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2014. 01. 23.I author: European Association of Development Agencies -

Progress of RIS in German Weser-Ems Region

Implementation has been prepared

The region Weser-Ems in the northwest of Germany with 2.5 million inhabitants and an area of 15.000 km² looks back to long and very successful experiences in terms of RIS. The first RIS, which was presented following an initiative and support of the EU, formed the fundamental basis for the development of the region until 2010. It is thanks to many dedicated actors from economy, science and administration that Weser-Ems is among the most dynamic regions of Germany today.

This broad regional involvement – bottom up – is perceived as the basis for success by the responsible persons. All 17 districts (Landkreise) and independent cities (kreisfreie Städte) of the region (NUTS III) have adopted the RIS without having any formal responsibility as a voluntarily binding framework of action. The state government of Lower Saxony (Landesregierung Niedersachsen) has accepted and reinforced this “local” approach recurrently.

With the start of discussions in Brussels about RIS3, Weser-Ems has looked into respective objectives and potentials with great depth and commenced a corresponding process of development. The active participation in the project Know-Hub has brought important inputs and the Regional Strategy for Smart Specialization “Cross-Linking Knowledge in Weser-Ems 2020” (“Wissensvernetzung in Weser-Ems 2020”) could be handed to the state government of Lower Saxony already in March 2013. It has been taken into account for the draft of the RIS3 of Lower Saxony as well as for the draft of the Operational Programme ERDF/ESF.

The second half of 2013 was used by the region for the development of an implementation plan for the four central objectives that have been defined in the strategy:

  • Cross-Linking Knowledge comprehensively in all fields of competence
  • Cross-Linking Knowledge in Vocational training
  • Cross-Linking Knowledge in Advanced Vocational Training
  • Cross-Linking Knowledge in Innovation promotion

Aligned to the three regional fields of competence bio-economy, energy and maritime economy these measures are each supposed to be implemented under the auspices of a strategy council. This process is complemented through the support of so-called knowledge hubs that bring together the most important actors in the respective fields of competence.

The implementation plan which the strategy councils aim to put into practice in 2014 comprises a total of 10 work packages and particularly the setup of so-called Master Plans for the three fields of competence. They are intended as a framework of orientation and action for regional actors and notably SME. Further measures include for example the compilation of an Inventory of Knowledge, a concept for the Marketing of Regional Competencies, the European Knowledge-Cooperation and the conception of Regional Foresight-Systems.

Thereby, the region feels optimally prepared to immediately start with the practical implementation of projects after the submission and approval of the programme planning documents for the ESI funds in Lower Saxony.

The statement by the Landesregierung at the end of 2013 to support Weser-Ems financially with the realization of the implementation plan has been valued by the CEO of the District of Ammerland (Landrat Landkreis Ammerland) Bensberg, spokesperson of the assembly of districts and independent cities in Weser-Ems. According to him it shows the outstanding acknowledgement for the work hitherto accomplished in the region. He regards the strategy councils as well as the knowledge hubs as highly motivated to continue their dedication for a further successful development.

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