The i2CAT Foundation will coordinate INTEGER (Interconnecting 4 Helix Innovation Ecosystems in European Regions), a Horizon Europe research project that has just been launched by eight European partners, including research centres, universities, and private companies. The project’s main objective is to achieve more robust, sustainable, inclusive, and integrative EU innovation ecosystems by promoting the active participation of social innovation actors and their connection with all other actors involved in such ecosystems, including the industry and the public sector, the SMEs and start-ups, the accelerators and business incubators, the investors, and the philanthropy societies. INTEGER is funded by the European Commission with almost 500.000€ and will last 24 months.
The overall approach of INTEGER consists of a flexible and adaptable 4 Helix integration model, which allows a peer-to-peer collaboration between business and social innovation actors and organisations using a common set of open digital technologies and entrepreneurial skills. To accelerate such integration, INTEGER will focus on creating a Healthy Living Collaboratory, a proper network of networks’ community with the capacity to work on real social, tech and business-driven projects. It will start with 3 European Regions as real integration testbeds: Catalonia, in Spain; Hamburg region, in Germany; and Krakow, in Poland. The objective is to activate the mutual exchange of successful practices to train the new generation of socio-technical ecosystem enablers: “the collabers” or “the collaboratory managers”. They can jointly develop a 4 Helix integrative model able to transform co-creation dynamics into disruptive but innovative tangible results, such as real products or services.
As the project’s coordinator, the i2CAT Foundation will contribute to INTEGER with its broad interdisciplinary expertise in solid integration of digital research and social innovation, co-creation and facilitation mechanisms with the start-up community and digital hubs, open living labs, and inter-entrepreneurship. Within the project, i2CAT will also prove its capacity to deepen the development of the prototype of a regional Collaboratory in the field of health and wellbeing, to test the integration cycle with a group of committed 4 Helix stakeholders in Catalonia and demonstrate its replicability in other regions in Europe.