OIS-AIR: Building a transnational innovation network in the Adriatic-Ionian region

Through an international collaboration spanning six countries, this EU-funded project has set out to create a permanent transnational network to foster innovation, increase the region’s competitiveness and economic growth and boost its stake in research and development activities. The project is connecting innovation centres with SMEs, research institutes and other stakeholders in the region.

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The OIS_AIR project has set out to create a permanent transnational network to foster innovation and boost economic growth. ©Creative Commons The OIS_AIR project has set out to create a permanent transnational network to foster innovation and boost economic growth. ©Creative Commons

" Opening up to international collaboration with centres of excellence in research and innovation in the Adriatic-Ionian area as well as in the Western Balkans is a strategic priority for Area Science Park and for our regional innovation system as a whole, if we want to be competitive and attractive at the macro-regional level and beyond. "

Sergio Paoletti, Area Science Park President

Locally, seven innovation centres across the region and supporting institutional partners have combined forces to find SMEs with promising initiatives and opportunities. At transnational level, a dedicated online hub has been set up. This acts as a virtual environment to coordinate the OIS-AIR network of partners and stakeholders. Through the hub, research results are validated and matched with services SMEs in the region provide.

The hub functions as a marketplace for the transnational exchange of knowledge, technology and innovation. By combining local forces with a transnational network, OIS-AIR is creating durable links between enterprises, research and development (R&D) centres and research infrastructures, to turn validated research into business.

Funding innovation from the ground up

OIS-AIR is helping SMEs develop their projects with a dedicated proof-of-concept funding process. Promising, innovative projects jointly developed by research institutes and SMEs in the region are granted an innovation voucher worth EUR 18 500 each. 

The project has been boosting research and innovation internationally by organising discussions with policy makers and initiating collaborations between institutions, business sectors and universities. The companies and SMEs involved have benefitted from this exchange of knowledge, expertise and research.

OIS-AIR has defined four promising areas for future development, all of which characterise the region’s competitive advantages: transport and mobility, agro-bioeconomy, energy, and the environment. SMEs active in these sectors can access to the project’s international network of research infrastructures and facilities to increase their investment in research and innovation (R&I).

Research institutes and partners from Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Greece, Croatia and Albania have collaborated to identify and define the first macro-regional smart specialisation strategy for the region. 

Low investment in R&D, poor intellectual property protection and underdeveloped technology transfer have prevented the Adriatic-Ionian region from developing in the smart specialisation area. This is the background against which OIS-AIR was set up, to strengthen and consolidate the development of industrial and entrepreneurial activities in the R&I and R&D sectors.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “OIS_AIR - Establishment of the Open Innovation System of the Adriatic-Ionian Region” is EUR 1 563 496, with the European Regional Development Fund and IPA II Fund contributing EUR 1 328 971 through the “Interreg V-B Adriatic-Ionian” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Innovative and smart region”.


Draft date