Circular DigiBuild
Boosting the uptake of emerging technologies in circular economy implementation in construction and buildings industry in Danube region to sustainably harness the tween transition for greener future
Something about the project
The construction industry plays a strategic role in the EU economy, accounting for 9% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 18 million direct jobs, a large part of it - in Danube countries area.While often considered a traditional and low-tech industry, construction industry is undergoing important transformation processes, driven by the introduction of new technologies, greater attention to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. This transformation towards a smarter and greener construction industry requires new collaborations along and across the value chains and with different sectors and the integration of new service providers. It implies to adopt smart materials, intelligent systems, sustainable and digital tools, processes, products, and services. Building sustainably means building responsibly by reducing waste and helping preserve the environment in the construction activities, following the guiding principles of circular economy.
The construction and building industry in Danube region deplete resources, generates over a third of the total waste generation and emits greenhouse gases at a tremendous scale and speed.
The fragmented and risk-averse construction sector is slow to adopt digital innovation. Digital technologies serve as a prerequisite for a shift to circular constructions where building materials are reused. The circular economy (CE) has the potential to capitalise upon emerging digital technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of things (IoT), amongst others. These digital technologies combined with business model innovation are deemed to provide solutions to myriad problems in the diverse Danube region, including those related to circular economy transformation.
Beyond the CE, the EU has prioritised digital transformation as recently announced in 'Europe's Digital Decade'. The documentation shows a clear vision for a digital transition in the EU by 2030, which includes the digital empowerment of businesses, contributing to a sustainable, climate-neutral, and resource-efficient economy. This suggests a clear link between digitisation and CE. Digital technologies are considered not only the main driver for the digital transition of various industries but also essential for their transition to a CE.
On the other side, there is a huge disparity in the level of preparedness and implementation both of digitalisation and CE solutions implemented in construction and building industries across DANUBE countries.
An effective opportunity is to harness the inventive power of the Danube pioneer countries to commonly design and produce solutions (and stimulate innovative start-ups and spin-offs) to problems both in leading and in lagging countries to ensure consistent improvement on transnational level. Digital-led innovations in CE in construction are likely to boost regional growth by diversifying local economies and creating new "clean-construction" employment opportunities diminishing the impact on cities and nature. New innovation-led business models in construction need to be developed by bringing together enterprises from different regions and industries. However, no holistic transnational approach currently exists, so industry stakeholders in the Danube Region are not able to act in a connected way or properly benefit from existing potential.
Fostering interregional business-to-business collaboration to effectively coordinate and orchestrate CE conductive ecosystem relationships will incept a sustainable change in implementation of emerging technologies in construction, harnessing the improvement of related policies.
The benefits of many technological advances will materialise only if the whole regional ecosystem is ready to master the digitalisation challenge and meet the increasing sustainability demand. This calls for a holistic perspective taking account of the public and private sector actors along the construction value chain. Policymakers need to embrace such complexity and provide differentiated support to the private sector depending on its characteristics. Public sector interventions are more effective when aligned and/or coordinated with private sector initiatives and this is the reason to initiate this project, gathering partners from all countries in Danube area except Ukraine, representing quadruple-helix.
The role of SME intermediaries, such as a Network and a Cluster for transnational cooperation between innovation and business actors, is crucial to promote and encourage the uptake of innovation amongst construction firms and help them to identify right steps and partners to team up with. A deployed ecosystem considering overcoming the disparities between east and west, EU and non-EU partner states, rural-urban, with a dedicated platform will help to enhance the connections with technology centres, digital innovation hubs and firms based across Danube to promote their digital-led CE innovation activities.
Our services
- Enhancing innovation and technology transfer in Danube region

- Forging new pathways to commonly enhance digitalisation-led circular economy innovations identification, piloting and transfer in construction and buildings industry and related policies in Danube region, ensuring stable pre-conditions to shifting the focus to a more sustainable territorial development.

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