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

ECOLABNET

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 untapped potential of implementing sustainable strategies in business, the example of which is a cohesive 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 in order to drive sustainable eco-innovations, e.g. in medical diagnostics and electronics.
Project summary

Introducing sustainable innovation is a driving competitiveness factor for an increasing number of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) around the Baltic Sea. However, access to the relevant services and expertise on eco-innovations is still not sufficient. The project ECOLABNET sets up a network of research facilities to better support SMEs in the Baltic Sea region in implementing environmentally friendly innovations. The areas of focus in the project are bio-based materials, additive manufacturing/3D printing, product service system design, life cycle assessment, eco-branding and sustainable business model development. By creating a closer link between 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

The ECOLABNET network consists of eleven partners from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. The project partners analyse the requirements of SMEs and business support organisations to introduce eco-innovations successfully. Based on that, the project creates a list of competences and services in need, and develops methodologies for efficient cooperation between SMEs and research facilities. ECOLABNET demonstrates its capabilities to SMEs in practice by developing several prototypes of products that can be used e.g. in medical diagnostics and electronics.

Budgets

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

Highlights by mid-term

The project assessed the awareness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of sustainable innovations that concern product development alternatives, such as bio-based materials, 3D printing and life cycle assessment and eco-branding. All in all, the project received 296 replies from SMEs to a questionnaire and conducted interviews with 29 SMEs. The results pointed out that SMEs show high-motivation but lack knowledge about key questions, for instance concerning material development.

In parallel, the project assessed the awareness of eco-innovations in intermediary organisations (IOs) working with manufacturing SMEs through a questionnaire (108 replies) and interviews (28 IOs involved), which stressed the crucial role that IOs have in supporting SMEs: for networking, access to information and resources, commercialisation.

As a result, EcoLabNet produced three different user personas of IOs: 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 project identified suitable service types and service ideas for SMEs and IOs. The service ideas were further developed into service journeys. EcoLabNet selected five prototype idea, which are eco-innovative and interesting from a market perspective: mould for composite, dental model, chocolate box, medical parts, embedded biocatalyst. The development work has started, involving also companies outside the project partnership.

Outputs

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