In the framework of ROP Centro 2007-2013, a number of measures were funded in order to promote the use of innovative technologies to improve products and processes in industry. For instance, in the context of incentive measures addressed to companies to foster RTD, innovation and modernisation activities (“SI I&DT”, “SI Inovação” and “SI Qualificação”), about 2,200 projects were supported during that period.
Within the new ROP Centro 2014-2020, measures that are particularly addressed to companies (e.g. Incentives System for Research and Technological Development, Incentives System for SMEs Qualification, and Productive Innovation for large companies and SMEs) support actions such as development of new products and processes, new organisational models, ICT development, energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, enhanced environmental performance, better waste management, noise reduction, use of eco-efficient technologies etc.
Furthermore, within the main areas (i.e. innovation platforms) selected under RIS3 Centro, support to advanced manufacturing is present in more than one platform. For instance, in the framework of the “Sustainable industrial solutions” platforms there are two priority items for investment clearly related to this concept: i) optimisation of industrial productivity through the development of advanced production technologies to support manufacturing, efficient use of resources and materials, and decarbonisation of production processes; and ii) development and use of materials through the recycling of industrial waste, design of new materials and new usages for agro-forestry materials.
Another example can be found under “Innovation platform 3 - Quality of life technology”. Here it is aimed to boost digital industry so as to help create a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy that strongly influences the manufacturing sector to operate in an efficient way. It is aimed for instance to develop mechanisms for remote access to new devices and platforms, making use of technologies used on the Internet; leverage opportunities associated with cloud computing and the Internet of Things; create integrated systems for optimised networks management; and develop cyber security systems.
In addition, clusters based in the region are also contributing to advanced manufacturing sector. This is the case of the clusters in the fields of agro-industry, and economy of the sea, engineering and tooling, sustainable habitat, chemical industry, forestry and ICT that are based in the region.
The region encompasses a number of research and technological infrastructures that provide a wide range of services to industry such as promotion of new products, processes and services; development, test and demonstration of production processes; and new production technologies. These infrastructures include Institute Pedro Nunes (IPN) – Association for Innovation and Development in Science and Technology; CENTIMFE – Technology Centre for Moulds Industry, Special Tooling and Plastics; CTIC – Leather Technology Centre; and CTCV – Glass and Ceramics Technology Centre. Furthermore, research targeted at process innovation in regional factories and technology transfer is also undertaken at some of the above mentioned entities, as well as at the main universities based in the region (University of Coimbra, University of Aveiro and University of Beira Interior) and at Biocant – Biotechnology Innovation Centre.
Taking into account RIS3 Centro, the following two priorities related to industrial modernisation can also be related with the thematic areas included in the Smart Specialisation Platform for Industrial Modernisation:
- Efficient use of natural resources (related to ADMA Energy);
- Sustainable industrial solutions (related to Efficient and Sustainable Manufacturing).