ACCELERATE GDT celebrated its second workshop in Duisburg, Germany

Submitted by Natalia Gutiérrez on 02 August 2023


Duisburg Business and Innovation (DBI) hosted the second workshop of the European Project ACCELERATE GDT on July 20-21, which aimed to introduce and discuss the Duisburg cluster and socio-economic ecosystem as part of the workshops and study visits planned during the project’s implementation.

Exchanging ideas on how to face the challenges of accelerating decarbonisation and digitisation, were the focal points of the 2-day conference, bringing together the project partners, German stakeholders and experts from science, industry, and politics.

During the first day of the workshop, the project partners presented their good practices, which they are utilizing to address the challenges of the green and digital transformation in their regions and intensified the exchange with a world café-format group work. As a participant, John Hobbs, Senior Lecturer at MTU, notes: "What really inspires me about Duisburg is the networking of the ecosystem. The engagement with policymakers and stakeholders is also evident. It's great to see the role the DBI is playing in the transformation of the region in cooperation with all partners from industry, science and politics".

As an external expert Professor Daniel Buhr, head of the Steinbeis Transfer Centre for Social and Technical Innovation at the University of Tübingen, provided the academic backdrop of innovative ecosystems and policy. "In the future, we will have to do many things differently. And sometimes very quickly. Innovation processes are also changing, becoming more open, international, and cross-sectoral. Universities and SMEs play a very important role in this. Despite its long history as an industrial city, Duisburg should not rely solely on existing companies and industries to transform itself, Professor Buhr continued: "You have to actively promote innovative ideas and start-ups and work with European partners."

Equipped with theoretical knowledge, it was high time to see how this translated into the real world. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Centre opened its doors for the workshop participants and illustrated the technical challenges and solutions of the transformation. Following the study visit to ZBT the working group set out on a boat tour through the biggest hinterland harbour of the world, where participants could experience the scale of the traditional manufacturing industry in Duisburg first hand and the challenges faced and importance of the green transition to the city and region.

On the following final day of the workshop, the political sphere of the transformation was the focal point of the sessions. The participants had an intense exchange with representatives of the state administration and local government about the regional S3 Strategy of the Ruhr area. Since Duisburg is the hinge between the Netherlands and the Rhine-Ruhr industrial clusters, this cross-border cooperation was discussed by external stakeholders from the Netherlands and from the Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Prof. Dr. Rasmus C. Beck, Managing Director, Duisburg Business and Innovation, believes that "Accelerate GDT offers the opportunity to intensively exchange ideas with European partners facing similar challenges and to jointly develop new solutions, and together we can learn from one another."

The next workshop will be held in Austria in November 2023 by Austria Wirtschaftsservice, and will focus on ‘Initiating Green Transformation for SMEs’, it will be a great opportunity to share cases and challenges from project partner regions.

About the project:

ACCELERATE GDT is an Interreg Europe-funded project on a mission to reinvent national and regional cluster policies, aiming to support the twin green and digital transitions and enhance SME competitiveness. The consortium brings together a mix of expertise from European ministries, national policymakers, regional development organisations and universities, from Barcelona, Turin, Vienna, Budapest, Prague and Duisburg, led by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment in Ireland as an associate partner with Munster Technological University. All participants are sharing learning and experiences which will make cluster policies in partner regions, more impactful in supporting industries on their twin transition journeys.

More information:

john.hobbs [at]

Twitter: @AccelerateGDT


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