Northern Connections

All partners in Northern Connections gathered for the third Transnational Working Days in Kiel

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Published by Rikke Schak Toustrup-Jensen

Paving the way for innovation

Making a one point entry in the cities on innovation partnerships and how to increase cities use of innovation procurement was some of the challenges discussed at the working days in Kiel. Discussing such concrete challenges and solutions across public and private sector opened the eyes of many participants and made it clear that in order for us to excell in innovation partnerships a higher degree of connection need to be made between cities and clusters.

And this is what we are doing in Northern Connections - this is what we will do in  the coming months when digging even deeper into the concrete solutions and tools for e.g. getting a legal overview of what is possible within innovation procurement, expressing specific energy challenges in the cities as business oppportunities in the Living Labs and for the companies.

As cities, we can pave the way for innovation with the right conditions, but we need to be able to express the challenge as innovation and business opportunities and not just as a specific solution we are looking for.  

But this is not enough. We also need political engagement and involvement to open our cities and regions for transnational innovation partnerships. Therefore we are also taking the first steps to a high level conference in Scotland in June and a political conference in Oslo in November. Before those events, each partner will engage their political level in a debate on how to be involved in transnational innovation and what we can do to provide good conditions for our companies. 

„Living Lab: Flensburg Fjord Region“

We also visited the Flensburg Fjord Living Lab and had a guided tour at the power plant in Flensburg to learn more about the green transition in the city. Flensburg is growing each year so there is a constant need for expanding the infrastructure for district heating. Right now, the power plant heats 98 % of the city, which is a very high number. They are planning to cut down on the use of coal so that in 2025 all of the fuel for the power plant will come from renewable energy sources. 

Furthermore, Flensburg is highly vulnerable to flooding so they have established the Klimapakt Flensburg that focuses on reducing CO2-emissions and be completely CO2-neutral in 2050. As an example, one of the goals are that by 2020 all electricity for public buildings should come from renewable energy. The city is very open to input from outside and learn from other cities and a link between the district heating/power plant in Flensburg and Aalborg has been made in order for them to share experience and challenges. So already a good result in the Northern Connections collaboration.