Cultivating innovation in Upper Austria

Networking gives new lease of life to innovation in Upper Austria through the RIO scheme. By mobilising enterprises, research institutes, education establishments, public authorities and support service providers around five thematic networks, RIO has integrated effective innovative tools into the areas of human resources, research and technology, logistics, design and media, and rural development.

Additional tools

Networking provides a basis for advancing innovation at work Networking provides a basis for advancing innovation at work

“The human resources network held special events for entrepreneurs to discuss innovative HR tools and to strengthen the participating companies’ expertise in HR. Young people were also targeted to make them more interested in HR. This network is still up and running.”
Karin Schachinger, Marketing & PR officer, TMG

These tools were applied in 38 RIO funded projects, involving some 130 participants. The result was greater cooperation between the whole Upper Austrian innovation network that comprises institutions in the areas of R&D, technology transfer, education and innovation. The project has also fostered closer cooperation between schools and businesses leading to greater numbers of students following more technical professions, thereby overcoming one of the obstacles to innovation - the lack of skilled labour.

New skilled labour

The RIO concept was designed by the Upper Austrian Technology and Marketing Company to optimise the economic effect of innovation networks, institutionalise networking between business and support groups and to tackle the shortage of skilled labour in technical professions.

The human resources network fostered the introduction of innovative tools, such as e-learning tools and flexible working time models, to improve the quality of work and boost on-the-job satisfaction levels. The network was used as a platform for learning and placements were set up to encourage students to enter the profession.

The research, technology and innovation network focused on technology transfer between science and business. This raised awareness of the importance of cooperation with research institutes and of publicising the services these institutes can offer to businesses. New products were developed for high performance materials such as polymer nanocomposites which fuse metal and natural fibres.

Fostering cooperation

The 38 pilot projects funded by the RIO programme succeeded in nurturing collaboration between research, education establishmentsand businesses. More girls were encouraged to pursue technical careers. And, one pilot project brought a business and a university together to share material testing facilities.

The networks served to transfer skills to businesses via best practice events, newsletters and other forms of communication. Three of the networks are now self-sustained – human resources, design and media, and logistics. Clusterland Upper Austria Ltd hosts the secretariat of two of the networks, while a logistics association took over the logistics network.

Early stage involvement of all actors is characteristic of the RIO programme and one of the reasons for its resounding success.

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