Introduction & Methodology

Capitalisation is an increasingly important feature of European Territorial Cooperation Programmes (ETCs) and plays an essential role in exploiting the knowledge created by the projects funded within them. This report draws upon a comparative analysis of promising approaches and practices identified within seven INTERREG IVC projects in the field of eco-innovation and aims to help policymakers and practitioners to utilise these practices to develop effective policies and support instruments at regional, national and / or European level.

The following section presents a brief overview of the objectives of the programme's thematic capitalisation exercise as well as the methodology used to carry it out.

1. Objectives of the programme's thematic capitalisation exercise on eco-innovation

The main objective of the programme's thematic capitalisation exercise is “to better exploit the knowledge resulting from projects working on a similar topic in particular for the benefit of local and regional authorities in Europe”. This overall objective is supported by a set of specific objectives, which are:

  • to identify innovative approaches that could also be relevant to other regions in Europe;
  • to draw policy recommendations for the national and the EU level;
  • to identify potential synergies and possibilities for mutual enrichment among the INTERREG IVC projects dealing with similar issues;
  • to link the projects to related initiatives in other EU programmes;
  • to draw specific topic related recommendations for the projects.

The programme's capitalisation exercise with regard to ‘eco-innovation’ focuses exclusively on INTERREG IVC projects dealing with issues, policies and practices in this field. The assignment covered ongoing projects, as well as closed projects financed under the INTERREG IVC programme.

In order to reach these objectives, the programme's thematic capitalisation exercise is designed to deal with a number of questions. The following table presents the main questions addressed by the exercise and the present analysis report.

Table 1: Core questions addressed by the thematic programme's capitalisation exercise
1. What are the common features/ challenges / difficulties/ successes among the projects of the same topic?
2. In particular, do these projects have similar good practices in common? If yes, what are these good practices? Are they easily transferable to other regions? Should they be further disseminated for the benefit of other regions?
3. Did the partner regions find different solutions to the same issue?
4. Does one region have a particularly interesting or innovative practice or policy identified which merits being made available to other regions in Europe?
5. Has a project achieved a particularly interesting result (e.g. in terms of good practices transferred or policies improved) which could be useful for the other projects in the same topic and more generally for other local/regional authorities dealing with that topic?
6. Do the participating regions identify core pre-requisites for the successful implementation of their regional policy in the area tackled?
7. Are there any possible synergies among the projects and initiatives concerned undertaken in other EU programmes (depending on the extent of the expert’s knowledge)?
8. Based on the findings of the analysis, can specific recommendations be made to individual projects which may not be up to date with important practices/ policies or which may be less advanced and experienced than other projects?
9. Based on the answers to all the above questions, which general lessons learnt / policy recommendations can be drawn that could be useful for policymakers at regional, national and/or European levels?

By addressing these questions, the exercise aims to provide a macro-analysis of the INTERREG IVC programme’s contribution to the development of eco-innovation within European regions. This analysis is intended to be of added-value for a wide number of programme stakeholders such as: project leaders and partners; European local, regional and national authorities and European policy and decision-makers involved in the design and implementation of innovation, eco-innovation and sustainable growth support policies. It also intends to give the INTERREG IVC programme bodies clearer insight into the thematic achievements of their work, which may serve as an evidence base for strategic decision-making in the future.

2. Methodological approach

The team of experts responsible for carrying out the programme's thematic capitalisation designed a tailored methodology, divided into two distinct phases:

  • Phase 1 – Data collection and analysis: The first phase of the assignment focused on  collecting and analysing data on the activities, outputs and outcomes of the projects being considered - content analysis being the main focus at this point
  • Phase 2 – Dissemination of results: Based on the results obtained during the first phase of the assignment, the experts were responsible for drafting an analysis report with the main lessons drawn from the capitalisation exercise and for providing the INTERREG IVC programme with the necessary documents to be able to disseminate these findings (e.g. the capitalisation brochure)

The methodology used for this assignment was based on the use of quantitative and qualitative data collection and on different analytical tools. The main methodological tools used during the course of the programme's thematic capitalisation exercise were:

  • Desk research (application forms, progress reports, good practice guides, a good practice sheet, etc.)
  • Project fact-sheets drafted with data based on interviews and desk research (one per project analysed)
  • Interviews with the programming bodies (INTERREG IVC officials)
  • Telephone interviews with project lead partners and stakeholders
  • Visits to projects (ECREIN+, PROSESC, RECOMMEND, FRESH)
  • A Thematic Workshop with core project representatives (Brussels, 31 October 2012)
  • A electronic questionnaire for Thematic Workshop participants
  • Presentations given at  events

3. Projects analysed in this exercise

At the start of the assignment, the capitalisation team was provided with a list of seven projects identified by the INTERREG IVC Joint Technical Secretariat (JTS) as being directly related to the theme of eco-innovation (core projects). The team then carried out a screening of the thematic homogeneity and relevance of the seven core projects under the eco-innovation theme. This analysis went beyond the seven pre-selected projects in order to identify possible additional projects financed by the programme that may have been relevant to the assignment. After this analysis was carried out by the capitalisation team, it was decided, however, not to modify the list of ‘core’ projects under study, nor to include additional ‘satellite’ projects to be taken into consideration in the thematic capitalisation process.

The following tables provide an overview of the seven projects analysed as part of the programme's capitalisation exercise on eco-innovation. The seven projects involve a total of 73 partners from 22 EU Member States (see Figure 1 and Figure 2 below). The majority of partners come from Italy, the UK, France and Finland. Among the project partners, 11 local public authorities, 22 regional public authorities, and 2 national public authorities. The remaining 38 partners represent universities, research organisations, associations and intermediary consultancies.

Figure 1: INTERREG IVC Lot 3 projects overview

Figure 2: Eco-Innovation lot 3 project partners: geographic representation

Figure 3: Types of organisations partnering in projects
ProjectBody governed by public lawLocal Public AuthorityNational Public AuthorityRegional Public AuthorityTotal


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