The online e-workshop “Innovation for Grand Societal Challenges” was held on 8 September 2021, with the participation of the South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency (STRIA) as a partner of the Medtech4 Europe Interreg Europe project. The Medtech4 Europe project aims to provide solutions to reduce healthcare costs in the context of medical technologies, a key sector in Europe, in line with the needs of an increasingly ageing population. The September online event was in close connection with the issue and was organised around three distinct sessions: a panel discussion with keynote speakers, learning from practices, and thematic working groups.

The event was opened by moderators Arnault Morisson and Marc Pattinson who are the thematic experts of the Research and Innovation Policy Learning Platform. After a brief introduction to the event agenda, Elene Ferrario presented the Interreg Europe programme. Interreg Europe helps regional and local authorities across Europe to develop and implement better policies. The Programmes creates an environment and opportunities for sharing solutions and policy learning. It also aims to ensure that government investment, innovation and implementation efforts all have an integrated and sustainable impact on people and places.

The Programme identified three main themes in the grand societal challenges, namely:

  • Agriculture – food industry,
  • Health,
  • Water.

The first speaker, Adrian Tistan (from the European Commission) analysed the importance of the food system. Elvira Uyarra (Professor at the University of Manchester)and Cornelius Traas also presented on the agriculture pillar. Sandra Evans then presented the ITHACA project on health. The project brings together nine EU regions to share their experiences and best practices on smart health and care innovation to improve active and healthy ageing. A key aim is to refine regional policies in order to support innovative businesses, create growth and scale up the deployment of innovative health and care solutions. This also plays an important role in the Medtech4 Europe project, where the exchange of experience plays an important role and thus provides opportunities for further learning and development. The second block of the agenda was closed with a presentation by Pieter de Jong on water.

In the third session of the workshop, participants were divided into thematic working groups to present and share regional and policy initiatives one by one.

The Medtech4 Europe project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary within the Interreg Europe Program.