De-and Remanufacturing Regions 

De-and Remanufacturing Regions 

De-and Remanufacturing Regions 

Lombardy (IT) 

Lombardy is the first EU Region in terms of number of manufacturing companies, mainly SMEs, and the second one for employees. The main industrial sectors for added value are machinery, metallurgical, chemical, plastic for automotive and aerospace applications, textile, pharmaceutical and food manufacturing. On these particular sectors, the topics of Circular Economy and green transition are fundamental and will be the centre of future European actions related to the waste management, the introduction of the Digital Product Passport, the value-chain traceability and sustainability assessments.

Based on those strengths, Lombardy Region had published the 2021-2027 Lombardy Smart Specialisation Strategy, that is now under a review process. In this strategic document, one of the main identified priorities is represented to Circular Economy (CE), that means all the materials, technologies, processes and services aimed at reduce the environmental impact of the existing manufacturing value-chains. The regional institutions, furthermore, adopted the Lombardy Roadmap for Research and Innovation on Circular Economy, a strategic document that aims at developing a sustainable, low carbon, resource-efficient and competitive strategy for the transition to a circular economy in the Lombardy Region. The development of the Roadmap began in 2019 as a core action of AFIL Strategic Community and has been adopted by Lombardy Region in May 2020. Overall, the Roadmap outlines a versatile framework for driving sustainable economic development, supporting regional cooperation and addressing global challenges through circular economy initiatives. 

Starting from the Roadmap, Lombardy Region launched an open Expression Of Interest (EOI) targeting the future implementation of a regional HUB for the industrial transition to Circular Economy. The EOI checked the interest and availability of public Universities and Research Centres to collaborate towards the realization of new plants and demonstrators for innovative technologies, integrated circular economy solutions and business models that reduce the risks of private investment and bring research results closer to industrial adoption. This was the input to launch the regional “Circular Economy HUB”, focused on circular economy solutions for the e-mobility sector.  

A FOCUS ON THE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING CLUSTER IN LOMBARDY

The Strategic Communities of AFIL are working groups driven by priority topics identified by the regional stakeholders and representative of the manufacturing sector in Lombardy. The participants establish synergies and collaborations and propose projects and solutions to support the growth of the industrial ecosystem and to increase its competitiveness. By aggregating regional supply chains around strategic themes, the Strategic Communities promote cultural growth and disseminate industrial best practices that demonstrate the benefits of developing and implementing innovative products, technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector. Collaborations take the form of developing project proposals and defining specific contents and priorities for the specialization area. These proposals are then submitted to relevant institutions, mainly Lombardy Region, to receive support for short, medium and long-term actions. 

Over the course of the years, the Strategic Community has been actively engaged in various activities to advance its mission. These include developing a shared vision on Circular Economy and related challenges, sharing industrial best practices through the organization of industrial visits, providing project updates, facilitating B2B match-making, conducting concept validation, scouting funding opportunities, offering education and training and holding focused discussions on specific value-chains. Through these, the working group fosters collaboration, innovation and knowledge-sharing, driving sustainable practices and progress within their community. 

Recently, the Strategic Community focused on Circular Economy submitted and has been approved the "Innovative and Sustainable Supply Chain in the Steel Industry", within the regional initiative “Expression of Interest for the Development of Productive Industrial Value-Chains and Ecosystems in Lombardy”. Furthermore, the Community is working on a new proposal focused on "Fashion and Textile Supply Chain”. This initiative aims to support the strengthening, resilience and competitiveness of the production chains and of the industrial, productive and economic ecosystems of its territory, by developing strong links among companies and involving research, training and financial institutions. This initiative, launched by the General Directorate for Economic Development, consists of two phases. In Phase 1 - Expression of Interest, the partnerships submit a concept note on their future activities. If evaluated positively, a quality label is granted to these consortia. In Phase 2 - Activation of specific measures to support interventions, according to the emerged challenges and needs, Lombardy Region intends to activate several support measures for the development and consolidation of local economy. 

LOMBARDY'S ROLE IN EUROPEAN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION INITIATIVES

The Research and Innovation topics explored at regional level are aligned with numerous European initiatives in which Lombardy Region is involved, particularly the Vanguard Initiative and S3 Partnerships

The Vanguard Initiative was established in 2013 with the objective to stimulate collaborations based on regional Smart Specialization Strategies and at the moment involves 38 regions. Matching the political commitment with the industrial innovation and ensuring a continuous dialogue with European institutions, its aim is to promote and support the creation of interregional networks to address the main challenges faced by industrial stakeholders. 

Inspired by the Vanguard Initiative but broader in scope, instead, the S3 Partnerships are initiated by the European Commission, particularly the DG REGIO, to identify thematic macro-areas of collaboration among regions to enhance their competitiveness and resilience. Lombardy is active in the area of Industrial Modernization, particularly in the partnerships Advanced Materials for Battery and Wireless ICT, in addition to the mentioned Vanguard Pilots.  

In particular, Lombardy Region coordinates the Efficient and Sustainable Manufacturing (ESM) Pilot, grouping 26 participating European regions, and has a leadership role in the demo case "De- and Remanufacturing for Circular Economy". The Pilot focuses on developing products, technologies and processes aimed at increasing production efficiency and quality, as well as enhancing environmental and social sustainability. Through this initiative, significant EU funded projects have been conceived and developed, with Lombardy leading and coordinating them, such as FiberEUse, CarE-Service, DigiPrime, DeremCo and BATMASS projects. 

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