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INTERREG Project: Cross-border InnovationSpace³

INTERREG Project: Cross-border InnovationSpace³

In an effort to make businesses based in the rural border region around the cities of Passau; Ried and Schärding fit for the future, INN.KUBATOR Gründerzentrum Passau, Techno-Z Ried and TGZ Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Schärding have joined forces to set up a multi-polar cross-border InnovationSpace3. The project has been awarded a grant worth 1.25 million euros under the INTERREG programme Bavaria-Austria 2021-2027.

The InnovationSpace³ is a place where businesses get to unlock and explore the potential of digital technologies and tools on the Internet of Things (IoT) with a view to ensuring their ability to align and connect with an economy of transformation. The three priority areas complement each other: artificial intelligence/digital technologies (Passau), robotics (Ried), sensor technology (Schärding) along with the related equipment at the different locations.

The InnovationSpace³ will offer interested SMEs and startups easy access to technologies, encouraging them to try things out and come up with innovative and forward-looking solutions in the form of prototypes. They will be able to book the equipment available at each of the three locations, which will make for convenient cross-border access.

Professor Harald Kosch, Vice President of the University of Passau and head of the Interreg project, explicitly wants to enable low-threshold access to university knowledge: "As an innovation driver, the University of Passau recognises that is has the responsibility to boost the competitiveness of the cross-border region, initiate cooperation projects with businesses and provide academic support and guidance along the way."

Jürgen Dupper, Lord Mayor of the City of Passau, sees great potential for business development in the border region: "On the strength of our digital startup centre, we want to stimulate the innovation power in the City of Passau and the region and thereby enhance their appeal as business destinations. Artificial intelligence, sensor technology and robotics are areas that will continue to shape our world of work going forward and will thus be crucial for competitiveness." The facilities to be set up at INN.KUBATOR with the support of the University of Passau will include extremely powerful workstations capable of processing large data volumes like those needed in artificial intelligence/digital technologies.

In Schärding, the technology and startup centre TGZ was given a new lease of life after Raiffeisenbank Region Schärding had acquired a majority share and the municipality had been brought in as shareholder. Once restructured and revitalised for several million euros, the innovation space will be open for anyone interested. "As mayor of the City of Schärding, it is my great pleasure to end the year-long dormancy of TGZ Schärding," says Günther Streicher. "We are creating a space and network for research and development in the field of sensory technology that will help to strengthen the entire border region. I look forward to collaborating with you in this exciting and forward-thinking endeavour!"

"In Schärding, Passau and Ried, we want to provide access to new technologies in IoT, data analytics, sensor technology and robotics, but we also want to offer access to knowledge and inspiration in the use of these technologies and build a network for cooperation, collaboration and exchange. Together, we will be able to strengthen competitiveness and ensure future viability in the border region," underscores Karin Wallerstorfer-Rögl, managing director of Raiffeisenbank Region Schärding.

The Ried District Office of the Upper Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO ÖO) and Technology Center Ried have both contributed significantly to the development of the region and the businesses operating there. "In harnessing the innovation potential and power of local businesses, we are building the foundation for the future success of our region," says Christoph Wiesner, who heads WKO-Ried and sits on the supervisory board of Technology Center Ried.

Bernhard Zwielehner, the mayor of Ried im Innkreis, emphasises how important bringing everyone together and expanding the innovation network beyond the Inn River is for all shareholders: "In future, municipalities and business players will have to network even more broadly than today and venture beyond municipal, district and national borders – in other words, they will have to look outside their proverbial backyards."

To round out the offerings available in the physical InnovationSpace³, a hackathon will be held at regular intervals. The event will not be limit itself – as is usually the case – to merely resolving data-driven issues: In line with the three priority areas, a new format will be developed that combines the hackathon idea with the makeathon approach. The goals will be inspired by the actual challenges that regional companies face, and the task will be to come up with data-based and physical solutions in the form of prototypes.

Furthermore, a continuing education programme will be developed and made available. It will be realised by the Upper Austrian Economic Chamber in collaboration with the University of Passau where the programme will be implemented. Plans are to provide modules with a focus on robotics, sensory technology, data handling technologies and artificial intelligence as well as a module teaching innovation methods/management as key competencies. The University of Passau will provide the academic leadership and expertise for the continuing education programme, whereas WKO ÖO will be in charge of ensuring the concept's branch-specific industrial and business relevance.


Principal Investigator(s) at the University Prof. Dr. Harald Kosch (Vizepräsident/in für Akademische Infrastruktur/IT)
Project period 01.01.2023 - 31.12.2025
Source of funding
EU - ESIF - EFRE - INTERREG Bayern-Österreich 2021-2027
EU - ESIF - EFRE - INTERREG Bayern-Österreich 2021-2027

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