Brussels, 7 February 2013
Investing in our future: Good examples of EU funded projects
The European Union budget is relatively small (around 1% of EU GNI), but it can make a big difference. Around 94% of the European Union budget supports researchers, businesses, farmers, regions, young people and many others.
Too little is known about the concrete projects on the ground and how they bring about concrete results and benefits for citizens and businesses as well as for the wider European economy. This non-exhaustive list of good EU projects gives you an idea. Did you know for example that the EU supports solutions to traffic and environmental problems in European cities, that it helps to preserve our environment, allows for energy savings and makes our economy more sustainable? That it supports reconciliation in Northern Ireland? That it brings together universities and researchers or helps local farmers? It spurs economic and social development in poorer regions and supports the unemployed. Progress in cancer research helps patients and creates new treatments. Top-class researchers are enabled to pool knowledge and save money in transnational research projects that benefit European competitiveness. Small and medium sized enterprises receive support to innovate. Risks stemming from climate change and natural disasters are mitigated. Young people get a chance to study, train and volunteer abroad. Children in conflict zones are supported, humanitarian aid is delivered and global food security is improved.
Environment + Climate change research
1. To save 1 500 trillion litres water annually, EU-funded researchers developed a smart irrigation system – Funding: EUR 2.23 million http://www.waterbee.eu
2. A team led by German researchers have uncovered first observed ozone hole in the Arctic region – Funding: EUR 3.5 million https://www.fp7-reconcile.eu/
3. A team led by British researchers is investigating how the melting of continental ice (glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets) will contribute to sea level rise over the next 2 centuries – Funding: almost EUR 10 million http://www.ice2sea.eu/
4. EU-funded research team develops biofuel made of algae to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Funding: EUR 1.43 million http://ow.ly/fl0Cx
5. By developing new desalination technology, EU researchers have made it possible to reduce freshwater use in cooling towers by 80% – Funding: EUR 9.65 million http://www.aquafit4use.eu/
6. EU project finding new solutions to make rivers and lakes cleaner, safer and more sustainable – Funding: EUR 6.98 million http://www.wiser.eu
7. Austrian paper recycling company has built new plant using sensor technologies developed in EU project to detect plastic impurities in waste paper – Funding: EUR 2.86 million www.sortit.eu
8. An Italian-led research group is finding ways to make historic buildings more energy efficient, helping protect our cultural heritage and climate – Funding: EUR 4.99 million http://www.3encult.eu/
9. First pan-European database for ocean monitoring is now available as a result of EU project involving 28 countries – Funding: EUR 33.8 million http://ow.ly/fkY2f
10. The "Human Brain Project" will create the world's largest experimental facility for developing the most detailed model of the brain, for studying how the human brain works and ultimately to develop personalised treatment of neurological and related diseases – Funding: EUR 54 million http://www.humanbrainproject.eu/
11. EU-funded researchers developed world's first wearable fall detection device for elderly people – Funding: EUR 1.1 million http://ow.ly/fkXEo
12. Multinational research team funded by EU designed and commercialised first portable X-ray machine – Funding: EUR 1.03 million http://ow.ly/fkXUF
13. EU-funded researchers in Denmark, UK, Greece, Norway and Spain find links between diets during pregnancy and babies' health – Funding: EUR 13.6 million http://www.newgeneris.org/
14. EU-funded scientists developed cheaper and faster HIV detection method – Funding: EUR 1.6 million http://ow.ly/fkZxC
15. EU invested EUR 1.1 million to develop T-ray scanners, a safer alternative to X-ray-based technologies – Funding: EUR 1.1 million http://ow.ly/fl2Ta
16. EU researchers examining potential for diamond particles to detect and help treat cancer – Funding: EUR 2.78 million http://www.fp7-dinamo.eu/about.html
17. Multinational EU research project finds way to use plant proteins to produce vaccines for humans and livestock – Funding: EUR 2 million http://www.plaprova.eu/
18. EU researchers have found molecular markers in thyroid cancer which helps identify radiation-induced tumours and improve risk estimation after the exposure to low-dose radiation – Funding: EUR 2.76 million http://www.helmholtz-muenchen.de/isb/genrisk-t/index.html
19. EU funding the largest study in the world on potential brain cancer risks of mobile phone use by kids – Funding: EUR 3.5 million http://www.mbkds.net/
20. EU-funded research has revealed that exposure to radiation from wireless devices is low except near wi-fi access points – Funding: EUR 3 million http://seawind-fp7.eu/
21. Utrecht University, the Netherlands, has led EU research into the long-term health effects of exposure to air pollution in Europe – Funding: EUR 5.85 million http://www.escapeproject.eu/index.php
22. Spanish company supported by EU research funds designed smart hospital beds that help patients & nurses – Funding: EUR 1.46 million http://ow.ly/fkYtP
23. International research team funded by EU works on efficient drug-delivery solutions against cancer – Funding: EUR 2.07 million http://ow.ly/fl2z0
24. Thought-controlled prosthetic limbs can become reality thanks to EU research funds – Funding: EUR 1.6 million http://ow.ly/fl3bh
25. EU-funded researchers found new evidence which helps to develop innovative heart disease prevention methods – Funding: EUR 0.24 million http://ow.ly/fl4UM
26. Austrian-led project finds way to turn slaughterhouse waste into bioplastics with help of EU funding – Funding: EUR 2.9 million http://www.animpol.tugraz.at/
27. EU research project aims to turn woodchips and sawdust into bio-composites for car seats and dashboards – Funding: EUR 4.3 million http://ow.ly/hqHim
28. EU helping Norwegian researchers create "vegetarian" diet for fish to aid sustainable aquaculture and consumers' health – Funding: EUR 10.5 million http://ow.ly/hqIby
29. EU-funded consortium developed technology to protect fish hatcheries from bacteria and improve fish farming – Funding: EUR 791 117 http://ow.ly/fkXLh
30. Irish-led research project is helping scientists assess human impact on cold water corals and fish in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean – Funding: EUR 6.5 million http://www.eu-fp7-coralfish.net/
31. The Graphene project will investigate and exploit the unique properties of a revolutionary carbon-based material. Graphene is an extraordinary combination of physical and chemical properties: it is the thinnest material, it conducts electricity much better than copper, it is 100-300 times stronger than steel and it has unique optical properties – Funding: EUR 54 million http://www.graphene-flagship.eu
32. Investing in complex, long term research, development and innovation projects can be risky. EU research funding has made it possible for companies to sign more than EUR 8.5 billion in EIB loans for 86 innovation projects, through its Risk Sharing Finance Facility www.eib.org/rsff
33. EU funded research project developed new glass engraving technique to fight counterfeit drugs – Funding: EUR 990 797 http://www.sfera-research.eu/
34. EU funds 16 researchers from 12 countries worldwide to develop smaller & more powerful 'organic' electronics – Funding: EUR 3.8 million http://ow.ly/fl1Bq
35. Up to EUR 1.2 billion a year can be now saved by food industry thanks to a new EU-funded technology for chocolate preservation – Funding: EUR 2.75 million http://projekt.sik.se/propraline/
36. Polish researchers funded by the EU discovered how to extract valuable chemicals from polluted water – Funding: EUR 100 000 http://ow.ly/fl7eX
37. A detector for earthquake victims trapped under rubble has been developed and is now tested by EU-funded team – Funding: EUR 4.9 million http://ow.ly/fl5PT
38. EU-funded researchers developed a method to detect explosives inside a container over distances of 100 m – Funding: EUR 2.49 million http://ow.ly/fl6bj
39. A team of Belgian-led researchers is investigating how to make societies more resilient to disasters – Funding: EUR 3.24 million http://www.embrace-eu.org/
40. Emergency tool developed through EU funding can prevent environmental disasters such as oil spills – Funding: EUR 1.13 million http://shiparrestor.com
41. An Unmanned robot designed by EU researchers can save lives and fight a fire where standard fire trucks can't intervene – Funding: EUR 803 315 http://ow.ly/hqKkO
42. Partners from EU-funded project ADDRESS have developed a unique Energy Box which will allow consumers to programme energy usage during non-peak periods, saving money – Funding: EUR 8.99 million http://www.addressfp7.org/
43. Potential of next generation biofuels being looked at in EU-funded research project BABETHANOL by engineers from Latin America & Europe – Funding: EUR 3.16 million http://babethanol.com/
44. EU supporting demonstration of zero emission buses using hydrogen fuel cell technology in circulation in several European cities – Funding: EUR 25.87 million http://chic-project.eu/
45. European researchers demonstrate that 70% of today’s polymers can be derived from biomass, massively reducing our dependence on petroleum-based plastic production – Funding: EUR 13.9 million http://www.biocore-europe.org/
46. EU project develops small solar power systems which will allow homes and workplaces to generate their own electricity and meet their heating and cooling requirements – Funding: EUR 3.27 million http://www.digespo.eu/default.aspx
47. Engineers in EU MARINA PLATFORM project have exploited the possibility to combine wind with waves, tides and currents in order to maximize the output of an offshore platform and to reduce costs – Funding: EUR 8.7 million http://www.marina-platform.info/
48. EU-funded researchers in Sweden have proven that cars can be electronically linked so that drivers are not needed on long journeys and can sit back and let technology take the strain – Funding: EUR 3.83 million http://sartre-project.eu/
49. A team led by Tuscany-based researchers has developed a system for monitoring oil-spills in the Mediterranean Sea to help disaster planning and emergency interventions – Funding: EUR 3.27 million http://www.argomarine.eu/
50. European researchers developed a new approach for building cars which shaves 40% off their weight, meaning less fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions – Funding: EUR 10.4 million http://www.superlightcar.com/
51. A EU-funded project has developed a fleet of remote-controlled robots that crawl through cargo ships in search for cracks, corrosion and other defects – Funding: EUR 2.1 million http://minoasproject.eu/
52. EU funded 30 scientists in team behind the Higgs Boson discovery at CERN – Funding: EUR 6.5 million http://ow.ly/fl2bB
53. Researchers from 12 leading institutes work on a robot prototype that will be used for a space mission to Mars – Funding: EUR 1.9 million http://ow.ly/fl6Ea
54. The outcome of the EU-PEARLS alternative rubber project (called "a tyre revolution" by the press) in cooperation with European researchers and tyre manufacturers, has the potential to create new natural rubber industry in Kazakhstan – Funding: EUR 5.86 million http://www.eu-pearls.eu/UK/
55. Promoting high tec start ups and new jobs in North Portugal: UPTEC - Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia da Universidade do Porto" – Funding: EUR 15.4 million (ERDF)
This is a project that has brought together research and business in order to create new jobs and new businesses in knowledge based sectors from film and TV to energy efficiency and marine technology. In the first 5 years its target of employing 300 people has been far exceeded. It now employs around 900 specialists. It is also a key asset to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the region. http://www.uptec.up.pt
56. Three new metro lines for Bulgaria's capital – Funding: EUR 441 million/140 million European Investment Bank loan
These projects in Sofia's metro system represent a focused and well-planned EU investment solving significant transport problems. There are huge benefits for Sofia's residents from this project which was endorsed recently in the WWF/Friends of the Earth "Well Spent " list of sustainable projects under EU Cohesion Policy. The impact of the new metro lines has been an 18% reduction of traffic accidents, 905 000 tons/year reduction of noxious gases (incl. GHG), 15-20% noise reduction. Direct and indirect economic effects are estimated at 35 million euros per year. http://wellspent.eu
57. Hi tech industry fostered in Attica and Western Greece – "Corallia Clusters" – Funding: EUR 40 million since 2006
The "Corallia Clusters Inititative" connects representatives of industry, suppliers, buyers, researchers, infrastructure providers, financial institutions, public sector organisations and the media. The project is pushing the concept “Innovation Made in Greece”. One of its key actions has been to link up the Greek nano-microelectronics, space industries and gaming technologies industry to academic and research institutions, supporting start-ups . Since the creation of the "Corallia" initiative in 2006, members of the cluster have grown from 13 to 132. For 2008-2010, companies belonging to the cluster had a turnover of growth rate of 266%, an employment growth rate of 63% and an export growth rate of 119%. http://www.corallia.org/
58. Making business more competitive and safeguarding jobs with green advice: North West England – The ENWORKS Resource Efficiency project – EU Funding : EUR 7.38 million (ERDF)
ENWORKS is a flagship environmental advice service. Through specialist on-site support, online tools and knowledge and skills transfer, ENWORKS helps small businesses to save money and be more competitive by increasing their resource efficiency and reducing their exposure to environmental risks such as resource price volatility. This in turn has helped to protect jobs. In 2011, ENWORKS won NGO of the Year at the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards. Impact: Thousands of businesses have been helped to become more energy efficient, sustainable and profitable. In its last two projects alone, ENWORKS has provided intensive support to over 4 000 SMEs, resulting in annual cost savings of GBP 85 million being identified as well as the creation of GBP 158 million in sales and the protection of 1 110 jobs. In terms of environmental benefits, 75 800 tonnes of CO2 emissions, 646 000 m3 of water and 10 700 tonnes of materials have been saved to date. http://www.businessgrowthhub.com/partners/
"ENWORKS is one hell of a story! This is the sort of stuff that makes me feel amazingly inspired." – Sir Jonathon Porritt (2010)
"What impresses me most about projects such as ENWORKS is they truly are becoming the change that's needed in the world." – Al Gore, former US Vice President (2007)
59. Partnering university and business to boost the local economy in Spain's Castilla y Leon region: University-Business Knowledge Transfer (T-CUE) projects – Funding: EUR 12 300 (ERDF)
Launched in 2008, the project has worked to strengthen the roles of Knowledge Transfer Offices (KTOs) of the region’s top universities. It has aimed to facilitate university-business links and specifically to match business needs with university technology supply. The project has resulted in several spinoffs, such as for nanobiotechnology and renewable energy, plus prototypes and projects based on emerging technologies. http://www.redtcue.es/T-CUE-Publico/queestcue/TCUE1
60. Making Styria (Austria) a global centre for clean-tech companies with 5000 new jobs: Eco World Styria project - Funding: EUR 444 000 (ERDF)
Eco World Styria was founded in 2005 with the support of EU funds to increase the concentration of successful clean technology (clean-tech) companies in the Austrian region of Styria and to make this a top location worldwide – a "Green Tech Valley". Impact: The region of Styria is now home to more than 180 clean-tech companies and has one of the highest concentrations worldwide of top class clean technology firms. Since the beginning of the project, eco-innovation has generated 5 000 new jobs, increasing company staff on average by over 10% per year. http://www.eco.at
61. Leverage loans for local business to create and safeguard jobs – Finance for Business North East Funds – Funding: GBP 44.25 million (ERDF)/GBP 62.5 million (ECB).
This project Finance for Business North East Funds demonstrates the huge benefits for local regeneration and growth. Impact: Since 2010, GBP 125 million of loans and equity investments have been made available to local business in the North East of England – GBP 44.25 million from the European Regional Development Fund, another GPB 18,25 million in match funding , and of GBP 62.5 million from the European Central Bank. This in turn has so far attracted another GBP 59 million in private investments. For local people that has meant 532 new jobs so far, with another 1 180 safeguarded.
62. Finance for small and medium sized business in Wales: JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) – Funding since 2009: GBP 96 million (ERDF/EIB)
This scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, provides debt and equity investments to growing companies in Wales. Since 2009 it has provided GBP 96 million finance to help over 430 businesses to grow, creating 1 500 jobs in the process. EU regional funds are a big success story In Wales. Up to December 2012, EU projects in Wales have created more than 16 000 jobs and almost 4 500 enterprises, helped 45 000 people into work and 120 000 to gain qualifications.
63. Developing smart energy technology in amsterdam for growth and fighting climate change – "Amsterdam, Smart City" – Funding: EUR 1.56 million (ERDF)
The ‘Amsterdam, Smart City’ project’s aim is to test new technologies that save energy and then make them available to people and businesses in the Amsterdam region. ‘Amsterdam, Smart City’ acted as a catalyst for new innovations in the field of smart energy technologies. Within the project over 50 private firms (multinationals and SMEs) worked together with TNO (Dutch Knowledge Institute, a public independent research institute), Housing Cooperations and the Municipality. http://amsterdamsmartcity.nl
64. Sparsely populated Swedish regions mobilise for jobs and development: Project SLIM III (north-mid Sweden) – Funding: EUR 1.45 million (ERDF)
SLIM (Systematic Leadership and Innovative Management) includes the Dalarna and Gävleborg Regions, 15 "clusters" of companies, four universities and national authorities. SLIM’s model has been cited as a best practice case for developing innovation and growth strategies by Sweden’s government and the OECD. Around 700 companies, with 60 000 employees, are taking part in the project to develop new products and services and increase employment. The sectors involved include everything from IT and services to traditional industries such as pulp, paper, steel and engineering. The four participating universities are home to 55 000 students and 3 000 researchers.
65. Estonia: Competence centre for cancer research (CCCR) helping patients and creating jobs – Funding: EUR 1.2 million (ERDF)
The ambition of the CCCR is to establish a strong long-term private-public partnership in top-level cancer research, based on the common vision of SME entrepreneurs and scientists. New jobs have been provided for top-level scientific staff – CCCR staff increased from 30 in 2005 to 71 in 2010; 5 top-level researchers repatriated from other countries. New expertise has been developed that was missing in Estonia; new start-ups were created in biotechnology and in certain high-tech services needed for the CCCR projects with more graduate students specialised in applied cancer research. http://www.vtak.ee/en/
66. Belgium Wallonia: bringing sophisticated solutions to aeronautical research – Funding: EUR 4.13 million (ERDF)
Cenaero is a research centre located in Charleroi’s Aeropole business park providing sophisticated services and technological solutions to industries in the aeronautical and related sectors. Set up in 2002, Cenaero’s mission is to support innovation among aeronautic companies by providing them with focused expertise in numerical simulation and modelling methods. In terms of impact, Cenaero has led to the creation of more than 75 jobs so far. The Centre is now entering its second phase of development and aims to consolidate its position at European level while at the same time diversifying its market opportunities. By 2015 some 50 additional jobs should be created as well as two start-up companies. The full self-financing of the structure should also be achieved. http://www.cenaero.be/
67. Andalusian city leading the way to energy-saving lighting systems – Funding: approx EUR 1.32 million (ERDF)
In 2007, Light Environment Control S.L. (LEC) in the town of Barbate, Andalusia, became the first company in Europe to light an entire city with LED technology. LEC became a benchmark in the led sector and a national leader at national level, giving effective and tailor-made solutions to its clients. LEC is located in one the most depressed areas of Spain with 40% of unemployment in 2012. Since LEC installed its new production centre for the design, research and manufacture of led-lighting systems, it has created 100 direct jobs and around 150 indirect jobs. It has also permitted to keep high skilled professionals from the region. http://www.lecsl.com
68. Innovation centres in Cornwall helping SMEs grow – Funding: almost GBP 30 million (ERDF)
Thanks to ERDF funding, three innovation centres have opened to support SMEs in the UK's Cornwall region, offering a place for businesses to grow and collaborate. Impact: Reaching 50% capacity inside six months – more than two years ahead of schedule – the first Centre is now at its optimum operating level, home to 44 businesses with a combined turnover of over GBP 12 million per annum. In its first year of operation alone, it assisted client businesses to achieve average growth of over 40% with 45 new jobs created, and 15 others safeguarded. That job creation figure is now approaching 80. The second innovation centre at Tremough, which opened in January 2012 and benefited from EU-financing of almost GBP 10 million, is home to 35 clients, working specifically with the arts, media and creative and environmental and sustainability technologies. The Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro, which has also benefited from EU financing of almost GBP 10 million, is due to open in early 2013. It will take advantage of significant potential synergies with an emerging health and wellbeing cluster located close to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust campus. http://www.cornwallinnovation.co.uk/
69. Major EU investment for a pan-European scientific research hub in Romania – Funding: almost EUR 180 million (ERDF)
This cutting-edge research facility will involve 40 research and academic institutions from 13 Member States. It is part of a wider initiative with the Czech Republic and Hungary to make up a European research consortium pioneering the use of state-of-the-art laser technology. The "Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics", ELI-NP, to be based in Romania, will serve as a pan-European laboratory hosting a broad range of scientific disciplines from ground-breaking fundamental physics, to new nuclear physics and astrophysics as well as material science and life sciences. Researchers will also be working on new ways to handle nuclear materials and radioactive waste. http://www.extreme-light-infrastructure.eu/
70. More and better cancer facilities in Msida, Malta – Funding: EUR 41.5 million (ERDF)
Goal of this major project is to develop a specialised Oncology Centre, as an extension of the public general Mater Dei hospital in Msida, and is expected to benefit the entire island population. The new building will include state-of-the-art facilities for palliative care, paediatric and adolescent oncology and haematology; as well as diagnostic and treatment areas: radiotherapy, day care, clinical support services (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, psychology) etc. The new developments make full use of contemporary technologies to lower the dependence on fossil fuels and thus achieving a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere (approximately 1 265 tons per year).
71. Biomedical & biotechnology centre drawing back researchers in Warsaw, reversing the 'brain drain' – Funding: 85% of 359.3 million zlotys (ERDF)
The Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology (CePT) in Warsaw is creating a dynamic scientific space collaborating local environmental research centres, conducting research on the most common diseases, (neoplastic, neurological and vascular), as well as age-related diseases; and is the biggest biomedical and biotechnological undertaking of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. CePT is bringing together the potential of outstanding scientists from local universities and science institutes, with their state-of-the-art research laboratories and cutting-edge facilities. http://cept.wum.edu.pl/en/centre-preclinical-research-and-technology-cept
72. ERDF improving energy efficiency in buildings and promote job creation in France – Funding: EUR 320 million
The French government has been encouraged through the ERDF to improve energy efficiency in buildings and promote job creation. It is meeting this challenge head-on with its plans to tackle 800 000 social housing units in 15 areas between 2009 and 2020.To date, the results have been impressive. By the end of the first phase in March 2011, 63 000 homes were retrofitted and of those, over a third will be of Class A energy efficiency rating. This totals energy savings equal to EUR 1 170 per household. One of the focus regions for this project is Brittany where 153 000 social housing units, managed by 38 operators, are awaiting conversion. In the first nine months of the project 2 103 households were brought up from the lowest standard to A and B efficiency levels. In this same period it is estimated that 760 jobs were created locally in the construction and planning areas.
73. Building peace and develop Northern Ireland's economy: PEACE programme - Funding: EUR 1.3 billion (mainly ERDF)
The launch of the PEACE Programme in 1995 was the direct result of the European Union’s desire to respond positively to new opportunities in the Northern Ireland peace process during the paramilitary ceasefire announcements. Since then the EU has provided additional financial assistance through the PEACE II Programme as well as the current PEACE III (2007-2013), with a total of EUR 1.3 billion mainly from ERDF Funds. At a recent event in Brussels to celebrate the role of the EU funds in building trust within the community, First Minister Peter Robinson said the PEACE programme was a "tangible example" of the EU's contribution to creating peace and reconciliation for which it was recently honoured by the Nobel Peace Prize.
74. Upgrading the local metro system in the wider Naples area – Funding: EUR 200 million (ERDF)
Upgrading the local metro system in the wider Naples area – which transports 2.9 million residents around the city, is expected to benefit 150 000 residents living and working in this suburb through better and more frequent services and faster journey times. The line itself is managed by the Metronapolli S.P. of which the municipality of Naples is the largest shareholder. Between 2000 and 2012, the estimated overall benefits of the metro upgrade and extension make a significant difference to the carbon footprint of the city, with an annual reduction of CO2 emissions by 250 000 tonnes and a cut in oil consumption by 110 000 tonnes.
75. Tukums, Latvia: "Baltic biomass network" project and regional bioenergy development strategy – Funding: EUR 1.6 million (ERDF).
Between 2008 and 2009 the Tukums local authority joined the "Baltic Biomass Network" project and together with various stakeholders developed a regional bioenergy development strategy. The municipally-owned heating company "Tukuma Siltums" has installed two new biomass boilers of 10 MW capacity to replace heavy, old fuel oil boilers. In addition, flue gas condensers were installed using technology developed by a local company. Each of the boilers provides additional efficiency in terms of heat energy production, substantially increasing the efficiency of heat energy production and replacing fossil fuels with renewables. The project accounts for additional savings of about 15-25% of energy production, prevention of further increase in heating costs for the inhabitants, more than 90% decrease in particulate matter emissions and considerable decrease in emissions of sulphur, ash and other substances.
76. Minimizing Forest Fires Risks for Tourists (MIRTO): a project between Italy, Croatia, France and Greece – Funding: EUR 306 562
Forest fires regularly affect the Mediterranean, a popular tourist destination. In emergencies, tourists are especially vulnerable – they are psychologically unprepared to face disasters, they might come from areas where forest fires are rare or even unheard of, they don't know local fire danger conditions and the areas they are visiting, might not speak the local language and often underestimate risks. The European Commission has funded a project (called MIRTO) to raise awareness and prepare people to react to forest fires in Croatia, France Greece and Italy. The target population were tourists and tourist operators (summer camp managers, ferry companies and municipalities). Information material including handbooks for summer camp visitors, holiday house owners and an information video broadcasted on ferries connecting the Mediterranean islands were produced and distributed in different languages.
77. EU command post 2012, a civil protection simulation exercise – Funding: EUR 350 000
Civil protection teams from France, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and staff from the European Commission´s Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) tested the efficiency of their procedures and practical reaction to major disasters. The scenario was based on a fictitious European country affected by a major earthquake resulting in severe floods, landslides, power and communication cuts, collapse of infrastructure, and industrial accidents. Around 150 people and five different mobile command posts from the participating countries took part in this exercise. The exercise was an opportunity for experts from different EU countries to exchange practical experience and learn from each others' practices. The exercise also contributed to building trust among different national teams which is a basis for successful cooperation in joint EU civil protection operations.
78. EU Children for Peace initiative – Funding: EUR 2 million
And then, of course, there are the projects to support children – victims of war, part of the EU Children for Peace initiative. These four projects, worth EUR 2 million in total, will provide education and safe, child-friendly environment to 23 000 children – 4 000 Syrian refugee kids in the Domiz camp in Iraq, 5 000 Colombian kids in Colombia and Ecuador, 11 000 kids displaced by fighting in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and 3 000 Pakistani kids in the conflict-ridden North of their country. Implemented together with some of the world's best reputed humanitarian organisations, these projects will give a chance for a better future to children that have a horrible past and uncertain present.
CITIZENS, EDUCATION AND CULTURE
79. The European Capitals of Culture: two examples from the UK
Two British cities have already been designated as European Capitals of Culture: Liverpool (2008) and Glasgow (1990). Under the motto 'the world in one city' and with reference to the EU Year of Intercultural Dialogue, Liverpool 2008 featured 7 000 cultural events, activities and projects. The local authorities took this opportunity to complete a large programme of restoration of the city. A particularly designed Volunteer Programme gave people of the working-class district of Merseyside the chance to train as city hosts, thus showing how culture can support community engagement. With more than 10 million people attending cultural events, all major cultural organisations in Liverpool registered significant increases in visitor figures in 2008. According to the Liverpool City Region, these visits generated a reported GBP 800 million of economic impact from the European Capital of Culture year, making a case for the importance of cultural investment.
80. Literature across frontiers – Funding: EUR 1 384 620
This project aims to promote literature written in less widely-used languages and at encouraging translation and promotion of international literary events. It stimulates debate on innovative approaches to literary promotion, provides support for the training of literary translators working in less widely-used languages and creates opportunities for collaboration amongst organisations and institutions active in this field. Lead organiser is the Aberystwyth University's Mercator centre (UK). Co-organisers come from Malta, Belgium, Spain, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, Turkey, Poland, Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Portugal and Cyprus. http://www.lit-across-frontiers.org
MARIE CURIE PROJECTS
81. Radiography of the Past – Funding: EUR 760 440
This is a project which studies non-destructive approaches to understand and promote complex archaeological sites. The scientific team involved has integrated and enhanced existing "non-invasive" prospecting techniques (including 3D visualisation tools) for the study of archaeological sites. Destructive and costly excavations would not be essential any longer. The applications of enhanced new techniques have already shed new light on the evolution of medium-sized Roman towns like Ammaia in the Iberian Peninsula. The project is coordinated by the Spanish Universidade de Evora. http://www.radiopast.eu/
82. GENETIME: An interdisciplinary training site in Ancient Biomolecules with direct applications on the way viral diseases spread – Funding: EUR 1 032 990
This Marie Curie project offers opportunities for early stage researchers to experience in the latest molecular approaches applied to ancient samples. This new science of ancient biomolecules is revolutionising archaeology, palaeontology, and palaeoclimatic research. Gkikas Magiorkinis, a Marie Curie Fellow trained in the GENETIME project, was recently awarded the 2012 Marie Curie Prize in the "Promising Research Talent" category. His follow-up study was published in the high profile publication PLoS Computational Biology and featured in the BBC health section. The project was coordinated by the University of York (UK). http://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/GT/welcome.html
83. ECO ITN: Supporting the implementation of the EU legislation on chemicals – Funding: EUR 3 386 676
The primary objective of this project is focused on supporting the implementation of the new EU legislation concerning the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals (REACH), which requires demonstration of the safe manufacture of chemicals and their safe use throughout the supply chain. ECO ITN is educating a new generation of researchers at a high scientific level in both environmental and computational methods. The program involves a great deal of interdisciplinary as it provides training in various basic and complementary computational and experimental areas of environmental sciences. http://www.eco-itn.eu/
84. Enabling the disabled of Europe – Funding: EUR 32 391.47
Organised during the “2010 European Year for Combating poverty and social exclusion” by the Hungarian city of Varpalota, the project “Comprehensive integration of disabled and differently abled people” aimed to reduce the number of people who rely on social welfare, to tackle the sense of redundancy and alienation from society many disable people feel, and to facilitate those with disabilities in living and working independently. The project, in collaboration with three other municipalities from Romania, Austria and Italy, encouraged practical exchanges and mutual help. A participating organisation provided a disabled group from Varpalota with housing; the Italian and Austrian partners offered study trips for the Hungarian and Romanian Experts; the towns of Wolfsberg and Varpalota made donations to charities in Petrosani.
85. 150 million of poor people benefitted from EU response to food crisis, new report shows – Funding: EUR 1 billion (2008-2011)
A new report on the EU's Food Facility, set up in 2008 to counter the negative effects of the food crisis, show that in three years, the EU has improved the lives of over 59 million people in 49 countries, and provided indirect support for 93 million others (by for instance enabling people to benefit from increased opportunities for trade in the area, and to learn improved skills from neighbouring farmers). The evaluation report, unveiled in December 2012, also shows that the EUR 1 billion facility has led to the vaccination of over 44.6 million livestock, and helped to train 1.5 million people in agricultural production. http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/development-policies/intervention-areas/ruraldev/food_intro_en.htm
86. Bakery production for local community of over 85 000 people – Funding: EUR 920 107 (EAFRD)
The project successfully extended and modernized the capacity of a Romanian bakery production, which now provides bread and a wide range of high quality bakery for over 85 000 people in the rural areas of Cluj and Bistrita counties. To preserve the character of the recipes, a great amount of work is still done manually. Therefore, through the project 103 jobs have been created, employment being an important component. This project was one of the largest initiatives in the region, its example encouraging other entrepreneurs to apply for funds.
87. Geothermal heating for expansion of orchid production business – Funding: EUR 500 000 (EAFRD)
Capitalising on experience gained in the Netherlands, two Slovenian business partners created a highly efficient geothermal heating system, and doubled production, turnover and staff in this orchid enterprise in a remote region of north-east Slovenia with the country's highest unemployment rates. Over a five-year period, 15 new full-time jobs were created, raising the total staff to 29, averaging 33 years of age. The business partners created a "cascade heating system" making highly efficient use of the geothermal resources in their rural area. Production has more than doubled to 1.2 million flowering pot plants, with a similar increase in turnover. Over 85% of all energy required is from geothermal supply and thus renewable. The amount of energy required to produce individual plants has decreased by 15%.
88. Increased capacity and efficiency of a potato production plant – Funding: EUR 4 708 530 (EAFRD)
A Welsh potato firm production's facilities in Pembrokeshire (UK) were restructured to improve accessibility, energy, water treatment, health & safety, so enhancing the efficiency and capacity of the company in a sustainable way and thus its performance and competitiveness. A new road was built, improving vehicle access to the loading bays and allowing for a better road management system around the site, the power supply to the existing potato packing line was upgraded and a new water treatment facility was built. http://www.puffinproduce.com/
89. Transnational cooperation in local wine sector – Funding: EUR 202 861 (EAFRD)
Local wine producers in the Moselle valley, which covers 3 countries, all face similar problems: unpredictable climate, difficult terrain and a challenging market for wines. Four Local Action Group from the Luxembourg, German and French banks of the River involved with promoting local wine products and businesses decided to work together to tackle their common difficulties. Local vintners and producers strengthen competitiveness in their local wine sectors through joint participation in various initiatives. http://www.terroirmoselle.eu/index.html
90. Diversification into paper and textile fabrics handling – Funding: EUR 370 350 (EAFRD)
The beneficiary agricultural company's main business activity is the production of agricultural products for processing and further sale. The company introduced new multifunctional machinery and diversified its activities into the production of a wide range of paper and textile based products. The project supported the purchase of the relevant equipment. Specifically the company can now provide paper, woven and non-woven textile fabrics, laminated products. Six new jobs were created.
91. Manufacturing of briquettes – Funding: EUR 38 393 (EAFRD)
Thanks to support from the EAFRD, a company operating in the woodworking sector successfully diversified its main business into the production of briquettes processing wood waste. The company benefited from this successful diversification of its business. Moreover, three more full-time and six additional part-time jobs were created and an old building was renovated thanks to the investment.
92. Building a Bio-Gas Station in Dešov – Funding: EUR 1 056 000 (EAFRD)
EU agricultural funds supported the development of a biogas station which converts 10 000 tonnes of bio inputs (mainly from pig manure, maize and livestock slurry) into around 4 300 MWh of electricity each year and provides a long-term economic diversification option for the farm business. The project also helps provide new income sources for farmers supplying the bio inputs that are converted into gas. Bio-molecular processes that occur during the gas extraction procedure convert the bio-products into biogas plus a good quality compost material.
93. 'Cheese Route Bregenzerwald': supporting small-scale cheese makers – Funding: EUR 61 186 (EAFRD)
This project aimed to strengthen business activity between regional cheese producers, the local tourism sector and other businesses to add value to locally-produced cheeses, improve (mostly small-scale) farmers' income and other rural businesses in a mountainous area in the west of Austria. The Bregenzer Cheese Route initiative in the north-east of Austria's Vorarlberg brought together milk producers, small-scale cheese makers, local tourism and other enterprises which needed to help make an already-existing initiative more sustainable and successful. A total 180 partners from different sectors took part in the project, which helped safeguarding local farming methods as well as employment and the income of 1 200 farming families and 90 alpine dairies.
ENVIRONMENT: LIFE+ programme
Every year the LIFE+ programme invests some EUR 250 million in over 200 projects for environmental improvement and nature conservation, mobilising over EUR 500 million. While the programme is relatively small, its individual projects have had a disproportionately large impact. For example:
94. SMILE (Sustainable Mobility Initiative for Local Environment) – Funding: EUR 700 000
This French LIFE project (2000) started off what is now known as the European Car Free Day and Sustainable Mobility Week, which in 2010 involved 2088 cities and has had an incalculable environmental, social and economic impact over the years. http://www.smile-europe.org/
95. Maifisch – The re-introduction of allis shad (Alosa alosa) in the Rhine System – Funding: EUR 500 000
150 years ago, the allis shad was one of the two most important commercial fish species in the lower and middle stretches of the Rhine and its tributaries. However, pollution and large flood protection dams along the Dutch coast, preventing natural migration, caused its extinction in the Rhine river basin in the 1950s. Since 2006 a German-French LIFE project has been breeding and reintroducing the allis shad. This summer, 60 years after its disappearance, a few of them were caught several hundred kilometres further downstream on their seaward migration. There is a higher probability that the allis shad will slowly regain its place in the Rhine ecosystem and may eventually become once more commercially important for the Rhine fishermen.
96. Donauufer – Restoration of Danube river banks – Funding: EUR 700 000
This Austrian project restored the natural river banks and floodplains along a 3 km stretch of the Danube. It not only locally improved the conservation status of a wide range of endangered species (birds, fish and plants) and habitats, but by slowing down the current and unblocking the floodplain river side-arms it also reduced the risk of flooding in the cities Hainburg and Bratislava. Visited by countless experts, it now serves as a model for similar initiatives along the Danube and elsewhere.
97. Usa e Riusa – Use and reuse packaging of fresh fruit and vegetable products – Funding: EUR 600 000
This Italian project aimed to replace waste-generating fruit and vegetable packaging with reusable, foldable and recyclable plastic boxes. At the beginning of the project in 1999, the beneficiary (CPR system) was a small cooperative with 900 000 boxes, 47 members and a handful of staff. At the end of the project (2003), it had 5 million boxes, saving not only 50 000 tonnes per year of packaging waste but also EUR 6.5 million per year in waste disposal costs. Today it has over 950 members and 12 million boxes that are used 110 million times in a year. Waste savings are over 100 000 tons per year, energy savings are 100 MWh per year, and waste disposal cost savings are some EUR 13 million/year. The company is now present in all Italian regions and tens of jobs have been created. http://www.cprsystem.it/
For a list of almost 500 success stories of European research, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/success_stories_en.cfm
With the yearly RegioStars awards, the European Commission honours Europe’s most innovative and inspiring regional development projects. For an extensive overview of projects, please visit http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/projects/stories/index_en.cfm
The "Well Spent"-campaign has published a list of "benchmark and inspirational EU cohesion policy projects" that are showing "the way towards a greener Europe and a better World": http://wellspent.eu