• Lombardy Roadmap for Research and Innovation on Circular Economy 

R&I priorities enhancing Circular Economy in Lombardy 

The Lombardy Roadmap for Research and Innovation on Circular Economy intends to provide a framework for the development of a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive strategy for the transition to a more circular economy in the Lombardy Region, under a smart specialization perspective. 

This Roadmap will also contribute to the definition of the Smart Specialization Strategy of the Lombardy Region 2021-2027, within which the achieved results in terms of Circular Economy will also be valued. 

The Lombardy Roadmap for Research and Innovation on Circular Economy represents a versatile cultural and technical reference that can stimulate the cooperation between public and private stakeholders, with the aim to build strategic initiatives on circular economy. Based on the priorities of the roadmap, which are widely shared among regional stakeholders, private and public investors can cooperate to support emerging initiatives with financing instruments. 

The elaboration of this roadmap started in 2019, seeking the challenge of the Lombardy’s Smart Specialization Strategy (in brief S3) to give answers and, where possible, anticipate market changes, to address new social and cultural needs.

In particular, Circular Economy has been introduced as one of the main drivers to foster the development of mature into emerging industry in the Region. Accordingly, the Roadmap has been recognised as an opportunity to define a structured strategy to boost circular economy in the region starting from the needs and the priorities collaboratively pointed out by diverse regional stakeholders. 

Going beyond the regional dimension, the document is well suited as reaction of Lombardy Region Government to the climate and environmental world challenges settled by ONU Agenda 2030 and to drive the sustainable transition on the territory. It is also the result of the long-lasting effort of Lombardy Region to cooperate with other Italian and European Regions in the definition of cooperation strategies, which reinforce regional competitiveness by exploiting synergies and complementarities to achieve wider critical mass for global competition (for example in the “4 Motors of Europe”, “Vanguard Initiative”, “S3 Platforms on Smart Specialization” of the European Commission). Thus, the implementation of roadmap priorities leads to the reinforcement of inter-regional cooperation for the establishment of new European value chains. 

Moreover, the roadmap includes the lesson learnt from the COVID-19 emergency that is generating tremendous impacts globally and, in particular in Lombardy Region. Such a crisis showed that research and innovation, coupled with the flexibility and entrepreneurial vocation of companies, can be the major response to face the challenges of this type of disruptive unpredictable events. Circular economy can play an important role in these situations and the roadmap highlights some specific priorities to be pursued to make regional system more robust, resilient, and faster in the economy restartinwg phase. 

This document, which was realized in close cooperation with the Lombardy Technology Clusters as organizations supporting the regional governance, is supposed to significantly influence national policies, being Lombardy the first Region in terms of contribution to Italian Manufacturing volume and performance. 

Lombardy Region is following the path of sustainable development reacting through its own legislative framework and supporting the measures targeting new market opportunities and emerging social needs for a smarter and safer territory. 

This roadmapping initiative, activated by Lombardy Region as a cross-sectorial action involving multiple directorates and stakeholders, was launched by DG Research with the need to complement the S3 with transversal key approaches. 

The Roadmapping Group was led and coordinated by DG Research, AFIL – Lombardy Intelligent Factory Association (the regional technology Cluster represented regional Advanced Manufacturing) and Finlombarda, the regional finance in-house company. Representatives of the 9 Lombardy Technological Cluster participated to the roadmapping process have represented the priorities of their specialization areas and invited also their key stakeholders (companies, universities and research bodies) to suggest new or confirm the identified priorities. Thus, the definition of the Regional Circular Economy Roadmap is based on relevant inter-cluster cooperation process. 

In parallel, Lombardy Region launched a public consultation in October/November 2019, asking all regional stakeholders and civil society to propose shared paths for sustainable development to be integrated as input in the definition of “Sustainable Development Strategy”. The survey registered 2300 participants and Circular Economy was one of the main topics proposed by respondents. 
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