Expert discussion in Riga regarding cooperation models for developing campuses
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Recently, Riga Planning Region (RPR) presented the potential cooperation models for developing the knowledge hub on the west bank region of River Daugava (Pārdaugava) in Riga, and invited the experts to a discussion on creating successful cooperation models, also involving the representatives from municipalities, educational institutions, as well as entrepreneurs.

Presentation and the discussion is one of the concluding events of “Live Baltic Campus”, project of Interreg Central Baltic Sea Region programme. The participants of discussion include Viesturs Celmiņš, Project Coordinator at the University of Latvia, Emīls Rode, expert representing Riga Planning Region, and Ilze Paklone, urban planning expert and author of the research paper “The Knowledge Territory of Pardaugava: Models of Developing the Knowledge Resources”.

As soon as the development projects of the major higher education institutions in Latvia – University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Riga Stradiņš University, and RISEBA – will be completed, Pardaugava, the west bank district of Riga will host the most crucial educational and reseach potential nationwide. As case studies from abroad indicate, knowledge concentration combined with strategic and well-considered territorial planning policy enables this potential to be used for the growth of the region and the entire state.

In order to foster the process, experts recommend to establish a special governance and coordination structure and to outline a clear progamme, vision for a strategic and spatial development of the knowledge territory. The strategic development lies on three main pillars – smart growth enabled by campuses, internationalisation of human resources within the education and research fields, as well as creating cooperation networks on different levels, while ensuring that each aspect of territorial development is covered and supported by suitable mechanisms.

The ability to cooperate and identify common goals to be realised is one of the key components for developing a functional innovation ecosystem, as well as for its operations. The involvement of representatives of all entities forming the ecosystem – education, research, business – and of municipal, regional, and national institutions in making strategic decisions is essential for a successful development of an innovation territory.

The physical proximity and the subsequent speed of information circulation enables the involved parties to rapidly develop new cooperation forms, to launch projects, to quickly respond to market changes, as well as to form strong core teams that would serve as representatives of interest of this knowledge territory and entities operating in it. Territory and the infrastructure within it can serve as a platform for internal and external cooperation networks, for instance, between academic institutions and companies, between various actors within a certain area of expertise, in a shape of supply chain between large companies and tech start-ups, teams of professionals, etc.

The discussion received a wide media coverage, including from Latvian Radio channels 1 and 4, as well as on the evening news of TV3. On the latter, the needs for mutual cooperation between all the involved parties was very strongly emphasised, as the comment of Dace Grīnberga, Riga Planning Region representative, was included on the broadcast. Grīnberga also pointed out that the cooperation must be launched as soon as possible, in order to have a more successful outcome.

TV3 news, 9th of December, 2017