WBC Virtual Manufacturing Network - Fostering an Integration of the Knowledge Triangle

The Regional TEMPUS project WBC-VMnet, entitled "WBC Virtual Manufacturing Network - Fostering an Integration of the Knowledge Triangle", whose implementation began in January 2009, is contributing to the establishment of sustainable co-operation between key actors in the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation in the Western Balkan region.

The ultimate goal of the "WBC Virtual Manufacturing Network" is to contribute to the modernization of the WB universities through capacity building and establishment of effective mechanisms for cooperation with the private sector in developing products and processes using the technology of virtual manufacturing.

Lead partner is the University of Kragujevac (Serbia) and the project is implemented in partnership with European and regional universities and research centers, the agency for economic development and businesses in the Western Balkans, as follows: University of Padova (Italy), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), Institute for Production Engineering (Denmark), research centre C3M (Slovenia), University of Rijeka (Croatia), University of Banja Luka (Bosnia&Herzegovina), University of Montenegro (Montenegro), Regional Economic Development Agency (Serbia), and four SMEs from the WBCs: SCGM, Metalik, Tri best and ELKON Gerätebau.

The specific project objectives are as follows:

  1. To set up and equip regional Collaborative Training Centers in four WBC countries
  2. To enlarge VMnet network throughout the WBC region, bringing new experts and members of academia, research, business and governments
  3. To develop, assess  and implement new regional model for university-enterprise cooperation 
  4. To modernize and adjust vocational training programme to address the needs of small business and labour market
  5. To provide students with opportunity to gain practical experience in industry
  6. To raise awareness in the society about necessity of integration of the knowledge triangle for the region proserity and to ensure quality dissemination of project results and ideas 

During the project implementation four Collaborative Training Centers have been established at universities in Kragujevac, Rijeka, Banja Luka and Podgorica (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia&Herzegovina and Montenegro). In line with its institutional mission CTCs act as highly specialized service providers for WBC industry, in the areas: virtual/rapid product development and optimization using sophisticated CAE software tools, rapid prototyping and reverse engineering equipment, muli-sensor CMM for quality control and product certification. 

Experts of CTC centers develop and delivery customized trainings, as a result of a comprehensive Training&Service Needs Analysis (TSNA). In 2009 the project team developed  TSNA methodology in five steps, and conducted an analysis in the field with over 800 questionnaires, in collaboration with the National Employment Services. Thus, identifying the needs of enterprises and labor market in the WB region. Currently is available sixteen 40-hours trainings in areas: CAD/CAM/CAE modelling, product and tool design, the FE/FV simulation and optimization of production processes, industrial metrology, project management, quality control etc. CTCs have organized a set of informative (11 info days) and educational (3 motivational seminars “Join and benefit”, 2 workshops “Innovations in engineering design”) events in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia&Herzegovina. The third workshop will be held in May 2011 in Montenegro.

An effective mechanism for cooperation among stakeholders in the knowledge triangle is VMnet network (Virtual Manufacturing Network), which was established in 2007. VMnet has recorded steady growth and now has over 1070 members from all over the WBC region (university staff, companies, SMEs, R&D organizations, NGO, Agencies for SMEs, entrepreneurs, experts, managers, engineers, researchers, students etc.). Members are being updated and informed regularly about the latest news on important events, offered trainings, open calls, fairs, via emails and delivery of electronic brochures and journals. Network also gathers 18 experts from the areas of production technologies, materials, information technologies, software development, numerical simulation, rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, design and marketing, who offer support for companies in their R&D activities to implement new technologies, thus improving their competitiveness on the global market.

The most important result of the project is development and implementation of the new WBC regional model of university-enterprise cooperation, based on the EU good practices and specialities of the WBC region. The Regional model was adopted in June 2010, after public debate in the WBC region.

It proposes the following strategic measures:

  1. Establishment Science and Technology parks in regional university centers, which can be generator and place for new start-up or spin-off companies;
  2. Organization of WBC regional industrial clusters depending on field of research and business;
  3. Forming University-enterprises consortia for joint participation in FP7, EUREKA, TEMPUS and other EU funded projects;
  4. Establishment of regional Collaborative-training and/or Life-long learning centres;
  5. Setting up of Open Innovation Net­works with SMEs;
  6. Practical placements for students in industry;
  7. Industrial fellowship programme for graduates and/or employees from enterprises.

Project WBC-VMnet presented as an example of good practice in the project management at the annual meeting of the coordinators of the third cycle TEMPUS projects (more than 200 participants from 44 countries), organized by  EACEA (Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission) in Antwerp in December 2010.

Project type
  • Other
Country of the coordinating institution
Contact details
E-Mail: mandic@kg.ac.rs
Phone:+381 34 501 201
Fax:+381 34 501 901
Address: c/o Prof. Dr. Vesna Mandić, WBC-VMnet Coordinator University of Kragujevac Jovana Cvijica bb 34000 Kragujevac
Geographical focus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • International; Other
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Engineering and Technology
January 2009 - February 2012

Entry created by Vesna Mandic on March 9, 2011
Modified on March 29, 2012