TWI Hellas Innovation Summit unites European tech community
Around 100 representatives from entrepreneurial, engineering-based SME companies and research and technology organisations (RTOs) gathered together in Athens, Greece recently for the TWI Hellas Innovation Summit, a 1-day conference focused on turning technology concepts into viable projects that meet industry needs, enabled by public funding.
Chaired by Panagiotis Chatzakos, Regional Manager for TWI’s Athens office, the Summit featured a series of thought leading, inspiring speakers who shared valuable insights into the future of European funding and what it takes to be become involved in, and successfully deliver, a publicly funded project as part of a collaborative consortium.
Jean-David Malo, Director (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation) of the European Innovation Council Task Force for the European Commission, was the conference’s keynote speaker and gave a presentation on ‘The Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot: support for top-class innovators’.
“With the EIC, Europe wants to support its innovators by detecting, nurturing, supporting and scaling-up breakthrough, market-creating and disruptive innovation, from the idea (‘Pathfinder’ scheme) down to market deployment and scale-up (‘Accelerator’ scheme).” said Mr Malo, going on to explain “The Pathfinder will provide grants to high-risk, cutting-edge projects implemented by consortia (possibly to single beneficiaries in Horizon Europe) exploring new territories aimed at developing radical and innovative technologies”. “The Accelerator will provide single start-ups or SMEs, carrying out disruptive innovation which are still too risky to attract private investments, with the necessary means to scale up through a mix a grant and finance (notably equity support), with the ultimate objective being to incentivise and attract private co- or subsequent investments.”
Guest speakers Franck Bourcier, Loiretech; Andrew Pomazanskyi, Nuromedia GmbH; Dr Radhika Gudipati, Shadow Robot Company; Julien Jost, ExUs; Celal Beysel, Floteks A.Ş; Jesus Antonio Jimenez, Innerspec Technologies; and Chinui Kim, Prometheus Connect Ltd each gave a presentation on their experiences of working with TWI and its Innovation Centres to move technology ideas from the submission phase through to project delivery. Technologies developed from European collaborations include: prototype tooling for subcomponents manufacture of wing winglets (aerospace); a prosthetic socket system with software integration including advanced sensing, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), embedded platforms and cloud computing (healthcare); an advanced robotic manipulator for inspection and packaging of fresh produce (manufacturing); advanced shearography kit with robotic deployment platform for onsite inspection of wind turbine blades (renewable energy); and an underground storage tanks risk mitigation system for petrol and fuel tanks (oil and gas).
Georgios Megas, Greek National Contact Point, gave a presentation on the Horizon 2020 programme, Enterprise Europe Network, and European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) funding and collaboration opportunities. “It was a pleasure presenting all the available EU funding opportunities to real hands-on innovators” reported Georgios, adding “Europe needs to take research a step further and TWI Hellas can really take this out to industry."
Tat-Hean Gan, TWI Director of Innovation and Skills, highlighted projects across the globe and showed how TWI’s Innovation Network is making a difference to industry with the National Structural Integrity Research Centre, Innovation Centres, Technology Acceleration Programmes and Private Technology Innovation Partnerships.
The Summit’s afternoon programme gave delegates the opportunity for a 1-2-1 innovation clinic with a member of TWI’s Technology Innovation Management team; specialists who focus on securing public funded projects in the area of engineering research and innovation, and to participate in facilitated H2020 topic discussions led by TWI’s Innovation Centres, looking at how technologies can be matched to funding themes, and sharing valuable knowledge and practical insights.
Tat-Hean Gan, TWI said “The TWI Hellas Innovation Summit provided fertile ground for like-minded, technology-based companies and organisations to network with each other and meet potential new partners for future collaborations. There was a clear synergy between delegates, guest speakers and TWI’s team at the conference which resulted in a rich generation of ideas and the identification of different ways to exploit new technologies to meet industry demand.”
“Following the success of this inaugural Innovation Summit, I am delighted to report that TWI’s Innovation Network (TWIIN) will be holding another Summit next year. Companies and organisations can keep abreast of developments by following the TWIIN website.” he added.