Network of Service Providers for Eco-innovations in Manufacturing SMEs
ECOLABNET
 
PROGRAMME 2014-2020
priority
1 Innovation
objective
1.1 Research & innovation infrastructures

ECOLABNET

The project ECOLABNET helped manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises in bio-based materials, 3D printing, and other business areas to develop eco-innovations.
The challenge

A lack of strong ties between small and medium-sized enterprises and research centres hampers eco-innovations in the Baltic Sea region. In parallel, there is the untapped potential of a more cohesive combination and delivery of products and services. The ECOLABNET project sets up a network across the value chain of products that integrates product-service system designers, bio-based material researchers, 3D print technology providers, eco-branding specialists and business developers. By connecting research and business, the project triggers new business opportunities for enterprises that offer services and products manufactured in the spirit of environmental sustainability.

Service oriented approach

To tackle this challenge, the project partners intended to analyse the requirements of SMEs and business support organisations to introduce eco-innovations successfully. Based on that, the project created a list of competences and services in need, and developed methodologies for efficient cooperation between SMEs and research facilities.

Budgets

ECOLABNET
in numbers
  • 2.25
    Million
    Total
  • 1.80
    Million
    Erdf
  • 0.00
    Million
    Eni + Russia
  • 0.00
    Million
    Norway

Achievements

The ECOLABNET network

The ECOLABNET project established a transnational network of research, development and innovation (RDI) service providers and intermediary organisations to support eco-innovation in manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The ECOLABNET brought together partners from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. Thanks to the well-defined collaboration models, internally and externally, and strategies developed by the project partnership, the network has solid grounds to continue its operations after the project´s end. As an example, ECOLABNET produced three different user personas of intermediary organisations (IOs) working towards manufacturing SMEs: Promoter, Networker and Dealer. Different collaboration models were benchmarked in order to find existing good practices in the collaboration between RDIs, IOs and SMEs.

The collaboration patterns include the possibilities for joint planning and engaging research and development institutions, manufacturers and intermediary organisations. Meeting on yearly basis helps in creating further connections and presenting new research findings, demonstrations and innovations from which the network members can learn and benefit. Being a part of the network helps to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in eco-innovation. The network serves also as a matchmaking platform where the members can find business partners and customers, as well as share the information about their own products or services. The ECOLABNET network is continuously expanding based on an expansion plan and long-term strategy. The network is managed by a presidency, which is yearly changing and is agreed upon until the end of 2029.

Service packages

ECOLABNET provided access to expertise to eco-innovation in the following areas: bio-based materials, 3D printing, product design and development, marketing, environmental assessment, business strategy and eco-innovation management. On the project website, there is the information about the concrete examples and inspiring demo videos produced as a result of the collaboration between manufacturing companies and RDIs, check here.

Outputs

ECOLABNET governance model and action plan for long-term sustainability

The model describes the cooperation values as well as the structure of the network and its operating procedures. It sets the expertise requirements for potential members and the membership approval process. The action plan describes the strategic and operative actions for five years after the project´s   end. It also includes indications on membership and infrastructures, which are needed to support the network sustainability. The current members of the ECOLABNET network use these documents in planning, preparing and managing joint projects between research, development and innovation (RDI) service providers, SMEs and intermediary organisations.  New members of the network can use these documents for reference and better understanding of its work and how to join. The governance model and action plan make ECOLABNET network collaboration trustworthy and clarify the collaboration of SMEs with RDI service providers.

ECOLABNET Service Packages

ECOLABNET developed 32 different services, which are offered by the ECOLABNET network. By checking the service packages, SMEs and intermediate business support organisations can understand what services ECOLABNET provides, and in what way they can use ECOLABNET expertise and facilities for their eco-innovation needs. By checking the service packages, the intermediary organisations can get to know about ECOLABNET expertise and facilities. They can therefore support SMEs in identifying the relevant ECOLABNET service providers for their innovation activities and make the link between them. The services, which ECOLABNET provides, are grouped in 8 packages: Service Package 1 “Business strategy” (11 services); SP2 “Eco-innovation management” (5 services); SP3 “Bio-based materials” (10 services); SP4 “Product design and development” (14 services); SP5 “3D printing” (5 services); SP6 “Environmental assessment” (6 services); SP7 “Marketing” (6 services); SP8 “Other eco-innovation expertise”(9 services).

ECOLABNET Digital Collaboration Tool

The digital collaboration tool (DCT) is a digital meeting place where research and development institutions, intermediary organizations and small and medium-sized enterprises can virtually meet and work together. DCT is open to anyone looking for information on environmentally-friendly technologies, materials, products, as well as looking for expertise and services in the domain of eco-innovation. This includes also the effective use of human and technical resources. SMEs can use DCT to learn about how to gain support for their eco-innovation, what support and competences they need, how they can find suitable RDI partners and facilities. Intermediary organisations can use the tool to assist the SMEs they support in finding the right service providers for their specific needs and to learn about supporting sustainable innovation. The tool stimulates continuous transnational cooperation.

Project Stories

Partners

VAMK Ltd. University of Applied Sciences (Muova)

  • Town
    Vaasa
  • Region
    Pohjanmaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
419,347.50
63.095772221.6159187

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU)

  • Town
    Kaunas
  • Region
    Kauno apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
220,000.00
54.898213923.9044817

University of Tartu (UTartu)

  • Town
    Tartu
  • Region
    Lõuna-Eesti
  • Country
    Estonia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
246,455.00
58.39564534999999526.630885501668523

Czestochowa University of Technology (CUT)

  • Town
    Czestochowa
  • Region
    Częstochowski
  • Country
    Poland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
206,645.00
50.808999719.1244089281233

VIA University College (VIA)

  • Town
    Aarhus N
  • Region
    Østjylland
  • Country
    Denmark
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
318,250.00
56.223769310.1238136

Vilnius University (VU)

  • Town
    Vilnius
  • Region
    Vilniaus apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
207,000.00
54.687045825.2829111

Centria University of Applied Sciences Ltd (Centria)

  • Town
    Kokkola
  • Region
    Keski-Pohjanmaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
289,807.50
63.839142123.1336845

Labsamera MB

  • Town
    Kaunas
  • Region
    Kauno apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
67,000.00
54.898213923.9044817

Estrotech Ltd

  • Town
    Räni küla
  • Region
    Lõuna-Eesti
  • Country
    Estonia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
58,000.00
58.354877426.649128013561693

Lithuanian Business Confederation

  • Town
    Vilnius
  • Region
    Vilniaus apskritis
  • Country
    Lithuania
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
118,040.00
54.687045825.2829111

SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION LTD

  • Town
    Stockholm
  • Region
    Stockholms län
  • Country
    Sweden
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
96,100.00
59.325117218.0710935