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Climate-KIC’s Pioneers into Practice programme begins its fourth year

The fourth year of the European programme, Pioneers into Practice has begun in seven European regions.

The Pioneers into Practice programme is the professional mobility of climate change experts and brings together 240 professionals from 13 countries, from the academic, research and business sectors.

Participants, experts on matters related to climate change, receive additional training which gives them new tools to trigger changes in products, services and production processes to mitigate and adapt to climate change through innovation.

Pioneers in Practice has a team of mentors who support the pioneers throughout the programme . The programme consists of two placements, one regional and one international. During the four weeks in a host entity, the participants work in a different environment, where they apply their knowledge and acquired tools.

The Valencian region, the European programme coordinator, held an introductory day at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, where the 45 participants learnt more about the programme and developed the first phases of the project. Among the pioneers, are the first Portuguese participants; Portugal was first introduced to the programme in a pilot plan.

Introductory Workshop

The three day workshop began with a welcome by José E. Capilla, Vice – Rector for Research of the UPV, who together with Carmen de Rosa, Deputy Director of Environment of the Valencian Regional Government, highlighted climate change as the greatest global challenge of the XXI century, and the importance of working on mitigation and adaptation, as well as the opportunity given to these selected professionals to contribute with their talents to develop a low carbon economy, where innovation and entrepreneurship have a key role.

The first day, with a more informative component , included the address of Javier González , technician of the Department of Environment , who explained the Valencian strategy in the fight against climate change, with results above the Spanish average.

The pioneers could also learn about the European framework of existing policies on climate change and RIS3 initiative ( research and innovation strategy for smart specialisation ), from Francisco Ferrando , director of RIC Valencia, José Luis Muñoz , European coordinator of the Pioneers in Action programme, and Manuel Sánchez Aimme.

The rest of the day was led by Celsa Monrós and Marta Esteve , both from FCVRE, who focused their speech on administrative issues and presenting the network platform on line, as a meeting of the Community to the European level that are working to combat climate change within the climate -KIC initiative.

Host institutions were also invited, in order that they can better understand the programme, being involved in the work plan of the pioneers and get the most out of this very novel experience .

In the Valencian region, four innovation groups have been created to increase the effectiveness and impact of the actions; building and neighborhood , transport and mobility, energy networks and water and land management.

The second and third days were immensely practical, revealing the transitional thinking methodology and tools developed by the Dutch mentor Lydia Sterrenberg , to get the pioneers out of their ” comfort zone “, where they usually work. During the workshop, the pioneers had the support of the mentoring team, coordinated by Cristian Matti, from Ingenio .

Exchanging opinions with pioneers, we’ve been able to gather their first impressions : “Great experience, learned a lot and excellent way to meet like-minded people, professionally and at a personal level.,” “I found it was a great experience. Mentors and other staff communicated very well with us, and put responsibility for change on us. … “, ” I felt very good and I have a lot of enthusiasm now to start working within Climate-KIC programme thanks to this workshop. Very practical. Good exercises. I liked the networking exercises … ” .