Two INTERREG IVC projects submitted for Regio Stars Awards 2012
CLIQ – a project dealing with innovation policy – and GRaBS – a project concerning adapting urban planning to climate change – have both been submitted by INTERREG IVC Managing Authority to compete for a Regio Stars Awards 2012.
The Regio Stars Awards are given out by the European Commission’s DG Regional Policy. Five categories were open to all programmes dealing with Structural Funds to submit relevant projects.
Category one deals with “Smart growth: Innovative projects or schemes supporting service innovation in its different forms” while the second category concerns “Sustainable growth: Investments in ecosystem services and green infrastructure leading to sustainable regional development”. Of course, given INTERREG IVC’s focus on innovation and the environment, many projects fit into these categories and it was difficult to choose just one in each category.
The CLIQ project, Creating local innovation through quadruple helix, aims to strengthen local and regional authority innovation policy and their capacity to support innovation more effectively. In particular, it explores the quadruple helix model, adding civil society to the already-established triangle of governments, businesses and universities. This cooperation has already demonstrated some clear results for the project partners. The 'Super Incubation' developed by the Sussex Innovation Centre (UK) is one example. This is a service offered to businesses in order to support them through growth. Super Incubation helps entrepreneurs get the company to the next level where the right staff can be hired and the company can continue growing. The Sussex Innovation Centre sends its own staff to work in the newly created businesses, and incorporates a catalogue of tools that are not sector-specific into the company to help it grow. The City of Jyväskylä (FI), Lead Partner for CLIQ, is currently reorganising its incubation services and has directly integrated several elements of the 'Super Incubation' good practice into the new services offered by the city. One partner region (Gävle, Sweden) made a whole new regional innovation strategy comprising all the main stakeholders of the region and benchmarking the other partners while doing so; another region (Cremona, Italy) updated its strategy with the new approach and input gained from CLIQ. The programme hopes these examples clearly demonstrate the added-value of cooperation in the domain of innovation policy.
The GRaBS project is a network of leading organisations across Europe involved in integrating climate change adaptation into urban planning and development. Green infrastructure including gardens, parks, productive landscapes, green corridors, green roofs and walls and blue infrastructure such as water bodies, rivers, streams, floodplains and sustainable drainage systems, can play a vital role in creating climate resilient development. Through the cooperation in this project, 4 good practices have been transferred between partners, for example the Green Space Factor, which provides a simple and effective tool for measuring the amount of flood resilient green space in a development, and has been transferred from Malmo (SE) to North West Development Agency (UK) who have integrated it into their Sustainability for the Built Environment policy document. In addition, 4 policies have been improved so far thanks to the exchange of experience. Through their membership of a network of environmental organisations and using the expertise gained from the GRaBS project, the Regional Environment Centre for Eastern Europe, Country Office Slovakia succeeded in improving Bratislava’s Strategic Development Plan 2010-2020 by integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation issues.
The INTERREG IVC website was also submitted under the category concerning the user-friendliness of the list of beneficiaries. The full project information provided in an easily searchable format, along with the at-a-glance beneficiaries’ map allow many different users to find quickly and easily what they are looking for.
The deadline for submitting applications was 15 July 2011. The applications are now being examined by a jury appointed by the EC, who will select a shortlist of finalists. The awards ceremony will take place during the 2012 Regions for Economic Change conference.