Network Expansion by Open Calls, an update by Work Package Two
Work Package 2 is about to expand the SmartAgriHubs ecosystem. The ambition is to match the available open call budget with other private and public funding and to support at least 70 new Innovation Experiments in the coming 3-4 years. The open calls will not run until next year. But preparations are in full swing. A Q&A with Harald Sundmaeker, Leader of Work Package 2, to bring you up to speed!
Q: What is the current focus of your Work Package, Harald?
“In preparation of the open calls we as a Work Package are actively involved in regional meetings to elicit requirements, needs and opportunities that we hope to support later on. This means that we are teaming up at workshops, hackathons and local events, providing materials and methods. We are especially focusing on support of Digital Innovation Hubs to help them mobilise new stakeholders, do matchmaking with funds and organize open calls”.
Q: We have heard you refer to hackathons quite a bit. Why are they relevant for DIH’s?
“We want to help DIHs to become stronger. In terms of the project: grow their service levels from 1 to 3. There are currently 28 Innovation Experiments (IEs), we aim to have 100 IEs at the end of the program. The DIHs are pivotal to this ambition. The hackathons are simply part of the process that DIHs can execute to function as a hub: supporting and expanding on the Hub, igniting new Innovation Experiments, attract new ideas, talent, partners and funding to the Hub and ecosystem. Hackathons are a very flexible format, which can be made suitable for different circumstances. But of course, hackathons are not the answer to everything. As a work package, we are evolving our thinking still. We are very much on the look out for interesting processes, formats and dynamics.”
Q: Can you help DIHs with organising hackathons?
“The DIH have a natural role as community organizers. From the SAH program, we support them from Work Package one, which is dedicated to ecosystem building. In addition, we try to advise how on top of these activities hackathons and other pre proposal activities could be prepared. In short, we have some capacity to help facilitate pre events, workshops, and actual hands on support doing hackathons (although limited!) and on line support through (webinars, toolkits, and a forum).
Recently we supported a North East Regional Cluster Meeting in Poznan. We had the opportunity to present our current ideas on the open calls, and also deep-dive the format of a hackathon as a means for DIHs to move forward on new innovation experiments. The second part of our workshop was dedicated to a peer-to-peer exercise, building on top of the collective intelligence available in Digital Innovation Hubs themselves.”
Q: So what is the plan for the rest of the year?
"On the one hand we will be actively involved in organize events. For instance, we will be supporting hackathons in Bulgaria (13-14 September) and Wageningen (26-27 October). Workshops are planned in Málaga and Thessaloniki Greece, in September. And we will connect to relevant events such as the FIWARE Summit in October.
On the other hand, we will be providing the methodology on how to organize events to collect local requirements until November this year, so that DIHs can organize their own events as well. You can use the Innovation portal or the SAH website to check for events or contact me."