Wittenborg Research Centre visit Greece for project partner collaboration
On 5 October, Wittenborg CEO Maggie Feng and EU Project Manager Aydan Ismayilova, both representing Wittenborg Research Centre, travelled to Athens, Greece, as part of the European Commission Erasmus+ funded project titled “INnovation in the FURniture Industry in the Era of Circular Economy” (INFURI). The purpose of the trip was twofold: to attend and participate in the Multiplier Event on 5 October, organised by the Greek project partner Creative Thinking Development (CRETHIDEV), and to attend the third transnational partner meeting on 6 October.
The INFURI Project is a 30-month long project which commenced in December 2020. The aim of the project is to spread innovative and sustainable circular business models in the furniture industry with the focus on SMEs and to equip furniture employees with relevant skills related to circularity, while promoting synergies and cooperation among businesses, universities, research centres and other relevant stakeholders operating in the furniture sector.
The project consortium is international and diverse, representing 9 institutions from 7 different countries in total: CIAPE - Centro Italiano per l'Apprendimento Permanente (Italy), Materially Impresa Sociale S.R.L. (Italy), Creative Thinking Development (Greece), Virtual Campus LDA (Portugal), STEP Institut, zavod za psihologijo dela in podjetnistvo (Slovenia), Mizarstvo Ornik (Slovenia), Instituto Tecnologico Metalmecanico, Mueble, Madera, Embalaje y Afines-Aidimme (Spain), and Ogolnopolska Izba Gospodarcza Producentow Mebli (Poland).
The Multiplier Event, organised by CRETHIDEV, took place on the evening of 5 October in Stratos Vassilikos Hotel, Athens. At this event, the INFURI project was introduced and its activities were described. There were also a number of presentations given by Ph.D. researchers on the use of sustainable materials, including one on the innovative use of peach skins to develop the fabric for sustainable bridal gowns.
The third Transnational Partner Meeting took place on the morning of 6 October in Ntrafi, a suburb north of Athens on Penteli Mountain. The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format – online and in person – and almost all of the partners were in attendance. The agenda of the meeting mainly consisted of discussion of the project progress, and in particular the progress on the works being carried out in relation to the Intellectual Outputs.
There are five Intellectual Outputs (IOs) to be disseminated as results of the INFURI Project, namely a Circular Economy Living Labs and Manifesto together with a scientific paper entitled “Exploring Barriers for Circularity in the EU Furniture Industry” (IO1); an online MOOC course hosted on UDEMY, entitled "Managing a Furniture Company in the Era of Circular Economy" (IO2); A Book of Lectures titled "Integrated Competencies and Systemic Approach in the Era of Circular Economy" (IO3); a Multi-Actor Circular Network (IO4); and Circular Procurement Guidelines for Office Furniture (IO5).
The partners attending the meeting gave detailed updates in relation to the progress made and there were discussions regarding the next steps to be completed in relation to the IOs. Dates for upcoming project-related events were also provisionally scheduled, including Learning, Teaching & Training (LTTA) activities in Slovenia from 20 to 24 March 2023 and the final INFURI Project Conference and Transnational Partner Meeting from 11 to 12 May 2023.
Overall, the project consortium very much enjoyed coming together to collaborate on the topic of circular economy in the furniture industry, while enjoying the notable Greek hospitality of the host partner. For more information and to read about project updates, please visit the official project website, the project’s Facebook page and the project’s LinkedIn page.
By Selina White