The Site visit has been organized by the Municipality in order to host Tim Caulfield, UIA Director and Tommaso Galli, ASC UIA Project Officer. The aim was to provide information on the progresses of the project, on the critical issues encountered, on the opportunities generated and on the next steps foreseen.
This “update” was also useful in light of the 6-month postponement for the conclusion of the project, which was originally scheduled for October 2021 and then rescheduled by April 2022.
Obviously, one of the issues addressed was how the pandemic affected the project but also how the partners positively exploited the situation to accelerate some processes, especially those based on the use of digital platforms.
Interesting points touched upon during the discussion were related to the connection with national and regional policies, with respect to education and labor: the efforts in terms of integration and permanent dialogue have been underlined.
The issue of how to continue nourishing the startup community of the Aveiro region, after the success achieved thanks to the "Challenges" initiative, was also addressed. The Challenges made it possible to – literally - "challenge" the startups to use and test the technologies made available by the living lab for their innovative solutions, in exchange for prizes and visibility. This has led many local startups to test their solutions and grow.
Andre Costa, ASC project manager, identified the 3 achievements that from his point of view were the most significant in relation to the impacts of the overall project:
1) The STEAM education strategy implemented for the primary (first and second cycle) and secondary schools (with extra funding provided by the Municipality, in addition to UIA funding) provided education, equipment and training to schools, school teachers and pupils.
2) The Aveiro Living lab: even if not yet in its full scale, the living lab – after just 2 years of deployment - already allows national and international companies and start-ups to test their solutions.
3) Tech city bootcamps: these bootcamps allowed companies to find full stack developers ready to be hired. The program (14 weeks in classroom + 14 weeks of training in the companies) made possible for the 75% of the participants to secure a job in an ICT company in the Aveiro Region.
The site visit also represented an occasion to see and visit Local Schools (equipped with the Tech Labs), the project living lab’s Use cases (mobility, energy and environment’s use cases) and the Aveiro Tech city hub within the Atlas building, one of the most relevant results among the investments.
Finally, several hours were dedicated to a discussion with the project partners, through a multi-voiced vision of the strengths and project’s opportunities that could still be exploited; among those: the effectiveness of the partnership and the willingness to continue to work together in the future.