Participants arrived in Sweden for the project's second face-to-face meeting

On October 24-25, 2023, project participants from ARIES4, representing the Spanish region of Navarra, the Bulgarian region of Gabrovo, the Southern Denmark region and the Swedish region of Värmland, gathered in Karlstad, Sweden. This marked the second of three face-to-face meetings within the three-year project.

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– During these days, we will review the progress in various work packages, share knowledge among project members, and coordinate and reflect on the upcoming phases of the project. Additionally, meeting in person strengthens the trust among our collaborative partners, said project leader Martin Larraza, a researcher at the coordinating partner, The Public University of Navarre (UPNA) in Spain.

Delivering Tools for Sustainable Smart Specialization

ARIES4 stands for Alliance of Regional Innovation Ecosystems on Smart & Sustainable Specialization Strategies. This three-year project, co-financed by the EU through the Erasmus+ program, involves a total of 16 regional collaborative partners in four European regions: Navarra in Spain, Gabrovo in Bulgaria, Southern Denmark, and Värmland in Sweden.

The project's goal is to promote innovation, collaboration, and knowledge exchange among universities, vocational education, the public sector, businesses, and society. In simple terms, the project aims to deliver a toolbox for strategies of sustainable smart specialization that can be disseminated and used by other European regions. The planned project deliverables include a catalog of sustainability indicators, effective tools for sustainable smart specialization, training programs, and self-assessment tools for sustainability in businesses, as well as a web tool for monitoring sustainable smart specialization at the regional level.

– On an overall level, I can confirm that we are on track with the project. We have reached important milestones on the path to central project deliveries, stated project leader Martin Larraza.

The Second of Three Face-to-Face Meetings

In addition to project meetings at Karlstad Innovation Park, the program included a visit to the internationally renowned watercolor artist Lars Lerin's art gallery and a trip to Lindås Lamm, a farm that produces organic lamb meat and lambskins with sustainability as a driving force.

At Lindås Lamm, project participants also attended a lecture by Helén Williams, an associate professor in environmental and energy systems at Karlstad University focusing on sustainability issues in the packaging industry. All project participants were also invited to dinner at the residence of the County Governor of Värmland, Georg Andrén, The House of Värmland. The dinner was attended by the Vice-Chancellor of Karlstad University, Jerker Moodysson.

The meeting in Karlstad was the second of three face-to-face meetings in the project. The first took place in Odense in October 2022. Following the Karlstad meeting, there are two consortium meetings left, one online in the summer or autumn of 2024 and one physical meeting in Navarra in the spring of 2025.

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