CentraLab

  
  • Program: Central Europe - European Territorial Cooperation Objective
  • Duration: 1.5.2011 – 30.4.2014
  • Lead Partner: E-zavod (SI)
  • Project Consortium: 10 Project partners from 8 EU countries
  • Core Action: variety of 10 cross border pilot projects

 

 

 

CentraLab transfers the approach and methodology of the TN MED programme’s MedLab project to meet the needs and objectives of Central European regions, in an ambitious exchange of best practice between two of the more peripheral zones of European Territorial Cooperation. In so doing, the project aims to transform Central Europe into a broad-reaching laboratory for innovation, including the social and organisational as well as technological dimensions. CentraLab thus aims to clarify the competitive advantage of a new model of innovation that draws on Central Europe’s deep, common cultural heritage to strengthen territorial cohesion, promote internal integration and enhance competitiveness through reciprocal learning and partnership building.

CentraLab, like MedLab, is based on a promising approach that has emerged in the arena of ICT under the name “Living Lab”. In this model, technology R&D brings infrastructures into real-life contexts to enable a “co-design” process with end users. This method ensures greater relevance and faster time to market for R&D results, as demonstrated by the 212 Living Labs in the ENoLL network (www.openlivinglabs.eu). The specific objective of CentraLab is to apply the Living Lab approach transversally across a broad range of policy fields relevant to Central European regional development, constructing a multi-level governance network for a trans-national Central European Living Lab. It thus contributes to “enhancing the framework conditions for innovation” (Area P 1.1), particularly in the organisational and policy dimensions of a new methodological research infrastructure.

The main activities in the 36-month CentraLab workplan include:
  • A survey of the current potential for application of the CentraLab approach (innovation policies, on-going R&D, and development initiatives), developing a new policy framework that increases the knowledge economy component of regional development initiatives in a range of fields;
  • A coordinated set of trans-national pilot projects that build partnerships, specify ICT platforms and services, and co-design innovative approaches for ten issues of shared concern:
    • Eco-tourism,
    • Energy, 
    • Micro-SME Networks, 
    • Media & Creativity, 
    • Mobility, 
    • Environment & Education, 
    • Climate Change, 
    • Waste Management, 
    • Rural Development,  
    • eHealth; 
  • A strategic governance work package that defines a framework for multi-level Memoranda of Understanding building up to a Central European-wide charter for the long term governance of the CentraLab network.
 
The project's main strategic outcomes fall into three categories:
  • the R&D roadmap identifying the innovative ICT service requirements defined through the Living Lab approach;
  • the development policy implications derived from the concrete experiences of mixing R&D with local development initiatives; and
  • the governance models arising from the MoUs framing the pilot projects and their integration into the Central European-wide Living Lab.
 
A richly interactive web site and articulated set of Policy Briefing documents together with an aggressive media strategy and extensive calendar of events maximise the impact of CentraLab on citizens, private enterprises and public authorities drawn in to the Living Lab co-design processes throughout Central Europe.