GREBE attends NPA Annual Conference

GREBE Partners

Last week, the GREBE Project attended the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme Annual Conference and Lead Partner Seminar.  This meeting brought together approved projects from the first 4 calls in the NPA Programme.

The Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, and the Environmental Research Institute attended and met with other projects funded under the NPA programme, as well as the Joint Secretariat and Managing Authority. The meeting was hosted by the Joint Secretariat and Managing Authority on 20th & 21st September at the Marine Institute in Galway, Ireland.

The theme of this years conference is ‘Blue Growth’. The programme for the conference not only focuses on the Arctic, but also aims to contribute to the Atlantic Strategy. The conference will address such topics as entrepreneurship and innovation related to fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection and maritime and coastal tourism.

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NPA Annual Conference 2017 – Galway, Ireland

Marine Institute

The GREBE Project will attend the NPA Annual Conference 2017 which takes place in Galway on 21st September.  The theme of this years conference is ‘Blue Growth’.

The programme for the conference not only focuses on the Arctic, but also aims to contribute to the Atlantic Strategy. The conference will address such topics as entrepreneurship and innovation related to fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection and maritime and coastal tourism.

Galway located on the Atlantic coast is a fitting location. The venue is the Marine Institute, which plays a national coordinating role in the Atlantic Strategy.

The Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and the Environmental Research Institute will attend and meet with other projects funded under the NPA programme.

Information on the NPA Programme and conference is available here

GREBE publishes its fifth project e-zine

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The GREBE Project has published its fifth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

We held our 6th partner meeting in Narvik, Norway in June, and the Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, the Environmental Research Institute and the Natural Resources Institute attended the Arctic Project Clustering Event in Skelleftea, Sweden, organised by the NPA, Interreg Nord, Botnia-Atlantia and Kolartic Programmes.

Our partners in Finland and Norway held Industry Advisory Group meetings and to coincide with this, a policy workshop was organised by Narvik Science Park.  Our work is continuing on other project activities. Narvik Science Park has published a Report on Innovations from Local Technology and Business Solutions.  Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and we have started to roll it out in Finland and Scotland.  Full details are outlined in our e-zine which can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here

GREBE participates in the Arctic Project Clustering Event in Sweden in May

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The GREBE Project were pleased to be invited to participate in the Arctic Project Clustering Event held in Skellefeå May 10-11th 2017.  This event gathered more than 90 participants from the programme areas of Botnia-Atlantica, Interreg Nord, Northern Periphery and Arctic programme and Kolarctic CBC. The aim of the event was to find synergies between ongoing projects in the different programmes, share good examples and challenges as well as identify future cooperation possibilities.

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The event began with a presentation of Skellefteå held by Helena Renström, Marking Director at Skellefteå municipality, providing insight into the specific areas of interest and growth as well as development potential in Skellefteå.

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Nils Arne Johnsen, Arctic Director at Ramboll, gave an overview of what is meant by the Arctic and the special features and actors of operating in the area. Johnsen concluded that many of the challenges in the Arctic are also provide opportunities for investment and development.

The second day of the event Baiba Liepa, Project Manager at the Interact programme, provided a framework for territorial cooperation, the reasoning behind different programme types and how Interreg programmes and projects connect to overall goals of the European Union.

During the first day plenary session Ole Damsgaard, Head of Secretariat at the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme, presented the Arctic cooperation within which the four programmes come together to share knowledge, organise joint activities and combine resources to obtain greater impact. The second day representatives for all four programmes, Jenny Bergkvist, Programme Director at Botnia-Atlantica, Lena Anttila Programme Director at Interreg Nord, Marjaana Lahdenranta, CBC Expert at Kolarctic CBC and Ole Damsgaard presented the programmes in more detail. Similarities and differences were highlighted together with complementary goals that provide cooperation opportunities for projects implemented in the different programmes. The possibility to apply for financing for clustering projects was also announced by the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme.

The clustering of projects was organised through thematic workshops within E-health, Energy efficiency, Bio-sconomy and Entrepreneurship, to which selected projects and external guests from all four programmes were invited. The aim of the workshops was to present ongoing projects in the different programmes, find synergies and identify knowledge gaps and common interests.

The workshop within E-health was moderated by David Heaney, from Rossal Research & Consultancy. Common themes were connecting health prevention and detection to technology and data collecting as well as receiving input from SME´s in the field.

Michael Jalmby, ESAM, moderated the Energy efficiency workshop in which the importance of energy efficient and sustainable solutions for renovations were discussed together with existing gaps between knowledge and implementation of best practices.

The Bio-economy workshop was moderated by Ian Brannigan from Western Development Commission Ireland and Michael Doran from Action Renewables. Common themes were how to disseminate project results to ensure real impact and developing research findings into marketable solutions for SME´s.

The workshop within Entrepreneurship was moderated by Camilla Sehlin, Incita AB and discussed how to identify different needs of SME´s and deliver the right results as well as ways of bringing different types of companies together.

The workshop discussions were concluded at the end of the event to give insight into the outcomes of the different themes.

During the event a study visit was organised to the innovation house The Great Northern were Phil Hopkin, Business Community Manager, told about the history and ideology behind The Great Northern and how the identity of a region can be utilized in creating new opportunities.

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NPA funded GREBE and TARGET Projects meet at the Technology Festival of Northern Norway (TINN)

Target & GREBE
Norwegian project leaders, both from Narvik: Dr. Wei Deng Solvang (TARGET) and Fred R. Johansen (GREBE)

TARGET is a NPA-project designed to enhance the capacity of manufacturing companies to innovate and embrace new technologies – making regional manufacturing globally competitive. Partners of the TARGET Project were recently in Narvik to discuss how to deliver state-of-the-art technological supports to local businesses in the NPA-regions. This time, in collaboration with the GREBE project partner – Narvik Science Park at the  Technology Festival of Northern Norway (TINN). Partners concluded that renewable energy (GREBE) and digitalization (TARGET) represent two key factors in the global market competition.

Bulding regional competencies

Manufacturing in the NPA region has many important strengths. These include regional and niche specific competencies that are world leading in specific sectors unique to the region. However, the majority of manufacturing companies are predominately small in size and face considerable challenges like geographical isolation from major markets and a lack of the benefits offered by more populous and urbanised economic urban clusters. When combined with global trends that see a shift in manufacturing to lower cost and developing economics with rapid advances in new technologies, this means that support measures are needed to strengthen the manufacturing sector.

TARGETs Partners are:

  • South West College, Northern Ireland (Lead Partner)
  • UiT – The Arctic University, Campus Narvik – Norway
  • Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre, Ireland
  • Local Enterprise Offices Cavan and Sligo, Ireland

Target project

A collaborated competence platform

The focus area in the TARGET- project is to provide a toolbox to facilitate manufacturing companies´ application of innovation and embracing new processes and practices such as virtual and parametric design and simulation, reverse planning, modelling and 3D printing, remote monitoring and programming of NC machines and robots, 3D measurements, application of digital data and vision based quality assurance. Coupling these with key market analysis skills such as trending, testing and integrating products into a whole cycle of service delivery will build the competitive advantage and value of manufacturing firms. The key is to converge all of these technologies to produce an integrated, automated and highly efficient manufacturing environment – putting the knowledge economy into manufacturing.

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Global competitiveness

The TARGET project will develop supports to build future global competitiveness of NPA region manufacturers giving them a new influx of innovation, technology and novel processes. This will open up new and promising opportunities and reduce the competitive and knowledge gap through the introduction of new processes, techniques, knowledge and skill and will demonstrate the benefits to be gained through the application of these supports to position NPA manufacturing industries as world leaders in their sectors and building sustainable competitive advantage.

GREBE publishes its 4th project E-Zine

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The GREBE Project has published its fourth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

We held our fifth partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland in February, where we held a joint conference with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 and launched our online training and networking platform renewablebusiness.eu.

This e-zine will highlight details of our Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in the NPA & Arctic Regions, our report which identifies technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low and our Growth Strategy Guidelines for SMEs in renewable energy.

We also have details of four participating companies in our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland (MSL – McCrea Services Ltd., Moffitt & Robinson, Rowe Energy and Winters Renewables) and information on three more of our policy workshops.  To read our e-zine, please click here

GREBE reviews and analyses business growth strategies: A guideline report now available

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Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and micro-scale enterprises (new and established) have a key role to play in generating new employment in peripheral regions. However, from knowledge of local markets it is clear that only small numbers of SMEs are consistent in generating new employment opportunities i.e. they are successful growth enterprises. SMEs that are most successful are those that successfully deployed growth strategies to optimize their business activities.

The growth strategy guideline reviews successful business growth strategies for SMEs and micro-scale enterprises in the NPA regions and analyses how these can be adapted for application to the RE sector. Business growth strategies based on new RE and energy storage technologies are identified by a case-based approach. Successful strategies allowing for business growth in current or new domestic or international market areas are available for replication across the NPA area facilitating economic growth and improved market access of new RE solutions.

The guideline report introduces firstly the contexts of business growth and main types of growth strategies. Secondly, it provides a baseline of business growth issues, preconditions of growth and support needs, basing on a transnational survey for 70 business enterprises in the NPA region. Thirdly, it provides examples of the growth strategies in renewable energy and energy storage sectors. Finally, conclusions provide more generic guidelines for the business growth strategies in the sector.

The guideline report is available for download on the GREBE website here