Project; 01.01.2024 – 30.06.2026
Submitted by / EUSDR Priority Area(s): PA 8 Competitiveness of Enterprises
The main objective of the BrAIn project is to tackle a key challenge – to increase competitiveness of SMEs in the Danube Region by familiarising them with the relevance and potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling technologies and equip the main stakeholders with the necessary skills to follow i5.0, to support a sustainable, human-centric and resilient industry in the Danube Region. This aim is to be achieved with technology transfer of novel AI solutions in key areas with reducing the negative effects of the value chain challenges.
In order to achieve a transformative impact, transnational harmonised support for the uptake of technologies alongside multiple sectorial S3 value chains is essential. At SME level, this can be done by knowledge transfer on new technologies, such as AI and i4.0, and related skills upgrade for their employees. Henceforth, the overall goal of the project is to contribute to the increase of the competitiveness of SMEs in the Danube Region by familiarising them with the relevance and potential of AI and equip their employees for i4.0 transition processes and further adapt them to the human-centred i5.0 approach. This goal is to be achieved by capitalisation on previously achieved results (e.g., DanubeS3Cluster, SmartFactoryHub, Digitrans, D-Care, D-CareLabs), training, testing via pilots, and applying novel solutions of AI in i4.0 as mentioned by the EUSDR AI White Paper. The project also aims at supporting developing AI-driven applications to overcome international value chain bottlenecks.
Main outputs: The partners will propose concrete AI solutions to alleviate already identified challenges alongside three vertical value chains sectors like manufacturing, agro-food, and health-care industry, while accounting for the economic, environmental and social sustainability. As a result, the project will contribute with tangible and sustainable results to bridging AI related gaps in the Danube Region by pilot solutions that can contribute to a more innovative, balanced and convergent territorial development.
Need and (expected) impact
Individual regions, even countries have struggles to overcome the transformative challenges and gain new insights. Specialisation on local strength, elaboration of dedicated pilot initiatives, and learning from each other are all core components of the international approach. The partnership has complementary competencies in the sectors agro-food, health-care industry and manufacturing, as well as in the domains green energy, labour force management and supply chain, which characterises the specific roles each partner can play in the knowledge-transfer process. Additionally, each partner is strongly embedded into the local ecosystem, ensuring the diffusion of the gained knowledge to multiple regional stakeholders and into the policy level.
The project actions directly support the objectives of EUSDR PA 8 by contributing to the competitiveness of enterprises in the Danube Region. The partnership aims to connect to the proposed Actions of PA 8 by stressing the cooperation of the single Working Groups (WG): Innovation and Technology Transfer, Artificial Intelligence, Cluster and Regional Development, Digital Danube and Female Entrepreneurship. By composing the policy level recommendation, the BrAIn project aims to improve framework conditions for SMEs in areas where competitive infrastructure is missing and to support enterprises through high performing training and qualification schemes. Referring the project partnership, most of the partners are leading a WG in PA 8 or are members of any of these initiatives, so the knowledge transfer is also supported with their direct involvement of PA 8. Furthermore, an active conversation supported the BrAIn project elaboration between the Lead Applicant and the PA 8 coordinators in order to support the identified goals on a proper way.
The project directly helps to reduce the socio-economic challenge identified in the EUSDR. The project is not just connected to PA 8 but also supporting the goals of PA 7 (Knowledge Society) and PA 9 (People and Skills) as through the project activities the R&D potential of the Danube Region is supported. With the project training concept, the partners also support the goal “Contribution to improved educational outcomes and relevant skills and competences in the Danube Region, focusing on learning outcomes for employability, entrepreneurship, innovation, active citizenship and well-being”.
The composition of the partnership is based on a cooperation in PA 8, where PBN, the LP is leading AI WG for over three years, in cooperation with half of the PPs (SEZ,ITC,ICT Cluster, Biz-Up). The key output was the initiation of the AI topic in the macro-regional thematic & strategic documents, and this knowledge is the basic know-how of the BrAIn project. To widen the partnership and follow the aspect of quadruple helix, two SMEs (XRI, PU) are supporting the project with special skills & knowledge as solution providers of AI technologies. One non-governmental body (WRDA) is coordinating the horizontal approach and two non-EU countries (ETF, ODA, ISDI) joined to the consortium to reduce the innovation GAP between Project Partners (PP) in the Danube Region and ETF as university supports the knowledge transfer of AI enabling technologies. From territorial aspect, DE, AT, CZ, SK, SI, HU, RO, MD, BG & SRB are parts of the cooperation.
The composition of the PP follows the integrated territorial approach, vertical cooperation is based on the quadruple helix and the effective linkages between project key sectors are ensured as all PPs are encouraged to work among the concept of i5.0.
List of Partners:
- Pannon Business Network Association, PBN, Hungary, Lead Partner
- Innovation Technology Cluster, ITC, Slovenia, Project Partner
- Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, S2i, Germany, Project Partner
- ICT Cluster, ICT, Bulgaria, Project Partner
- West Regional Development Agency, WRDA, Romania, Project Partner
- PROUNION, PU, Slovakia, Project Partner
- Business Upper Austria, Biz-up, Austria, Project Partner
- North Regional Development Agency, NRDA, Moldova, Project Partner
- XR Institute Ltd., XRI, Czech Republic, Project Partner
- National Technical University of Ukraine, “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, ISKPI, Ukraine, Project Partner
- Prime Minister’s Office, PMO, Hungary, Associated Partner of PBN
- KMETIJSKO GOZDARSKA ZBORNICA SLOVENIJE KMETIJSKO GOZDARSKI ZAVOD MURSKA SOBOTA, KGZS, Slovenia, Associated Partner of ITC
- Union of Slovak Clusters, UKS, Slovakia, Associated Partner of PROUNION
- Occupational Safety Research Institute, OSRI, Czech Republic, Associated Partner of XRI, SOFIA TECH PARK JSC
- STP Bulgaria, Associated Partner of ICT
The following stakeholders will benefit from the project outputs:
Local public authorities: Local public authorities from the project partner’s location will support the project as the administrative organisations of the local innovative ecosystems.
Regional public authorities: Regional public authorities from the ten project regions will be involved in the project mainly to support policy recommendation process. Not just the macro-regional and national strategy could use the recommendation from the learnings of the BrAIn project, but it highly supports regional policy makers to learn the practice-based results of the project and read the strategy and policy brief and to obtain sustainability, with the usage of this recommendations, dedicated regional policy instruments could be launched.
National Public authorities: National public authorities of the project partners will be involved in the project mainly to support policy recommendation process. Not just the macro-regional strategy could use the recommendation from the learnings of the BrAIn project, but it highly supports national policy makers to learn the practice based results of the project and read the strategy and policy brief and to obtain sustainability, with the usage of this recommendations, dedicated national policy instruments could be launched.
Higher education and research organisations: Activities in the BrAIn project will serve the goal to support transnational uptake of technologies alongside the thematic value chains, especially with the support of AI driven applications. This result is important for higher education and research institutions as main actors of the local ecosystem. Thanks to the advanced value chain, innovative technologies step forward and give the floor to the academic sector to teach students a deep knowledge about i4.0 and its transformation to i5.0 and gives new research areas for the future.
Enterprises except SMEs: However, the main target group of the project are SMEs, the usage AI enabling technologies is crucial for big and multinational enterprises, too. During the organisation of the trainings, all actors of the local innovative ecosystem will be invited from the partner regions, so big enterprises and multi-national companies will have the chance for learning and teaching. Manufacturing enterprises, processing plants, health-related production oriented companies can be mainly involved in the BrAIn project.
SMEs: SMEs are the main target group of the BrAIn project. With the activities delivered during the 30 months, cooperation will stimulate SMEs to use AI driven applications which allows them to create more sophisticated products and services and supports the transnational knowledge and technology transfer alongside the value chain. SMEs operating in the agro-food, manufacturing and healthcare will be involved in the project activities.
Business Support organisations: BSOs, as an anchor of regional economic development will be involved into the project as facilitators of the knowledge which could be reached in the BrAIn project. Business Support organisations will actively mentor small and medium sized enterprises to gain actual sectoral knowledge, find suitable entrepreneurial trainings, to be able to elaborate business plans and find access to financial resources to realise new projects in service and product development.
Hospitals and medical centres: One of the BrAIn focus sectors is the health-care industry. The benefits of the usage of AI driven applications are highly important for the hospitals and medical centres, from different aspects. (1) Using these technologies can be transferred to hospitals and medical centres to make their operation more effective and ease the burden of labour shortage and Brain drain in the sector, especially in the eastern part of the macro-region. (2) Furthermore, novel digital and AI application in the homecare and rehabilitation support the patient to recover in their home where AI supported applications ensure the monitoring of their well-being and take the loads off from hospitals.
General public: With the implementation of the BrAIn project, the general public will be informed about the perspectives and advantages of AI-driven applications in the operation of SMEs. This knowledge will support people with choosing profession and educational field and it is also raising awareness about the possibilities in using AI-applications. It has a boosting effect also for future entrepreneurs.
Budget and Funding
1 499 992 EUR Interreg Funds, 64 292,5 EUR Public contribution, 125 587,50 EUR state contribution, 185 118,00 EUR private contribution
Further information & contact
PBN, Renáta Csabai (firstname.lastname@example.org)