The Innowater Conference ‘Europe’s next Supermodel: Innovation systems, internationalization and tools for the European Water Sector’ took place on June 19th 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark to mark the close out of this EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme funded partnership that involved partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Spain, Denmark and Cyprus and attracted stakeholders from the public sector, industry and academia. The central topic of the conference was the future for innovation in the European water sector, with a special focus on the nature of future cost effective support mechanisms to assist innovative businesses to reach the market. The lessons learned from the Innowater partnership provided a valuable insight in the development of new approaches to address the needs of a European Water industry which is increasingly operating within a global market place and losing access to traditional forms of public support.
The overall need for more frequent and more effective collaboration between industry, the knowledge base, institutional stakeholders and public sector agencies, particularly across inter-connected sectors, was emphasised. But it was suggested that future innovation support should see a shift away from provision of direct fiscal incentives towards more targeted interventions focused on the capacity building of innovating SMEs via the provision of specialist third party services, requiring the development of more creative and focused delivery mechanisms. In this new era of innovation, the calibre of the delivery agency will be critical: the need to be flexible and able to define an optimised delivery model that is readily accessible to SMEs; to provide connectivity with appropriate international networks and stakeholders; and critically ability to deploy experienced business professionals. Future frameworks need to be more directly informed by international market needs, and strongly predicated on collaboration and partnerships. The Innowater partners have defined the contours of such a new model for innovation support, placing the European water sector in the vanguard of ‘innovative innovation’.
You can find the presentations of the Conference here