenia and abroad: policymakers, research institution representatives, SRIP - Slovenian strategic and innovation partnerships, companies, intermediaries and established Slovenian and foreign experts. With international speakers: representative of European Commission Joint research secretariat and JRC S3 platform Aleš Gnamuš, Vanguard chair Valentina Pinna (representative of the Lombardy Region) and other speakers we presented activities within Vanguard and inclusion opportunities for S3 European thematic partnerships (EU TS3P).

So, what is Vanguard Initiative? Vanguard Initiative is joining 35 European regions, which are focusing in their Smart specialization strategies on advanced industries, modernization and technological innovations. Slovenia became a full member of Vanguard on the 22nd of November 2017, when 3 Ministries: Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, Ministry of Economic development and Technology and Government office for development and European cohesion Policy signed the Milan declaration. As Giacomo Copani stressed, Vanguard is presenting an opportunity to create channels, supporting companies to collaborate for faster product development and marketing of own services. Vanguard is enabling linking of stakeholders of the knowledge triangle, and the final objective of the Initiative is to set up pilot plants, which will in turn enable companies to develop products and services faster, whilst research institutions will be able to transfer knowledge into the industry.

This conference addressed the following fields:

  • Opportunities for collaboration of research and Innovation stakeholders in European thematic S3 partnerships and in the Vanguard Initiative;
  • The importance of the Vanguard Initiative for research institutions, companies, intermediaries and decisionmakers of all three Ministries;
  • Presentation of successful and sustainable pilot projects within Vanguard initiative, and possibilities for inclusion of Slovenian stakeholders,
  • Best practices of Industry 4.0 and commercialization of R&D processes;
  • Digitalization and introduction of smart processes and technologies into SME - an Initiative deriving from the Vanguard Initiative
  • Presentation of Slovenian Pilot plants and future Digital Innovation Hubs
  • Implementation of the Supranational Initiatives and cluster development
  • Presentation of the vision and future Greenomed and SMART-SPACE projects' activities.


The central part of the conference was in a form of a roundtable composed of Dr. Peter Wostner from the Government office for development and Regional Cohesion policy, Aleš Hančič from TECOS cluster, Iztok Lesjak from Technology park Ljubljana ltd., Giacomo Copani from ITIA-CNR Lombardy, Valentina Pinna – chair of Vanguard and Maja Ferlinc – Slovenian Business & Research Association. The roundtable was focused on understanding the impact and opportunities of the Vanguard initiative for companies, intermediaries and decisionmakers. Aleš Hančič stressed the need for immediate need identification and lack of time, resources and expertise in the field of the digitalization in companies. He sees Vanguard as an excellent opportunity for supporting companies by presenting networking and collaboration opportunities.

Valentina Pinna stressed that Slovenia has an excellent opportunity to be included in the Initiative and exploitation of its potential; however, within Slovenia partnership has to be consolidated and pilot projects need to be accessed quickly and actively. Iztok Lesjak stressed that in the past the premise was you do not exist if you are not present on the internet. Today the new premise is that it is of vital importance to be included in transnational value chains or the companies will not have opportunities to access global markets and fast development of products and services. In Mr. Lesjak's opinion the answer to this challenged is offered by EU TS3 partnerships and Vanguard initiative -  key initiatives being offered to Slovenian stakeholders. 

The main message of the conference is that information on inclusion opportunities and benefits of inclusion into S3 Thematic partnerships need to be spread among Slovenian stakeholders. As this is one of the main tasks of SRIP partnerships another event will be organized in January, with the task of stakeholders agreeing on next steps.

Technology park Ljubljana Ltd. is included in the digitalization and S3 thematic partnerships as a partner of transnational projects GREENOMED (financed by Interreg Mediterranean programme) and SMART-SPACE (financed by Interreg Alpine Space programme) which also enabled the implementation of the Conference. The GREENOMED project aims to transfer experiences and methodologies of the Vanguard Initiative onto the new regions, especially in the field of the Efficient and Sustainable manufacturing. SMART-SPACE project is focused on design of transnational Digital Innovation Hub and is creating as well as testing services for supporting companies, policymakers and intermediary organizations.