A potential opportunity has presented itself to apply for a Grant under the Horizon 2020, EASME and Erasmus+ for a Strategic Partnership in the field of education and training, aiming to support the development, transfer and implementation of innovative practices as well as the implementation of joint initiatives promoting cooperation, peer learning and exchanges of experience at European level.

Our project should be based on the innovative concept of Three pillars Blended Learning, which combines three educational components, namely:

  1. Face-to-face education
  2. Learning-by-doing
  3. Distance/Online learning

For further information and requirements, please contact us.

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OCTA Innovation is currently working on developing several project proposals to apply for a Strategic Partnership Grant under the Horizon 2020, EASME and Erasmus+.  The project is based on the innovative concept of the Three Pillars Blended Learning, which combines face-to-face education, learning-by-doing and distance/online learning, allowing to work on capacity-building, while bringing new, innovative approaches to education. The Strategic Partnership in the field of education and training would be ideal, as it would be highly beneficial for all partners, creating more attractive education and training programs in line with individual needs and expectations, and bringing new and improved practices to better support competitiveness and employment at regional and local level.

It would benefit the project to have a minimum of 5 OCTs, mainly education entities such as colleges and universities, to work together, have combined workshops and exchange of information and best practices, with Europe and among themselves.

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Three Pillars: Intertwining innovation, education and commitment

Three Pillars: Intertwining innovation, education and commitment

OCTA Innovation under leadership of Mr Milan Jezic von Gesseneck (left on the photo) has developed into an innovation think tank committed to best outcomes in island states in the Atlantic and South Pacific. With innovation as the engine of sustainable development, Milan has lead developing innovation, including a new concept in learning, blended education. From his experience of working in developing countries, he developed a learning methodology that brings together most effortless in-job education, with structured distance learning enabling the students on minimal face to face support (often not available on the islands) to gain from the most advanced education tools and gain valuable qualifications.

In the summer of 2017 University of Aruba and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (University of Leuven) signed a 5-year partnership agreement for the Green Faculty at the University of Aruba. Under leadership of Mr Glenn Thodé (middle on the photo) the Green Faculty encapsulates an academic program focused on research in the field of sustainability, and application of new technologies related to green, renewable energy, in combination with economic and social sciences. The Green Faculty is a major leap forward for all region. By welcoming high-level experts and academic staff, the Green Faculty will, no doubt become the hotbed of learning in the Caribbean. Great work Glenn!

From economic hit-man to protector. Emerging from the world of hard, imperial economics where power is unscrupulously used to further interest of global finance, Mr John Perkins (right on the photo) has been reborn into one of the strongest protectors of natural life and resources. Advising small countries and organizations that protect resources and support economics that respects both environment and societal needs, John is using his economic knowledge and commitment to sustainable and circular economy. We love this work.

On the first sight these three approaches are unrelated. But they form the big picture of economic and societal prosperity in the Overseas Countries and Territories, the Three Pillars.

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Swedish National Innovation Council

Swedish National Innovation Council

Goal: The Swedish National Innovation Council (NIC) was created by the Prime Minister on February 9, 2015. In February 2017 it was restructured and Charles was reappointed for a second term, which runs until September 30, 2018.

The purpose of NIC is to develop Sweden’s national innovation system and thereby mitigate societal and environmental challenges as well as enhancing productivity growth and employment. NIC has an advisory role and adds new perspectives on questions of importance for innovation policy. NIC deals with policy issues that represent the most important parts of a coherent and holistic innovation policy. It contributes to the development of a coordinated and integrated innovation policy.

The Prime Minister is the chairman of NIC, and there is no deputy chairman. The Council meets four times per year, for 4 – 6 hours each time. From February 2017 NIC has the following responsible ministers and members.
Responsible Ministers:
•Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister
•Magdalena Andersson, Minister of Finance
•Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation
•Helene Hellmark Knutsson
•Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister

Members of the NIC come from the business and research sectors. They are:
•Ola Asplund, Senior Adviser, IF Metall
•Mengmeng Du, entrepreneur and board member of various companies
•Charles Edquist, Professor in Innovation Studies at the Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE), Lund University
•Darja Isaksson, digital strategist
•Sigbritt Karlsson, President of KTH, Royal Institute of Technology
•Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of the Volvo Group
•Johan Rockström, Professor in Environmental Science and Executive Director of Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University
•Karl-Henrik Sundström, CEO and Managing Director of Stora Enso
•Jane Walerud, entrepreneur
•Carola Öberg, project manager at Innovationsfabriken Gnosjöregionen

To support its activities, the Innovation Council has a small office in the Prime Minister’s Office. The principal secretary of the Innovation Council is Wille Birksten. Oskar Thorslund is the Administrative Director of the office.

Charles has written a research article about the Swedish National Innovation Council. It describes and analyses the activities and results of NIC in quite some detail. It was earlier presented on this home page https://charlesedquist.com/2016/08/28/the-first-research-article-on-the-swedish-national-innovation-council-published/.

Read Report

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Smart specialisation has helped with innovation strategies, but more is needed

Smart specialisation has helped with innovation strategies, but more is needed

Smart specialisation has made a real difference to the way European regions are designing their innovation strategies, creating or reinforcing cooperation at all levels, especially with local industry, but there is room for improvement, to better help regions catch the train of globalisation, according the European Commission.

Challenge 1: Boosting innovation capacity in less-developed and industrial transition regions

Challenge 2: Increasing cooperation in innovation investment across regions

Challenge 3: The need to reform regional innovation systems

Challenge 4: Facilitating synergies between EU policies and instruments

Read more

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SME Manifesto: Driving Growth for European Innovators

SME Manifesto: Driving Growth for European Innovators


A statement of policy, aims and practical support for European SMEs who invest in innovation: empowering these economically vital companies so they can help Europe become the world’s leading digital economy.

Ensuring Fair Access to Justice – Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) must be strongly protected and respected in all jurisdictions.

Better Financing and Loan Guarantees For IPR-Intensive Innovators

Innovation Incentives: R&D Tax Credits and Support for Open Technology Standards

Read more about Driving Growth for European Innovators

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European Union and OCTs

European Union and OCTs

Mr. Denis Salord, Head of Unit at the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development in charge of Overseas Countries and Territories opened the BRUZZ dedicated to Turks and Caicos Islands last Thursday 13th of July.

Mr. Salord particularly highlighted the importance of the regional dimension, and as such of the cooperation among OCTs and among OCTs and their neighbouring countries.

Please find below Mr. Salord’s introductory speech at the OCTA Innovation Brussels BRUZZ on Turks and Caicos Islands:

Your Excellency honourable Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you today in Brussels for this OCTA Innovation Brussels BRUZZ event focusing on Turks and Caicos.

We are particularly honoured to have with us today Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Premier of Turks and Caicos, Minister for Trade and Investment of the TCI and chairman of the Overseas Countries and territories Association (OCTA).

As you know, the Association between the 25 OCTs and the EU is of strategic importance for the EU. The European Commission places a particular importance in the work of the OCT Association (OCTA) and is committed to continue working very closely with OCTA to reinforce the partnership between the EU and the OCTs. In this context, as the head of unit responsible for the relations with OCTs in the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), I am particularly pleased with the ongoing collaboration between the European Commission and the chairmanship of OCTA held by honourable Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson.

The Overseas Association Decision of 2013 which governs the OCT-EU relations, reflects a paradigm shift, from a focus on poverty reduction to a reciprocal relation focused on cooperation on mutual interests, and places special emphasis on priorities which are relevant for the OCTs, such as the enhancement of their competitiveness, the strengthening of their resilience, reduction of their vulnerability, and promotion of the cooperation between OCTs and their regional, European and international partners.

In this context, innovation is a central lever to ensure sustainable economic growth in OCTs and the enhancement of their competitiveness. Innovation is at the heart of the EU action in the area of sustainable growth and competitiveness and is seen as a top priority by the EU institutions and the Member States.

In OCTs, the Territorial Strategies for Innovation (TSI) programme also known as “OCTA Innovation” programme is the thematic programme funded by the 10th European Development Fund and covering all OCTs. It embodies the prominence of innovation in the context of the OCT-EU Association.

The overall objective of TSI is to enhance the sustainable development of OCTs through innovative solutions for economic diversification and to improve the regional and global competitiveness of the OCTs. The project provides technical capacity and demand-driven services to the OCT governments in developing their Territorial Strategies for Innovation. To date 9 territorial Strategies for Innovation projects have been initiated in the same number of OCTs.

Today’s OCTA Innovation event is dedicated to the Turks and Caicos. The 11th European Development Fund territorial programme for TCI was signed by Commissioner Mimica and Honourable Premier Cartwright-Robinson at the beginning of 2017 during the 15th OCT-EU Forum alongside four other EDF-OCT territorial programming documents. The programme, amounting for a total of EUR 14.6 million, is focusing on primary and secondary education providing support to TCI ambitious education sector policy. Madame Premier will probably tell us more about this programme.

I am also sure that TCI will be able to share its experience in the area of innovation having focused its 10th EDF multi-annual programme on improving the enabling environment for private sector development as part of the EU general support to the development policy of the OCT.

I look forward to our discussions today, and to strengthening our association going forward. I am sure they will contribute to making our partnership even more effective.


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Capacity-building and knowledge sharing

Capacity-building and knowledge sharing

Overseas Countries and Territories have a lot in common such as insular micro-economies, a rich biodiversity, etc. but also display a number of differences in terms of relative wealth, geographical characteristics, physical isolation, internal political organization, etc. Knowledge acquiring, capacity-building and knowledge sharing are of the paramount relevance for all OCTs.

Capacity-building and knowledge sharing

Human capacities, capacity-building and brain-gain are of the crucial importance. Excellent step in this domain is the most recent strategic initiative of Aruba’s Government and Aruba’s University in establishing Green Faculty. It has been done in partnership with Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The Belgian institution again takes pole position in Reuters’ second annual ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities. Press release is giving more detailed information.

Three pillars blended-learning

Having in mind that all OCTs are islands, and that some of them, such as French Polynesia have up to one hundred and eighteen islands on their territories, it is very relevant to develop system of education and capacity-building adapted to have the latest worldwide known training for the OCTs.

Particularly we understand that the optimal way for education for OCTs should be three pillars blended-learning. The first pillar should be formally acquired education and experience, the second pillar should be web-based, internet eLearning and the third pillar should be on the job learning-by-doing with direct face-to-face instructions and trainings. That is the way how we are progressing with OCTA Innovation “Innovation Expert Studies”. This way of blended learning should be the education approach implemented in the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union.

Open innovation, open learning and knowledge sharing

Worldwide open learning and sharing of knowledge and best practice is the way forward promoted by the European Commission and the European Union in general and that is the way how OCTs should acquire worldwide knowledge. Particularly it is important for the OCTs as they are islands geographically away from big knowledge centres.

Thematic cooperation via Centres of Thematic Excellence

Because of the OCTs specificities, OCTs cannot keep and collect all particularly developed knowledge in one single OCT. So OCTs need to work together. This cooperation is not regional cooperation: that must be thematic cooperation. Solution is having Centres of Thematic Excellence. So inside OCTA, different OCTs should become centre of thematic excellence in thematic fields. With each OCT hosting a centre of excellence, a knowledge & cost sharing model can be developed.

The European Union and all stakeholders will do their best in having synergy of Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union with the European Union Outermost regions as well as in developing knowledge and capacities of OCTs by supporting the establishment of Centres of Thematic Excellence within the OCTs.

Herewith attached: Flyer Capacity-building and knowledge sharing

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