PED Innovation Ateliers: a place to discuss, learn and collaborate

One of the unique features of the SCC project ATELIER is the dedicated task of establishing Positive Energy District (PED) Innovation Ateliers in its cities, which  play a crucial role in the realisation of PEDs in line with the cities’ ambitions to becoming climate neutral.

According to the SET-plan Action 3.2 (2018), the successful implementation of PEDs requires an open innovation model for their planning, deployment and replication. It also requires cooperation within the city context with different types of stakeholders, from industry, service providers and investors to citizens.

Figure 1: The Quadruple helix in an open innovation system (Credits: Yun & Liu, 2019)

The open innovation model of the PED Innovation Ateliers offers its cities, stakeholders and local partners (the actors from the local Quadruple helix) a place and network to discuss, learn, collaborate, and strengthen the local innovation ecosystem, ultimately helping to  implement the innovative smart urban solutions in the PEDs.

In the PED Innovation Ateliers, the local PED innovation ecosystem is involved in the joint development, assessment and review of technical solutions and measures. At the same time, they are dedicated to develop and review supportive measures, to identify, and where possible, remove obstacles coming from conventional or old structures that might be in competition with the development of a PED. They have an important task in developing and reviewing new institutional arrangements, new forms of cooperation and governance, new business models and funding mechanisms that support these smart urban solutions.



Over the last 14 months, ATELIER’s Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao have made fundamental steps in establishing the PED Innovation Ateliers in action. The cities have identified the partners and stakeholders to collaborate with in the context of their PED Innovation Atelier; and they have adopted dedicated organisation structures to shape this collaboration. Discussions in the cities PED Innovation Ateliers among the partners have led to objectives and the formulation of visions and missions, resulting in identification of topics and issues to address as part of workshops and sessions with partners and experts from the outside to help implement specific measures.

Figure 2: Development stages of the PED Innovation Atelier (Credits: TNO)


Amsterdam Kick-off event

In December 2020, the Amsterdam demo project Schoonschip, located in the PED Buiksloterham, hosted the kick-off event of the Amsterdam PED Innovation Atelier. In this hybrid construct, over 100 participants joined through a webinar link and followed the interviewing of a number of stakeholders and participants of the PED Innovation Atelier in Amsterdam. They were discussing the objectives and the importance of having sustainable demonstration activities for further upscaling of decarbonisation initiatives in cities, like the ATELIER project. Focusing on increasing citizen awareness and actual involvement of inhabitants in city projects, and the necessity for real collaboration between a wide variety of partners and stakeholders underlined the need for having a vehicle such as the Amsterdam PED Innovation Atelier, to support the implementation process of demonstration activities and innovations.


Next steps

In the months to come, the PED Innovation Ateliers will further mature their operation and work on sustaining the activities of the PED Innovation Ateliers beyond the end of the ATELIER project in four years.

In parallel, work is starting on preparation activities with the ATELIER Fellow Cities, to ensure a good starting point in establishing PED Innovation Ateliers in their specific PED contexts as well from November 2021 onwards.

For further reading on the PED Innovation Atelier concept and approach, for practical help and support in establishing a PED Innovation Atelier organisation, please have a look at the recently published Deliverable 3.1  ”The PED Innovation Atelier Organisation Document”. You can also directly contact the leading ATELIER partner of the PED Innovation Ateliers at TNO, Jeroen Brouwer via