Bringing business and R&D together in Lower Austria

RegioStars 2012 FinalistThe Technopol programme in the Lower Austria region is transforming public and semi-public research and development (R&D) facilities into centres of ‘technology-oriented business’ which will attract companies and link together R&D and enterprise.

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The strategy of the Technopol programme has been to create a critical mass of innovative companies, higher education organisations and R&D facilities, all located in the same place and sharing a clear thematic focus. The programme’s goal is not only to generate new technological knowledge but also to help put this know-how to work for business and to strengthen the economy of Lower Austria.

Since 2004, the Lower Austria region has been engaged in a transformation of its regional economy from a rural area to a high-tech and innovation-friendly one. A key part of this strategy has been the establishment of technology concentrations or ‘Technopols’ to bring together business and the research community so as to drive the structural change of the Lower Austrian economy.

Creating clusters where there is competitive advantage

The Technopol programme is an integral part of the Lower Austria regional innovation strategy and is co-financed by the EU under the ERDF regional competitiveness and employment objective. In addressing the innovation needs of companies in the region, a key strategic issue has been to create clusters in the areas where the region has a competitive advantage.

Three locations targeting different technology sectors were selected:

  • Technopol Krems for medical biotechnology;
  • Technopol Tulln for agro-biotechnology and environmental biotechnology;
  • Technopol Wiener Neustadt for modern industrial technologies.

A further location, Wieselburg, which specialises in bioenergy, agricultural and food technology, is currently being evaluated for inclusion in the Technopol programme.

Building bridges between the economy and universities

The overriding objective of the programme is to build bridges between the economy and universities. This is achieved by encouraging open innovation involving companies, researchers, students, and other relevant stakeholders.

The programme gives support to the applied research carried out by R&D institutions and makes existing problem-solving expertise available to the commercial sector. The services provided by the Technopols are carried out in close cooperation with other regional service providers for innovation and technology transfer, such as clusters, funding agencies, technology centres, and other regional and national agencies.

An impact study carried out in 2010 showed that the gross value added effect produced by companies located at the Lower Austrian Technopols can be valued at around EUR 191 million. Of this, just over EUR 119 million, or 62 %, has benefited Lower Austria directly, while around 30 % has benefited foreign countries and 8 % other Austrian provinces.

With the Technopols directly employing a total of 1 386 persons in 2009, this successful programme can certainly be seen as one of the cornerstones of the Lower Austria regional innovation strategy.

Total and EU funding

The “Technopol programme Lower Austria” project has a total eligible budget of EUR 6 192 361 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 738 336 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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