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Dr Andreja Kutnar at the Future Living conference on innovation in the wood and forestry sector

On 11 April 2019, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia organized the Future Living conference as the conclusion event of a two-months long exhibition about achievements of the Slovene smart buildings and homes industry and forest-wood supply chains. Slovenian innovation solutions from this field were presented.

Conference Future living. Image: CCIS

At the conference, Dr Andreja Kutnar, director of the InnoRenew CoE, stated that the InnoRenew CoE will announce a tender in 2021 for small and medium-sized enterprises, where 50 companies will be able to receive 60,000 euros for pilot projects. The tender is part of the InnoRenew CoE’s newly acquired project PHArA-ON, coordinated by Hewlett Packard Italiana SRL and slated to begin this summer. Europe’s rapidly aging population requires tools that improve their quality of life, independence and health. The goal of PHArA-ON  is to create flexible open platforms that will make life easier for both the elderly and their caregivers using advanced technologies, including robotics, artificial intelligence and smart wearables.

Dr Andreja Kutnar at the conference. Image: CCIS

Dr Jernej Štromajer, state secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, was also present at the conference and announced that the ministry will increase investments in research and development. In fact, they foresee more than 200 million euros for R&D this year. Dr Peter Wostner, head of the Smart Specialisation Unit at the Republic of Slovenia Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, pointed out the problem of an insufficient number of innovations in the field and lack of business models and services. Friderik Knez from the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute, one of the InnoRenew CoE founders, also presented his view about research and development in Slovenia.

There was a roundtable discussion where participants discussed how to move from the prototype stage to the market. All agreed that most innovations persist at the prototype stage, which should be changed, and that it is necessary to speed up the development and innovation process as well as increase automation and robotization of production.

Roundtable discussion. Image: CCIS