Overview, background, rationale, aims, content and results
The Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is one of the most dynamic regions in Europe in regard to innovation and competitiveness. BSR heads with many initiatives the global strive for environmental and economical sustainability and is home of world leading life science clusters. Based on well established scientific and cluster competences a transnational network of Eco4Life contact points will be initiated and established to boost the eco-/ life science based economy in the South Baltic region and to catch up with established and successful regions in the North Baltic. By establishing regional contact points with networks of experts in science, economy and administration the transfer and exchange of regional competencies between the partner regions shall enable the regions to reach critical mass in academic, financial and personnel resources to survive and flourish in global competition.Life sciences and bio-/eco-economy are characterised similarly by intensive academic input (medicine, biology, bio-chemistry, technology development), by medium to long-term product development cycles and need for financial resources. The development of bio-/eco-economy is successful in Northern Europe and, especially in life sciences, supported by well established networks. As a Europe-wide model case ScanBalt Bioregion, as a network of all life science networks within the BSR, was successfully established. It became however obvious that there is a massive lack of in depth knowledge within the regions, especially in the South Baltic – in the field of life as well as environmental sciences. Activities in the regions are still based upon the engagement of individual scientific or technological experts in parallel to their main duties. SME´s do usuall not have the critical mass to be competitive on a international level. Also, in contrast to the situation in North Baltic, there is a lack of assistance by specialized and experienced support structures. The South Baltic is lagging behind in this progress.The project Eco4Life picks up the challenges and chances the new bio-/eco-economy offers to the regions. Eco4life comprises actors in the regions of Klaipeda, Szcecin and Greifswald with a high potential know-how of eco-/life science to be exploited and commercialised by SME`s. Each of the Eco4Life partner has key competences, knowledge and experiences to serve as “best practise” to the partner regions. Eco4Life will lead to increased regional and crossborder networking, growing number of crossborder cooperation projects, mobilise awareness and interest for the South Baltic, faster access to cooperation with the North Baltic Sea clusters (ScanBalt), boost scientific and economic development. Eco4Life will finally serve as an important tool for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (COM 2009, 248; June 10th, 2009) and contribute significant recommendations to the flagship project of a "prosperous and healthy Baltic Sea Health Region"