Tirana, Jan 24th 2019
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tirana, in cooperation with Mesdheu Centre, both partners of Future 4.0 Project organized on 24th of January 2019, at the premises of the Mediterranean University of Albania, the second Focus Group meeting of the project ADRION FUTURE 4.0 for the Albanian Region. It came as a joint initiative, after the first one that the Chamber organized in October 15th 2018 in the premises of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tirana.
The project aims at designing, assessing and validating an innovative technological Roadmap and Smart Learning Model, developed and shared by the consortium in order to tackle the diversification in regional development trajectories and patterns of green and blue growth.
These were the first steps of a collaborative policy research project that we want to undertake in Albania, bringing together policy makers, practitioners and policy researchers from university and business to explore the changes in the capabilities of governance and knowledge systems in Albania.
The main objective of the meeting was the presentation of the RIS3 strategy prepared by Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tirana and experts to the main target groups and stakeholders of the project. This strategy addresses the current situation of the sector in Albania, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as the current legal framework for the shipyard and its logistic supply chain.
Another important section of the agenda was the discussion of the results and best practices identified during the road mapping process and interviews that CCIT staff had with each one of the participants during the first phase of WP T1 implementation. The last topic, but not least, was the discussion on the vision and recommendations that government institutions might have for the development of the shipbuilding industry for the next years.
26 was the total number of participants, companies operating in the field of nautical sector, representatives from the business sector and business support organizations and people from academia and research institutions, people with a very strong professional background as naval engineers, as well as other representatives from the main Albanian Ports operating in the northern and south part of Albania.
Key speakers of the program were both Heads of Project Department from Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tirana and Mesdheu Center, respectively Mrs. Viola Xhindi and Mrs. Nevila Xhindi, who explained where FUTURE 4.0 project consists of and how it will involve the main stakeholders following a cooperative approach, playing a role in designing collaborative governance model of I4.0.
Their presentations preceded that of Mr. Gudar Beqiraj, representative of Mediterranean University, who explained the role of Industry 4.0, in which computers and automation comes together in an entirely new way, with robotics connected remotely to computer systems equipped with machine learning algorithms that can learn and control the robotics with very little input from human operators, introduced what has been called the “smart factory,” in which cyber-physical systems monitor the physical processes of the factory and make decentralized decisions. The physical systems become Internet of Things, communicating and cooperating both with each other and with humans in real time via the wireless web. He also explained that the aim of the meeting, which was not to provide answers at this stage but rather to identify the most relevant questions to explore, aspiring to:
1) Stimulate discussion among researchers, university practitioners, policy makers and business interested in the impacts of the 4IR, in particular on the implications for Albania;
2) Explore current research and literature to build a research hypothesis and suggest some key defini-tions;
3) Suggest key areas for further investigation;
4) Inform the co-design of a collaborative research project to study the changes in the capabilities of governance and knowledge systems in Albania.
Mrs Viola Xhindi, Head of Project Department of the Chamber of Commerce, explained where the Albanian Regional Strategy on industry 4.0 is focused. It assessed the shipyard & nautical logistic supply chain, aiming to design an Industry 4.0 model to enhance shipyard competitiveness in Albania.
The analyses started from acknowledging the risk of neglecting the innovation potential in the shipyard & nautical logistic supply chain areas, either because there is often a bias on innovation policy in the sector.
After that, it was went through a more in-depth analysis of the RIS3 concepts associated with smart specialization. Manjola Duli Expert – Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (Tirana) explained that: “In this strategy, we define knowledge systems as the interaction of research, innovation, higher education, citizen, business and professional knowledge. These interact in order to produce, provide, demand and use knowledge to support the development of public policies. At its core, this document is a link between the I4.0 and politics, how knowledge can play a role to make the most of that link.
This discussion paper ( strategy document) is a high-level exploration of the themes briefly outlined above to identify specific areas for further investigation. The guiding questions for this presentation are:
- Which are the key elements of the industry 4.0 ?
- What does the literature say about the impact of this revolution on societies and economies, and in particular in shipyard & nautical logistic supply in Albania ?
- What does the literature say about the challeng-es for Albania governance and the ways knowledge can inform policy during the industry 4.0?
- What are the questions and topics arising from bussines interviews?
The response can-not be left to state institutions only, but requires the active engagement of citizens, the private sec-tor, the academy and civil society in Albania
However, revealed that the industry 4.0 approach does contain some promising elements to stimulate and support innovative activities in the shipyard & nautical logistic supply chain in Albania, but is still in the initial developing phase, and far from having a real industry 4.0-country strategy.
It was argued that strong capabilities of knowledge systems are instrumental to the growth of a 21st-century economy and institutions. There is limited focus on, and growth in, the capabilities of knowledge systems in regional and Albania. This trend exacerbates the inequities that permeate global development. Regarding blue technologies, Albania presents a weak involvement of the stakeholders and inter-relation of business, research and the public sector. Blue R&D&I is limited by outdated technologies, lack of support schemes, planning and financial funds especially from public funding also from EU. For this reason, to exploit fully the advantages derived from blue technologies, it is necessary to encourage cooperation between research centres and the public and private sectors by focusing on research and innovation, clusters development and knowledge transfer. In this way, it could be possible to create high‐skilled jobs and economic opportunities.
Table 1. Characterisation of industrial revolutions
Therefore, RIS3 or S3 is of itself a very SMART acronym, telling us that regional development is going to take place in a manner that builds on location, regional research and production strengths. It will involve all of the key actors from business, research, government and other civil bodies, that building on research and production strengths is important and that clustering and entrepreneurship are both priorities as important objectives. One of the basic principles of smart specialization is to be inclusive meaning, “giving every sector a chance to be present in the strategy through a good project”.
Europe is actively driving the RIS3 agenda, in line with Europe 2020, to make the Union more competitive, innovative and to drive growth and job creation and has provided an online Smart Specialization Platform (S3 Platform) to provide advice, information and support to S3 strategists/ policy makers.
The strategy is based on a review of selected commpany, we also include the feedback from informal interviews, company documents, talks with industrial experts and consultants involved in industry 4.0. These companies belong to diverse industry shipping segments; interviews with:
Liburn marina & mercury motors Albania, Pasha Liman Base- Shipyard, Kaldaja, Hudson, Yachting & Decortion and based on:
- Current technological status of the company
- Future development: What is the company policy regarding industry 4.0? What are their goals?
- Professional profiles.
Table 2. Company interviews
Table 3: Key outcomes of the Company Interviews
Ms. Viola Xhindi finalized the meeting with some conclusions, on which both partners will work with in the next months. She proposed to make together policy makers and representatives from shipbuilding industry, private bodies and public port authorities in a workshop that CCIT is planning to organize in the next months. This will give the opportunity to all participants and representatives to share policy recommendations among them.
Project co-funded by the European Union Adriatic-Ionian Programme INTERREG V-B Transnational 2014-2020.