Community4Innovation will help promote sustainable development in the Mediterranean region

The project will consolidate new cooperation routines between actors, also thinking about the relationship between the North and South Mediterranean

The Community4Innovation project, coordinated by the BETA Technology Centre of the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), has been launched with the aim of building and strengthening a cross-border cooperation network throughout the Mediterranean area, to promote the achievement of sustainable development objectives in this region. This project, funded by the European Union’s Interreg EuroMED programme, will provide continuity to the work carried out between 2016 and 2022 by the Green Growth Community, also coordinated by the BETA TC, as well as other similar initiatives.

The first meeting of the project took place yesterday Tuesday afternoon at UVic-UCC and was attended by Miquel Royo, secretary of Acció Exterior of the Generalitat de Catalunya; Malu Calle, dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering of UVic-UCC; and Sergio Ponsá, director of CT BETA.

Ponsá explained that this “is a different project, because it brings together the work of six years of work and because it is linked to the same history of the BETA Technology Centre, we can say that we have grown together”. He also said that it is “a pleasure and an honour to be able to coordinate this project, although it is also a great challenge, as everyone has high expectations”.

Calle commented that the Community for Science project “wants to be, is and will be an example and a real model of this evolution of European research in the Mediterranean arc”. In this regard, he stressed that the BETA Technology Centre has already coordinated and coordinates projects funded by various European programmes and focused on this region. “This has put UVic-UCC and the city of Vic on the map in a remarkable way and in many areas of the region,” he said.

Royo referred to the commitment of the government of the Generalitat to the Mediterranean Euroregion for thirty years, promoting strategic programmes. In this regard, the Secretary for External Action stressed that the Mediterranean region has often been ignored by people who do not belong to it. “We are a fragile and vulnerable community that shares the same human and economic ecosystem. The government wants to promote networks and projects that connect us with our neighbours and build bridges between cultures. However, Royo said that we have to work on how to achieve this and how to put it into action.

A project with a long view

The project will work towards a number of very specific goals, such as the creation of a “Mediterranean Innovative Sustainable Economy Hub”, a multi-sectoral space to support innovative initiatives. It will also serve to promote new knowledge exchange and mentoring programmes, and to channel direct contributions to some new policy-making processes. It will also focus on the creation of educational content and courses, the development of catalogues of innovative practices and the collection of good practices in the field of the circular economy.

In the long term, Community4Innovation aims to help consolidate new cooperation routines between actors, also thinking about the relationship between the North and South of the Mediterranean. It should be noted that it will work alongside the Dialogue4Innovation project, a project led by the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, which will have a complementary approach and which will involve the participation of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

The Community4Innovation consortium, which has 10 partners from Spain, Italy, Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium, France and Bulgaria, hopes to make a qualitative leap in the coming years in terms of its capacity to promote the transfer of new practices to other actors and territories in the Mediterranean region, so that they can be properly integrated into new policies and strategic documents.

The Community4Innovation project takes up the experience gained with the Green Growth Community, which has worked to promote the green and circular economy in the Mediterranean region, helping to create synergies between 17 projects grouping 165 entities from 13 countries. In 2019, its activity was recognised by the Union for the Mediterranean for its potential to increase the capacity for cooperation in the transition towards a green, circular and inclusive economy.