Successful R&I 2017 – Impressions

The importance of the “Successful R&I in Europe” conference series for Europe’s research and innovation calendar was substantiated once again in 2017 by the number of participants. Around 300 delegates from 26 countries attended the European Networking Event in Düsseldorf on the 2nd and 3rd of March: 50 % were entrepreneurs and 50 % were representatives of universities or research institutes. The fact that half the participants came from abroad confirms that the event answers a demand for networking platforms at international level.

Delegates had at their disposal an eCar shuttle service between Düsseldorf Airport and the impressive venue of Van der Valk Airporthotel.

The conference, which was organized by ZENIT GmbH on behalf of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, was opened by Minister Svenja Schulze, who said: “International events like this are very important for initiating new projects and an exchange of experience”. Keynote speaker was Dr. Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, Deputy Director-General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Brussels, who reported on some successful examples from Horizon 2020 which document long-term and sustainable growth.

The event was structured in thematic workshops and open networking sessions. Researchers previously selected within a call for proposals had the opportunity to present not only new ideas for future projects but also research results ready for commercialization: Some 110 pitches over the two-day event! Delegates profited from the opportunity for an exchange of experience as well as to meet new potential partners and – most importantly – initiate joint EU projects.

Topics were:

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
  • Energy
  • Nanotechnology, Materials and Manufacturing (NMM)
  • Sustainable Economy
  • Life Sciences
  • Transport
  • SME Instrument

In the framework of a parallel exhibition entitled “Innovations for Europe based in NRW”, a number of selected projects and initiatives in the area of Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) were presented.

The event benefited from extensive promotional activities undertaken by the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest business, technology and innovation support network in the world (over 600 organizations in over 60 countries), of which ZENIT is a partner in a consortium with NRW.BANK and NRW.International. Further assistance was provided by the National Contact Points in Germany, the clusters in North Rhine-Westphalia and a large number of organizations in this year’s partner regions of Belgium, Finland, France, Israel, the Netherlands and Poland.