One of the missions of European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) is to identify the areas where the universities, the members of the Consortium could assist governments and public to solve certain issues. One of these areas is smart regions formation.
The differences between highly urbanized and rural areas are so great that smart solutions for cities are not always applicable to all. Although problems related to smart regions are not new, the pool of research addressing them is relatively small.
“Smart regions are not the same as smart cities. If we looked closely at a smart city and the region around it, we would see that the levels of sustainability and intelligence is much lower in regions. That’s the reason behind forming ECIU Smart Regions working group, which would address this problem, so as the city would influence the region around it. Cities usually have huge potential of business, research, academic community resources, unfortunately, this is not always true for regions”, says Žaneta Stasiškienė, Director of KTU Institute of Environmental Engineering, representing KTU in the ECIU Smart Regions working group.
In the initial Smart Regions agenda, the Group is aiming to point out the main problems related to the issue, to outline the priorities, to identify the possible contribution of ECIU and to prepare the White Paper for Smart Regions.
The main areas of activities, which will be reflected in the White Paper are: energy and sustainability, smart / circular economy, mobility and transport, resilience communities. KTU is responsible for the smart / circular economy part of the Paper. The agenda will first be introduced to the ECIU Board and then to the representatives of the European Union. Also, the representatives of the Smart Regions working group will participate in the networking session in ICT2018 Conference on 6 December 2018 in Vienna, Austria. The event focuses on the EU priorities related to digital transformation of society and industry.
According to KTU professor Stasiškienė, ECIU Smart Regions initiative’s activities will aim at balanced development of regions based on sustainable development, which encompasses digitalisation, circular economy, transport and other activities.
“By taking part in these activities, KTU has the opportunity to contribute to formation of research politics in the EU, and also to use and to reveal research capacities of our scientists. Kaunas and KTU are extremely important for Kaunas regional development, therefore our participation in the smart regions development means more opportunities not only for the university, but also for the region. By participating in the Consortium we can make our voices to be heard”, says Stasiškienė.
European Consortium of Innovative Universities encourages innovations in teaching and learning, provides study, international development, academic mobility possibilities for the staff and students of the universities, ECIU members.
Thanks to the ECIU research mobility foundation established earlier this year, KTU scientists can apply for funding for joint research, science publications and projects. ECIU unites 12 universities from Europe and Mexico; KTU joined ECIU in 2016 and is the only Lithuanian university in the Consortium.