9 - Networks, clusters and technology parks

9.3 - Creating a website specialising in the exchange of information


There are a number of barriers which have traditionally hindered collaboration between academic researchers and companies. These include insufficient mutual awareness or understanding between the parties, and the lack of a real or virtual space in which agents can interact. In order to overcome this problem, we propose the creation of specialised online platforms which are structured around specific thematic groups and subgroups, and are aimed at companies and university research groups working in each particular area. This would help to replicate the Knowledge and Innovation Communities model (KICs) which is being promoted at a European level, albeit on a smaller scale in terms of geographical territory and scope.


InnoEnvi (Finland)

Finnish companies operating in the environmental sector are internationally recognised for their experience and knowhow. However, most of them tend to be relatively small and find it difficult to expand. In response to this the InnoEnvi project was set up in order to help them find new business opportunities and increase their potential. Funded by the European Commission between 2002 and 2004, it grouped different environmental agents into specialised groups and subgroups (clusters and mini-clusters) and has led to the implementation of more than 50 new projects.

To promote the generation of knowledge and foster business cooperation, a platform was created which included over 700 interconnected companies and allowed them to interact with some 6,000 organisations from different countries through international websites. This enabled them to actively exchange experiences and information concerning the environmental sector on a continuous basis. The number of companies connected through the platform has increased significantly. The work developed by InnoEnvi includes: conducting market research and studies of new trends; designing strategic plans; publishing brochures (such as Green Net Mining) and other publications; implementing marketing strategies; and organising trade fairs or road shows.

The specialised themes around which mini-clusters have been formed include: water management; water supply and treatment; energy and environmental measurement; ecological research; and environmental management in the mining industry. This division into specific areas has permitted the various members of each of the subgroups to implement numerous different joint projects. Moreover, these groups offer SMEs the opportunity to make use of the resources and experience of large companies, centres of excellence and research, and national and international NGOs (via access to qualified personnel, infrastructure, etc.). 

Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs): Climate-KIC, KIC InnoEnergy y EIT ICTLabs

The KICs are highly integrated partnerships which bring together the most highly qualified experts from the university, research and business communities to work on a number of different issues such as combating and adapting to climate change (Climate-KIC), renewable energy (KIC InnoEnergy) and the information and communication society of the future (EIT ICT Labs). Their essential objective is to produce new models of Innovation which inspire others to follow their lead and become key players in the search for sustainable economic growth and competitiveness throughout Europe. The first three KICs were established by the European Institute of Technology in 2009.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

The implementation of these solutions requires the involvement and commitment of companies operating in the same sector, working in conjunction with universities.

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  1. http://eit.europa.eu/ - Creation of KICs: Knowledge and Innovation Communities.
  2. http://www.greennetfinland.fi/en/index.php/ - Main_Page GreenNet, Finland.
  3. http://www.innovationgrowth.co.uk/- South East Business Innovation & Growth.