The University of Western Macedonia, known for its long academic history and high status in the local community and among international affiliates, has undertaken a key role in implementing the new development model for the region. In this framework, it will undertake flagship Master Plan actions for clean energy and retraining of human resources.
Energy Research and Technology Valley
The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with a budget estimated at 50-60 million euros has been assigned with building up an Energy Research and Technology Valley, which will contribute to clean energy research and new technologies. The Valley will promote cooperation and interaction among the relevant research institutions in Western Macedonia (University and CERTH) and research teams of large enterprises, with a view to developing innovative technologies in electromobility, alternative fuels, hydrogen and energy storage technologies. In addition, it will be an incubator for start-ups which will exploit the research outcomes at UoWM.
The specific major investment plan is based on support actions and construction projects, such as the new University Campus in Kozani in the Zone of Active Urban Planning. It is estimated that hundreds of jobs will be created both during the construction and operation of the Valley.
The Energy Research and Technology Valley, a research and business activity location, will provide the relevant conditions, in which Western Macedonia will continue to be the energy hub of Greece and will also contribute to:
- forming research synergies and innovative technology cradles
- promoting the international status of the University by attracting young researchers and students from abroad to pursue courses in energy, humanities, economics, and management
- enhancing scientific tourism in Western Macedonia by hosting international conferences and meetings
- motivating local qualified staff to stay in Western Macedonia and organizing training courses for the new workforce
- mobilizing investment in a competitive and promising business framework
Human resources retraining
The creation of new jobs and redeployment of the workforce affected by the transition is a core aspect of the Master Plan. Facilities building and start-ups are expected to require reskilling human resources and recruiting qualified specialist staff (researchers/scientists, business executives). In addition, the Plan will create a significant number of positions for horticulturists, agronomists, winemakers, farmers, stockbreeders, catering and tourism employees as well as administrative staff.
In the context of Just transition, a key role for human resources retraining is assigned to the Lifelong Learning Center (KEDIVIM) of the University of Western Macedonia. KEDIVIM, with a long academic experience, modern facilities, and international affiliates will cater for retraining human resources (Re-skilling) and enhancing skills (Up-skilling). It will also develop special tailored needs-oriented assistance programs for improving already acquired skills and knowledge, and enabling people gain new competencies in new jobs.
Specialised Innovation Zone for Clean Energy and Environmental Technologies in Western Macedonia
The first programme to receive a Green Fund approval involves financing green projects in the “Power-generation Municipalities”, Kozani, Florina, Amyntaio, Ptolemaida and Megalopolis. The programme is comprised of seven sub-programmes, among which an Innovation Zone in the existing power generation areas of Kozani, Ptolemaida, Amyntaio and Florina, in accordance with the international Innovation Zone standards.
The University of Western Macedonia, in collaboration with the National Center for Research and Innovation (CERTH), will draw up a feasibility study, and investigate organizational and establishment issues about the Zone, at the invitation of the Green Fund.