Free eDIGIREGION ‘Sustaining Regional Innovation and Growth Through Partnership’ conference at WIT Arena March 8 and 9
INDUSTRY leaders, academics and government agencies from Waterford and beyond who’ve developed an international model of best practice to stimulate critically-needed regional development across Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Romania, are to present their findings and debate ways of sustaining such cross-agency co-operation and growth at a free conference which is spearheaded by Waterford Institute of Technology, WIT.
The international event at the WIT Arena on March 8 and 9, will be of particular interest to those in Waterford and beyond involved in sectors such as agriculture and digital media, pharmaceutical, medtech, advanced manufacturing as well as ICT in tourism, the organisers say.
The eDIGIREGION ‘Sustaining Regional Innovation and Growth Through Partnership’ conference includes workshops, networking opportunities, briefings and inspiring addresses from partners in the highly-regarded EU programme which is being led by WIT. A recent ICT brokerage event run by the partners in Dublin, drew support from IDA Ireland as well as major industry leaders which included Microsoft and Fujitsu.
Organiser, Prof. Bill O’Gorman of WIT, said a panel of influential international speakers and partners in the highly-successful FP7-funded initiative will share their regions’ experiences of stimulating regional innovation and developing regional partnership models.
Delegates will also hear about the implementation of the South East Action Plan for Jobs and from those targeting the growth of specific industry sectors in the region. The free conference also explores how industry and research institutions can better collaborate to deliver innovation that meets industry needs, he said.
“WIT is at the forefront of regional development and developing a long-term, sustainable environment where regions will prosper and thrive. We have delivered on our goals in eDIGIREGION and this has been well recognised from an EU perspective.
“We, the academics, are driving this. But it is critical that industry leaders and drivers have their input. The four workshops we’re running are heavily industry focused. We can’t develop an industry-fit curriculum without the input of the industries in our regions, be they agriculture or digital media, pharmaceutical, medtech, advanced manufacturing or ICT in tourism. We’re not just looking at addressing gaps now but also making sure we meet the industry needs of the future.
“We need to work together now to put in place the partnerships, so we can shape policy and shape academic delivery to ensure that we can sustain the long-term vision of this process,” Prof. O’Gorman added.
Guest speakers over the two days include WIT President, Prof. Willie Donnelly and the Institute’s Head of School of Business, Dr Tom O’Toole. Dr. Peter McLoughlin, VP for Research and Innovation, WIT, also addresses delegates on the first day. Industry experts include Sean Molloy, Director of Strategy with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland.
Among the international speakers are Lena Tsipouri of the Research Innovation and Science Expert Group. ‘A New Geography of Innovation’ will be discussed by Jakob Stoumann, Oxford Research, Denmark. The whole area of the societal implications of the diversity of innovation will be debated by Prof. Ulrich Hilpert, University of Jena, Germany.
Sean McKeown, Director of the South East Action Plan for Jobs, will outline current activities of this national and regional initiative. The conference will also feature workshops focusing on areas such as how industrial doctorates benefit industry; how to address industry needs in Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) curricula; the digital transformation of industry and funding the innovation lifecycle.
The WIT conference is the fourth international conference hosted by the FP7-funded eDIGIREGION project. It presents and debates a series of methodologies, frameworks and processes that have been used to develop these types of partnerships in the project’s four partner regions – South East Ireland, Castilla-la Mancha (Spain), Central Hungary and Bucharest-Ilfov (Romania)
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