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Brussels, 13 February 2009

Regions must 'network for results' to tackle financial crisis, climate change and energy fears, says Danuta Hübner

On Monday 16 February, Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner will open the annual "Regions for Economic Change" conference, launched by the Commission in 2006. The two-day event will provide an opportunity for more than 800 representatives from Europe's regions to share ideas and showcase their contribution to competitiveness, growth and jobs, One of the highlights of the event will be the announcement on Monday evening of the winners of the 2009 'RegioStars' Awards, celebrating the most inspiring and innovative projects funded by the EU's Cohesion Policy.

"The theme of this year's conference 'Networking for results' could hardly be more apt at a time when European regions are confronted with multiple global challenges - the financial crisis, climate change and energy supply to name but a few. Through Cohesion Policy networks, we can promote and mainstream good practice and experience in the regions so everybody can benefit,” said Commissioner Hübner.

Regions will present examples of good practice in nine workshops covering the following thematic areas: water management, broadband access, immigration in cities, creativity and innovation, industrial reorganisation, the impact of climate change at the regional level, innovation fast track' networks, satellite information services and the Lisbon Monitoring Platform, which assesses the EU strategy for growth and jobs.

Cyril Svoboda, Minister for Regional Development, representing the Czech Presidency of the European Union, Luc Van den Brande President of the Committee of the Regions, and Ján Figel', Commissioner for Education, Training and Culture, will also address the conference.

In an evening event on 16 February, Commissioner Hübner and the President of the Jury, Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, will present the 2009 'RegioStars' awards to successful and innovative regional policy projects. Some 52 projects from 18 countries entered for this year's awards, which focus on three main categories:

  • research, technological development and innovation,;
  • Adaptation to or mitigation of climate change;
  • Audiovisual spot or programme highlighting the contribution of Cohesion Policy.

Examples of existing networks of regions and cities

Since 2006, several networks of regions, supported by the European Commission under the Regions for Economic Change initiative, have developed, including:

B3 REGIONS, a network led by the Piedmont region (Italy). It tackles a key issue for the development of the knowledge economy: implementing connections in remote or disadvantaged areas.

RAPIDE, coordinated by the South West England Regional Development Agency (UK), deals with the role of the public sector in stimulating innovation in regions, in particular helping small businesses bring innovative products to market more quickly. This network gathers 12 European regions.

HerO, led by Regensburg (Germany), is a network of 10 cities which aims to promote sustainable management strategies for historical urban landscapes.

Note for editors

The conference is organised by the European Commission in partnership with the Committee of the Regions. The aim of the Regions for Economic Change initiative is to enable experience and good practice in Europe's regions to be shared as widely as possible, and exploited fully to promote competitiveness, growth and jobs.

During the period 2007-2013, funding of €375 million is available under Cohesion Policy for networking and learning activities under the "Interregional cooperation" strand.

For further information on “Regions for Economic Change" and 'RegioStars' awards:

This website also offers interesting case studies and examples of the best use of EU investment for the modernisation of the regions.

Finalists for REGIOSTARS 2009- The Awards for regional innovative projects

The finalists are listed here (in no particular order):

Category1: Research, Technological Development and Innovation

ROADEX – Interreg project, Lead partner Västerbotten, Sweden

This project involves trans-national collaboration, networking and research on a wide range of aspects affecting rural roads which maximises their potential and contributes to the sustainability of local communities. (EU contribution: €488 333)

Lahti Cleantech Cluster, Päijät-Häme, Finland

The aim of this project was to strengthen the development work between companies and development organisations specialising in recycling, materials and energy efficiency, water management and soil decontamination. (EU contribution: €1.5 million)

Berlin Adlershof – City of Science, Technology and Media, Berlin, Germany

This project was the development of a campus (Adlershof) into a leading Science Park improving the links between science, research and technology with innovative business and efficient services. (EU contribution: €87.6 million)

Proof of Concept, North East of England, UK

The Proof of Concept Fund, an early-stage technology investment fund, is at the heart of science and technology SME development investing at the very earliest stages of business creation and growth. (EU contribution: €5.6 million)

Science Park Potsdam – Golm, Brandenburg,Germany

As a result of a regional strategy scientific and academic institutions have settled at the Science Centre in Golm, this in turn has become one of the most significant engines of innovation in the region. (EU contribution: €74.3 million)

LOFAR, Northern Components, The Northern Netherlands Provinces, The Netherlands

The LOFAR project is aimed at developing and constructing a sensor network for the collection and processing of real-time streaming data in support of a very sensitive radio telescope for an array of geophysical sensors and in the field of precision agriculture. (EU contribution: €10.8 million)

DIPLE Printing Technologies, Wales, UK

The main aim of DIPLE was to perform case study projects with partner companies, develop best practice methodologies and innovative uses of printing to create high quality value added products. These could then be used as the basis for knowledge transfer. (EU contribution: £1.13 million or €1.26 million)

Cenaero Recherches, Hainaut, Belgium

This project aimed to start up new a centre of excellence in aeronautical research dedicated to advanced simulation and modelling for multi-physics applications, virtual manufacturing, multi-scale material and structure modelling, multidisciplinary optimization, and high performance computing. (EU contribution: €4.12 million)

ISFOC, Castilla la Mancha, Spain

Focussing on field tests, standardization and know-how in a developing market, the Institute for Concentration Photovoltaic Systems aims to assist, through collaborative projects, companies and universities to adapt their supply to the technological demand in the field of Concentration Photovoltaic. (EU contribution: €5.6 million)

West Midlands Technology Network, West Midlands, UK

The aim of WMTN was to make university expertise more accessible to companies and to use that expertise in a practical way to make a strategic difference to the region's productivity by increasing the competitiveness of regional companies. (EU contribution: £9.9 million or €11 million)

REGENERGY, Interreg project, Lead partners Berlin and Brandenburg Germany

This is a Europe-wide network of pioneering communities and regions working on innovative organisational, regulatory, policy and financing solutions in the area of heating and cooling. (EU contribution: €831 000)

SpaceInnovation SAAR, Saarland, Germany

This initiative organises the innovation process between the European space community and non-space, high-tech, sectors in Saarland, providing a spin-in approach that generates new and high quality collaborations. (EU contribution: €79 826)

Lasers for Micromachining and Diagnostics, Lithuania

This project brought together four Lithuanian laser technology and photonic enterprises for the purpose of developing top quality industrial lasers intended for particularly subtle micromachining. (EU contribution: €1.09 million)

Centre of Excellence "Nanoscience and Nanotechnology", Central Slovenia

This R&D project on nano-electronic devices for nanotechnology has combined research facilities at public research units with those in the business sector, providing closer cooperation and better utilisation of research results for economic development. (EU contribution: €829 369)

Ashfield Skills Centre, East Midlands, UK

This project delivered five discrete, but philosophically linked, learning environments over the course of four years, delivering high quality vocation courses to meet the skills shortages identified by local employers. (EU contribution: £2.25 million or €2.5 million)

Corallia – The Hellenic Technology Clusters Initiative, Attica, Greece

This project facilitates the advancement of industry-driven innovation clusters in knowledge-intensive and exports-oriented technology segments where there is capacity to build a worldwide competitive advantage and a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Corallia has supported the emergence of the first cluster in Greece in the area of Microelectronics and Embedded Systems. (EU contribution: €3.29 million)

ESTIIC: Fostering competitiveness through Innovation and Information Society, Interreg Project, lead partner Asturias, Spain

The aim of this interregional project has not only been to improve regional cooperation in specific technological areas but to harness the knowledge obtained through collaborative projects for use in the future. (EU contribution: €3.1 million)

Category 2: Adaptation to or mitigation of climate change

Photovoltaic Electricity Production – Ile de la Réunion, France

This project involves photovoltaic electricity production from panels located on three industrial buildings connected to one transformer, thereby increasing the autonomy of the island's electricity production, adapting techniques in a tropical environment and creating local employment. (EU contribution: €623 691)

The Northern Maritime Corridor, Interreg project, lead partner Rogaland, Norway

The overall aim and vision of this interregional project is that the Northern Maritime Corridor should be a means of efficient, safe and sustainable transportation, connecting costal areas and enhancing regional development in the North Sea Region and the Northern Periphery Region. (EU contribution: €5.3 million)

EnergyAgency.NRW, North Rhine-Westphalia,Germany

This service provider acts as a strategic platform with wide-ranging competence in the energy domain, from funding of research, technical development, demonstration and market launch to energy consultancy and continuous vocational training. (EU contribution: €6.3 million)

Category 3: Radio or television spot or programme that highlights the contribution of Cohesion Policy

"The EU Funds (The Dog)" from the Czech Republic

"Do you know about ... ESPA?" and "Now, you know about ...ESPA" from Greece

"It's good to be proud" from Hungary

"The European Union and the Province Zuid-Holland" from The Netherlands

"National Cohesion Strategy Image Campaign" from Poland

For more information:

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