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Of regional innovation strategies and cooperation in rural areas

On a beautiful autumn evening on September 17th representatives from education, innovation and regional development fields gathered to Tartu City town hall (pictured below) to listen of the experience of two internationally recognized regional innovation strategy (RIS) experts.

GRISI PLUS project regional dissemination event had brought to Tartu Dr Philip Cooke, founding director (1993) of the Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Wales, Cardiff and an appointed Research Professor at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development. And Mr Rob Heijligers, a seasoned developer and project leader for tourism-related initiatives in the Netherlands who is currently running LEADER and Regional Marketing programmes, coaching SME's and managing EU Harmonization Project Ukraine.

Approximately 60 participants, also outside from Estonia, had gathered to the event to hear about European experiences and also about local context. The latter was from where the event started. GRISI PLUS project manager Vaido Mikheim greeted the participants and gave overview of project results in South-Estonia and introduced future of regional implementation plan for Tartu region and Good Practice transferability options.

His speech was followed by Rob's talk about future of cooperation and his experiences in Netherlands and also in Estonia. Key message he delivered was to have synergy between different stakeholders, so that eventually projects start to grow by themselves and live their own life.

After Rob, Philip took the stage and gave a comprehensive overview of the elements of modern regional innovation strategies and their strengths and weaknesses. Namely conflict between current centralized and somewhat static models vs necessary „smart growth" and dynamic models that would consider regional needs and capabilities.

The event ended in lively discussion between participants on the topic where is the future of regional development and  how to get there in a healthy cooperative manner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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