Manufacturing sector is an excellence in Alpine Space (AS) and represents 40% of the whole European sector, with a high share of SMEs and family owned businesses along the value chain. While enterprises build on traditional knowledge close to the AS territory, many of them are not as competitive as wished in global markets, resulting in increased levels of unemployment, abandoned facilities, remaining plants that need new products and processes. On the other hand, the R&D sector and specialisation on Industry 4.0 and Factory of the Future (FoF) technologies are extremely strong in the AS, but with centres of excellence and connections between economic and R&D sector to be improved. This can be pursued thanks to an increase in knowledge transfer and transversal cooperation among business actors and universities, research institutions and policy makers, in order to allow a synergic growth of the whole innovation system towards specialisation in FoF added value and digital technologies.
The holistic and result-oriented approach capitalises on existing and fostered practices and technologies addressing growth of manufacturing sector towards FoF in the AS. Considering specialisation in pursuing excellence at various levels of the value chain and the need of boosting connections among innovation actors, the approach adopted by PPs in synergy with stakeholders will be “bifocal” since it will focus on (1) identifying critical success factors and FoF practices in both upstream and downstream (e.g. added value for customers) value chain, (2) stimulating their spread and transfer at both national and transnational level, (3) evaluating their impact through both measurable and qualitative indicators. The finalisation of project activities will then require the integration of the competences of business (especially SMEs and clusters), research and policy actors, merging the theoretical aspects with the attention on the real impact of FoF adoption, also on policy agenda.