The MAKE-IT consortium presents a truly cross-disciplinary research team with a very strong representation of the target groups, namely the maker communities. The partners have been carefully selected to cover the specific objectives of the project, which is rooted in the maker movement itself. The scientific partners have already established working relationships and are key players in studying (digital) social innovation and their implications. Similarly, the makers in the consortium have established links, either amongst each other or with one of the scientific partners. In some cases, the different roles are covered by a single partner organisation, such as DTI, which functions as a core scientific partner and has an active maker space to be involved as a case study.
Although there is some overlap in terms of expertise we can generally group the partners into research & technology partners on the one hand and practitioners from the maker communities on the other hand. The leading scientific partners are TNO, DTI, ZSI and TUDO. All four institutions have a strong interest and history in innovation studies, with a strong focus on social and socio-technical innovations. The Maker movement is highly complex and the organisations falling under this term vary greatly in their characteristics, spanning from individual makers, maker communities, maker ecosystems, maker networks, etc. In MAKE-IT different types of maker organisations are represented in the consortium.
|No||Participant organisation name||Short name||Country||Nature|
|01||Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek||TNO||Netherlands||Research|
|03||Zentrum für Soziale Innovation||ZSI||Austria||Research|
|04||Technische Universität Dortmund||TUDO||Germany||Research|
|05||The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) | Fab Lab Barcelona||IAAC||Spain||Research/Maker|
|06||Fab Lab Zagreb||FLZ||Croatia||Maker|
|08||Sihtasutus Teaduskeskus AHHAA||AHHAA||Estonia||Maker|
|09||Create it REAL ApS||CIR||Denmark||Maker|
TNO (Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek), the project coordinator, is an independent research organization whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organizations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. It is important for TNO to connect people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the sustainable competitive strength of industry and well-being of society. TNO’s unique position is attributable to its versatility and capacity to integrate this knowledge. TNO’s Strategy & Policy expertise center is one of Europe’s leading units on the topic of innovation, sustainability, and (interactive) policy making. Innovation management and strategies are core research areas of the core group in MAKE-IT. As the overall coordinator TNO has a leading role in the project, it will contribute to the conceptual framework, lead the action research and contribute to the technological developments supporting the action research.
DTI, The Danish Technological Institute, is a self-owned and not-for-profit research institution. DTI has a close link to Danish and international business sectors and thus mainly participates in research and development projects, which are of use to society. DTI works across a broad range of industries as well as in leading edge sectors. Being at the forefront of innovation DTI is also experimenting with new forms of collaboration and production and thus runs its own FabLab. DTI is thus a core research partner in this project driving the conceptual framework along the three analytical pillars. In addition, DTI also has its own case in the maker community and is ideally positioned for action research in this field.
ZSI, Centre for Social Innovation, is an independent research institution that conducts research on the social embedding and impact of all types of innovations, and contributes to the design and diffusion of socially accepted and sustainable innovations to meet social challenges. By deployment of innovative research, education, advisory services and coordination of networks, ZSI create new knowledge, reflect and configure existing knowledge, evaluate measures, develop concepts and forward their implementation. As independent and globally acting scientific institution, ZSI is engaged in the development of theories, methodologies, instruments and measures as well as in the dissemination of a systemically conceptualized broad innovation approach. The Technology and Knowledge Unit of ZSI has a long tradition in actively exploring and engaging in socio-technical innovations applying a broad range of participatory methods. This will also be applied in the case of MAKE-IT, where ZSI will coordinate the case explorations and contribute with their theoretical and methodological expertise to the project.
TUDO, Technical University Dortmund, has a long tradition of researching and teaching at the global intersection between man, nature, and technology. It has developed a unique profile with a special combination of faculties in the natural sciences and engineering, the social sciences and the humanities. This structure produces new knowledge, methodologies and technical innovations. The unit involved in MAKE-IT from TUDO is the “sfs” (social research center), which is one of the largest German research institutes in social sciences. sfs with its focus on application-oriented social research is working on the theoretical foundations of social innovation as well as its practical implementation. Particular interest lies in the fields of education, employment, and sustainable development. sfs has run a series of scientific workshops on social innovation since 2009 and together with ZSI is one of the leading European institutions performing research on social innovation. The scientific expertise of TUDO will contribute especially to the theoretical part of concept and analysis. In addition TUDO will also perform studies on maker communities in their region.
IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) is an academic institution that hosts Fab Lab Barcelona, which is a leading organisation in the worldwide network of Fab Labs. Fab Lab Barcelona is the global coordination entity for Fab Academy, a digitally distributed educational platform where students develop knowledge about the principles, applications and implications of digital manufacturing technologies. As a city and regional hub Fab Lab Barcelona explores the relationship between the digital and physical worlds by integrating digital technologies into research projects focusing on fabrication and empower individuals to build on their knowledge to create everyday objects. As an internationally recognized player, Fab Lab Barcelona is also hubbing a growing global network.
IAAC is a core partner in MAKE-IT contributing with scientific as well as practical knowledge to the exploratory studies and following a vision of wider global networking across Maker communities.
FLZ (Fab Lab Zagreb) is the first Fab Lab in Croatia, registered as an NGO and with good relations with the Faculty of Architecture at Zagreb University, which also undertakes teaching. Fab Lab Zagreb is based on the Fab Charter and its main focus is to promote digital fabrication to general public in cooperation with similar organisations on local level and internationally. Fab Lab Zagreb has experience in local maker workshops and strongly believes that value aided generated in such makers workshops can significantly contribute to local economy, but also to well-being of modern society. Those are not only places where ideas can be developed to products, but also places where various fields of interest are mixed together and generated new ideas and values. Similar idea and effort are noticed globally and recognized as solid base for further small scale changed in global economy. Digital fabrication, furthermore, is one of the fields of industry and economy, which might have significant influence in future period. Therefore education from earliest age is one of the important role of those organizations. It is playground that changes the way of thinking from consumable society to productive one, and this is one of most important activity Fab Lab Zagreb emphasizes its further efforts. MAKE-IT fits thus very well with this future vision of Fab Lab Zagreb and offers the opportunity to explore this in a wider European setting.
HLW (HappyLab) in Vienna is Austria’s first FabLab. With currently about 1,500 regular users and a growth rate of 1 to 2 users daily the demand in the metropolitan region of Vienna is clearly visible. Key to this development is the combination of professional equipment and low-threshold access. A goal of HappyLab is to provide Fab Lab infrastructure throughout Austria in the medium term. In order to survive economically aside from large cities such as Vienna new approaches are needed to address a larger target group. Therefore Happylab has developed special offers for children and teenagers as well as people without technical knowledge.
The Happylab is an interdisciplinary entry point for all who have creative and/or technological project ideas. It is embedded within a framework of universities, business incubators, funding agencies, specialized SMEs, industries to provide the lab users with services when their idea grows beyond the scope of the lab. A regular exchange with policy makers is also necessary in order to realize the maker movement as a chance for the society. Collaboration and learning from each other is another important point in the Happylab community. In addition to the physical meeting place provided for joint working and tinkering, a web-based forum and a wiki page also offer the opportunity to exchange experiences. For Happylab MAKE-IT is an important project to study internal processes and value creation as well for exploring new ways of expanding the national network in a sustainable way.
AHHAA is a foundation founded by Tartu University, Tartu city and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Science. As the biggest science center in the Baltic region AHHAA aims at making science and research subjects interesting for the public. As a local innovator, AHHAA organized the very first Maker Faire of the region in Tartu as part of the Researchers’ Night Festival 2014 (the event was called Tartu Mini Maker Faire). The Mini Maker Faire attracted over 150 makers and over 1000 visitors and included activities encouraging grass root experimenting (such as the constructing of DIY solar panels or extracting DNA). The Mini Maker Faire’s success encouraged AHHAA to organize it again in 2015.
Maker activities in Estonia are led mainly by the community-driven organisations and groups such as the MakerLab in Tallinn or the Tartu Centre for Creative Industries in Tartu that provide the facilities (rooms) and tools for starting makers looking to set up their businesses but also to established entrepreneurs in need of specialist equipment they do not own yet or the specialist knowledge they lack because of limited personnel hiring capacity. However, as there is no established and government-supported maker space network in the country, AHHAA with its Mini Maker Faire tradition aims to operate as a temporary substitute for a get-together space and event platform for the makers that do not have an official space for meeting like-minded people at other times of the year. Tartu Mini Maker Faire functions as a meeting ground for policy-makers and makers to give the former the chance to see the condition of the maker community in the country in order to influence positive changes in the future legal and economic framework imposed on companies and entrepreneurs operating in Estonia. The Mini Maker Faire also contributed to the formation of a stronger maker-centred network in the country. With the participation in this project, the networking activities will be carried on beyond national borders.
CIR (Create It Real) has a clearly technical profile, offering 3D printing and related technologies. Complementary to the scientific partners DTI and TNO, who also bring technical expertise to the consortium, CIR has a strong focus on hardware products that are key technologies for the maker communities.