THE iREGIONS PROJECT
An increasing use of the Internet worldwide and its penetration to virtually all spheres of life leads to a new form of society and of economy: the Net Society and Net Economy. New needs and challenges have emerged for research, business and industry: To be effective and to produce applicable results, research has to be tested, at least as a proof-of concept, in large scale environments. The increasing complexity of the innovation process requires a closer interaction between research and business. Businesses need to constantly adapt their products, skills and business models; they need therefore different partners and experts from diverse fields, able to work in interdisciplinary fields. New mobile technologies can overcome the digital divide and increase cultural, social and political participation and understanding.
However, security and privacy issues need to be carefully handled due to potential deployment for surveillance and control purposes. The iRegions proposal addresses those challenges by providing a strategy aiming at maximising the benefits of research infrastructures for regional economic development within the following ICT-based clusters: CYBERFORUM (Germany), KISTA SCIENCE CITY (Sweden), BALTIC INNOVATION AGENCY (Estonia).
The concept relies on following cornerstones:
- Living Labs will enable the iRegions to become pilot regions for the creation of new services, technologies and business models of the Net economy. A tight networking will allow strengthening the innovative capacity and efficiency of all involved parties.
- Leading edge projects will lead to the development of pioneering innovations and the creation of new markets.
- Ecosystems for growth will favour strong interaction between research, business and local authorities for the benefit of companies growth and economic development.