EIF program guidelines for 2023
After the strategic session on January 10, the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance started detailing programs and action plans for certain key areas of activity. Innovative fundraising, as one of the most successful and promising areas of UСA activity (see the detailed report), was considered by the participants of the January 13 meeting. This publication contains the main conclusions and decisions of the meeting for the participating experts and EIF program participants.
The current state, results of 2022 and directions of development for 2023 can be found in the presentation of UCA project office head Oleksandr Yurchak.
1. Strengthening of the Project Office (PO) at the level of UCA
In 2022, the Project Office entered the mode of detailed monitoring not only of innovative development projects, but also of so-called “general purpose” projects. Filters have appeared on the marketplace, allowing you to quickly choose your grant depending on the industry, sector or technology. The main strategy remains the same – we work within the framework of a collaborative model, and in which specific tasks for innovation cycle are well distributed between performers in the software itself, Experts of the Analytical Center and 2 DIHs (technology brokerage), as well as UСA clusters coordinators. In 2023, we are considering the following tasks together:
- Constant monitoring of the grant space and introduction of the most relevant grants to UСA brokerage and matchmaking platform. Regular filling of projects, their better structuring and unification into one form remain the main task of the teams for 2023.
- Expansion of monitoring funds. In innovative fundraising, we focused in 2021-22 mainly on the I4MS/Horizon fund, whose contact point in Ukraine is APPAU. From the middle of 2022, we began to pay attention to other funds, in particular Horizon Europe, and in November we raised questions about insufficient monitoring of grants in Ukraine. Now these loopholes are being closed. We also plan to significantly increase monitoring of dual-use and defense technology funds.
- Better cooperation in working groups, including cross-project ones with the development of leadership in areas of technology or applications. For example, a small boost will now go to the DIH² project on robotics, but in general, the direction of development road maps in a technological direction is long overdue in the technologies of artificial intelligence, management of production assets, cyber security, dual-use technologies (primarily drones). APPAU calls on the members of the I4.0-5.0 community to cooperate in permanent working groups, as determined at the strategic session of the Industry4Ukraine platform in October 2021.
- UCA PO also undertakes to find funding for the work of experts, technology brokers, who are engaged in education: market education, consulting on innovation grants, as well as preparation of grant proposals. In December, a grant application was prepared and submitted to one of the donors.
2. Consolidation of “Business-Science-Education” partnerships
Better cooperation of DIH KPI experts with members of the APPAU community is the main achievement of 2022. We proved and showed how University experts can effectively interact with SMEs: developers, integrators and industrial enterprises. From the side of APPAU and the 4.0 community, about 40 participants were involved in these processes, from the side of KPI – 20 experts. And we have a result – almost 1 million grant funding for Industry 4.0 projects.
However, this model remains exclusive to the APPAU-DIH KPI pair. Separate lines of contact with the DIH of KAU have not yet turned into regular cooperation, there is also a positive example with Center 4.0 from KAI (AviaCore4.0 project), but with regard to other universities or research institutes, we observe complete silence here. Thus, our model captured, conditionally, no more than 5% of the cooperation potential that we see in UCA between a good dozen universities and research institutes and hundreds of UCA SMEs. Accordingly, the main tasks for 2023 are the following:
- Significant strengthening and increase of matchmaking activities, both internal and external. 2022 has shown well that close familiarity of experts from both sides, from universities and developers, is a key success factor. The better the parties know each other, the more often they meet in appropriate formats, the more chances there are for effective cooperation. Thus, in 2023 we should increase the number of matchmaking meetings and improve their quality. The direction of better compliance of this matching according to criteria of belonging to certain technologies, industries and applications is obvious.
- Scaling of the APPAU-DIH KPI model to other “cluster-university” pairs and directions of action. In particular, already in the first quarter, new concrete cooperation agreements are planned for signing between UCA, its Resource Centers and individual clusters with DIH KAU, Lviv School of Startups, Sikorsky Challenge, Zaporizhzhya Polytechnic, other universities, institutions and government organizations. A number of cooperation agreements are also planned in the dual purpose technology cluster initiative. One of the directions of these agreements is better consolidation in development of new project initiatives for international cooperation both in development of innovation ecosystem of Ukraine and in integration of Ukrainian enterprises into the EU innovation space and value added production chains. These proposals should be voiced at the Ukraine-EU cluster forum in Slovakia in March 2023.
3. Institutionalization in industrial sectors’ innovative ecosystem
The task in this area concerns alignment and consolidation with state policy-makers. The situation of “circular firing squad” is becoming less and less acceptable for the actors of the innovation ecosystem in industry. Even in the absence of separate state-level policies (industrial, innovative, digital, etc.), we can cooperate much better in certain directions, which are essentially the basis of these policies and are subject to rapid synchronization with the European course.
- Consolidation of APPAU with KPI and other institutions for joint lobbying of Industry 4.0-5.0 to ministries and agencies. Ukraine remains on the periphery of European policies and programs of innovative industrial development, and the situation needs to be quickly equalized, because the Recovery program refers to certain directions of industrial development, and the government declares the digital and green course as mandatory. At the same time, the government lacks understanding and competences of what and how to change, from educational or innovation ecosystems to specific road maps of digital transformation at the industry level. Therefore, market actors themselves and advanced universities, scientific research institutes should be more active and consolidate around the relevant priorities.
- In expansion of the DIH network (and similar projects are planned by individual donors), APPAU, the European Innovation Agency, DIH KPI, DIH KAU, Lviv School of Startups at the Lviv Polytechnic should take the lead in terms of directions and specific tasks for implementation of effective DIH models at universities. The special attention should be paid to ongoing project as DIH² where (through APPAU) there are a number of opportunities, Thus direction should also be the focus of our attention in negotiations with a number of European institutions.
- UCA also expects changes from the universities themselves – allocation of separate structures at large universities, which have a dedicated staff for working with SMEs according to the DIH model, is a subject of management decisions at the universities themselves. A number of universities (Poltava, Odesa) have already shown how to do it, so these expectations are not unfounded.
These proposals are subject to detailing, setting of specific goals and KPI and coordination at the level of UCA community and Industry 4.0 partners, and will be finally approved at a joint conference on February 7 in Kyiv.