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EWRC – Regions shaping Europe’s digital future – Think East Netherlands

2021-10-12 @ 16:30 - 18:00

Gain insights in our regional approach to the digital transition and specialization strategies in smart industry, food production, health and mobility.


Th!nk East Netherlands and its partners would like to invite you to join the workshop ‘Regions shaping Europe’s digital future’, during the European Week of Regions and Cities 2021 on the 12th of October from 16.30-18.00.


SMEs, research institutes and regional authorities in Europe are key drivers in the twin – green and digital – transition to shape future value chains. In this interactive workshop, Th!nk East Netherlands and its international partners will show how digital impact is created for sustainable development in the field of

This workshop is aimed at representatives from local and regional authorities, SME’s and research institutes.


Digitalisation, a human centered approach


As previous years, we prepared a 90-minute workshop together with our regional and international partners. We will start with a plenary program, followed by four different break-out rooms. This year we will give you deep insight in our regional approach to the digital transition, rapidly changing our economy and society. The awareness of the importance of digitalisation in all economic sectors has become very clear: on EU-level, national level and on regional level. New knowledge and skills are needed to tackle digital challenges in healthcare and the energy transition, as well as in the areas of food, security and mobility.


S3 Strategies and opportunities


Participants will learn and discuss how S3 strategies – the quadruple helix model of innovation – contribute to a digital transition, what opportunities the new EU programming 2021-2027 period provides, how synergies with regional and national support and funds are increased. The role of the European Digital Innovation Hubs will be discussed. Best practices will be shared by representatives from regional authorities, SME’s and research institutes.


Best practices 

Best practices will be shared by representatives from regional authorities, SME’s and research institutes, but also by EURegionsWeek participants via tools as and mentimeter.


The Twente region (Twente Board), Emilia Romagna region (leading the Vanguard Initiative’s Artificial Intelligence Pilot) and the Fraunhofer Project Centre at the University of Twente will provide insight in how they maximize the strength of the ecosystem and their key assets in AI. They will describe regional best practices and introduce planned actions and foreseen investments in AI for the regions.


Wageningen University, Regio Foodvalley, the S3 partnership on Food, and multiple food companies will share and discuss opportunities and challenges of the use of data in the food sector.



Focus on prevention, health data and healthy aging. Stakeholders from the Green Metropolitan Region Arnhem-Nijmegen, Achterhoek Region join forces with European partners from Euregha, Puglia (Italy), and Basque Country (Spain) showcasing interregional initiatives.



Focus on data-driven solutions in mobility. Region Zwolle and Port of Zwolle and their European partners from Aarhus and Copenhagen will provide insights in Intelligent Bicycle transport systems and port management systems.  







Introduction by Mrs. Simone van Trier, moderator



Welcome on behalf of Th!nk East Netherlands and its partners by Mr. Eddy van Hijum, member of the European Committee of the Regions



Film: One step ahead – best practices of impact in regional digital transition



Iddo Bante, Secretary General a.i. ADRA, European Partnership on AI, Data and Robotics – Setting the scene: how regions shape Europe’s digital future



Break-out rooms

In every break-out room there is plenty of room for discussions. During the workshop you may select the break-out room of your preference. The workshop will be closed in the break-out rooms.


#1 Smart Industries

This break-out room is moderated by Mr. Steven van Roon, representing the Robotics Center at Twente University and program manager at TValley.

    • Mr. Eddy van Hijum, member of the European Committee of the Regions and member of the Twente Board, will start this workshop by giving  an overview of the East Netherlands review of AI.
    • This will be followed by a pitch of  Mr. Domenico Guida, digital innovation manager at the region of Emilia Romagna and coordinator for Vanguard Initiatives’ pilot for AI and Human-Machine interfaceHe will give a brief overview of Emilia Romagna’s approach to AI and Vanguard’s pilot on AI and its related demo cases.
    • Mr. Ian Gibson, scientific director of the Fraunhofer Project Center and professor industrial design engineering at University of Twente is the final speaker of this break-out room and will explain the structure of the Fraunhofer project center and include a brief explanation of programs under FPC (the advanced manufacturing program and REACT).



#2 Smart Food Production

This break out room is moderated by Mr. Jouke Kardolus, senior project manager at Oost NL and one of the initiators of the icon theme on Data Driven Transitions in Food of Th!nk East Netherlands.

    • Mr. Sjaak Wolfert, theme ambassador Digital Innovation in Agri-Food at Wageningen UR, will present the options and challenges for stakeholders in the transition towards a sustainable digital innovation ecosystem. One of the five lenses he will explain is “digital inclusion”, a subject on which the panelists in this session will also shine their vision. The panel consist of:  Mr.
    • Harrij Schmeitz, director of the Dutch Fruit Tech Campus,  attracts new students to the fruit sector with a focus on innovation and technology.
    • Mrs. Huiberdien Sweeris, FoodValley NL, is specialist on Human Capital and talent development, Mr. Ruben Bringsken, director of Jamael Food Group (incl. Baltussen Konservenfabriek) is unlocking the potential of “Digital”, both in his food producing companies as well in the ICT companies he is involved with.



#3 Smart Health

This workshop is moderated by Mr. Giovanni Gorgoni, president of EUREGHA and represents the region of Puglia.

    • The focus of this break out room is on the smart specialization pillar ‘smart health’, which will be introduced by Marc Rinkes, Topfit East Netherlands.
    • Mr. Francesco Fera from the Puglia Region  will then talk about Healthy Ageing, one of the three thematic areas that form the pillar.
    • Mr. Marc Rinkes, Topfit East Netherlands will then discuss the pilot project ‘Care Region of the Future’ in which the topics Health Data and Prevention are also covered.
    • Ms. Irina Kalderon, DG Connect and Mr. Loukianos Gatzoulis, DG Santé will provide a reaction to the presented showcases.


#4 Smart Mobility

This workshop is moderated by Mrs. Simone van Trier. Speakers: Peter Rhebergen, Alexander Kamermans, Michael Bloksgaard, Jeroen van den Ende, Jimmi Joergensen.

    • Mr. Alexander Kamermans, policy advisor mobility, city of Zwolle (NL) and Mr Michael Bloksgaard, ITS Fagkoordinator, City of Aarhus (DK) will dive into how the cities of Zwolle and Aarhus use data regarding bicycle promotion and share insights from the EU BITS project.
    • Mr. Jeroen van den Ende, port director Port of Zwolle (NL) and Mr. Jimmy Joergensen, port director Korsoer Havn (Denmark) will explain how their ports do improve the ease of use and efficiency for visiting ships by using data (introducing an app).


In every break-out room there is plenty of room for discussions. The workshop will be closed in the break-out rooms.


Programme EWRC 21 workshop

Think East Netherlands

updated 12-10c


Partners involved

Emilia Romagna, Garden of Kairos, Wageningen University and Research, Royal Fruit Masters, EUREGHA, Rijnstate Hospital Arnhem, DG Sante, Basque Country, Puglia, City of Aarhus, Port of Zwolle and many more.




 Workshop Regions shaping Europe’s digital future



16:30 - 18:00


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