Project Details

Title: Declining, Ageing and Regional Transformation
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Employment, human capital and education

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2010 - 31st Dec 2012
Website: http://www.dart-project.eu


Total budget: €2,050,098.00
ERDF contribution: €1,574,341.50

Lead partner

InvestitionsBank des Landes Brandenburg
Steinstraße 104-106
14480, Potsdam

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Ralf Vollmering
      Phone: 0049 331 660 1090
      Fax: 0049 331 660 1095

Project summary

Declining, Ageing and Regional Transformation (DART), demographic and economic change is a great challenge for about 30% of EU regions and this amount will increase up to 50% in 2030. Until 2030 every 3rd person in the EU will be 60+. Together with the low fertility rate and the outflow of human capital the regional effects are a declining population density with great difficulties in ensuring the provision of adequate public services. At the same time, the shrinking regional demand and lack of qualified staff endangers the economic basis of the regions.

But there are several experiences in the different European regions to avoid the downward spiral. There is a need to outline those experiences, to underpin them with adapted standards and indicators and to work out innovative and integrated solutions that maintain the quality of life and social inclusion in declining and ageing areas for all generations and adapt regional policies and public services.

Presenting the “vulnerability index” report in Dec. 2008 Commissioner Hübner itemized the influence of demographic trends as one of the four biggest challenges facing Europe. So meeting the demographic challenge with fortification of human capital (education, lifelong learning) and maintaining public services (health care, social and technical infrastructure) are key factors in regional policies as well as in the Lisbon strategy, the EU initiative “Regions for economic change” and “Regions 2020”.


Within the DART regions there are several projects dealing with special fields of policy. But most of them focus on sector-specific and are only insular solutions. The purpose of DART is to achieve an adjustment of policies relating to demographic change by implementation of

* good practices from previous partner projects,

* new products and services to maintain the quality of life, especially in new business fields for SME and

* a set of standards and indicators to benchmark regions.

DART develops an integrated approach for policy recommendations

- to raise awareness about demographic change

- to increase knowledge of outflow-inflow motivation of working-age people,

- to adapt standards and indicators for public services, to measure the critical point of public services and to measure success in declining and ageing regions

- to sample innovative solutions to maintain the quality of life for all generations no matter, if they live in an booming or in a declining region.

For regional authorities and stakeholders in sparsely populated areas a well educated population and a sufficient equipment with public services are the focal points for social inclusion, stability and welfare. The downwards spiral can be turned into an upwards spiral, when the shared knowledge becomes effective practice and when the need to react on demographic change is mainstreamed in regional policies. Then life cycle proof neighbourhood can be proved even in declining and ageing regions.

Project achievements

Declining, Ageing and Regional Transformation (DART) are challenges for many regions across Europe. DART dealt with the challenges of shrinking regions. The overall objective of DART was the formulation of an integrated strategy combining three main elements: Education and Lifelong Learning, Health Care and Social Services as well as Tradition and Innovative Economy. The objective has been reached through the

exchange of experience, identification of good practice and interregional cooperation. These contributed to improving the effectiveness of regional development policies. DART raised awareness of demographic change and communicated the facts and opportunities of demographic change to all stakeholders of regional policy. The exchange of experience process in the DART project occured on several workshops in the partner regions and has been presented to the public on the main thematic conferences on: Economy in Dresden, on Education in Prague and on Health Care and Social Services in

Kajaani. DART has achieved to identify and describe 89 good practices during 4 workshops (Economy 17, Education 31, Health 19, Social Services22) and 26 best practices were selected and presented in the 3 thematic conferences (Economy 6, Education 11, Health 5, Social Services). DART has held its mid-term conference in November 2011 in Brussels, where around 80 experts from all over Europe have been informed about the project´s progress and discussed demographic change with deputies of the European Commission and the European Parliament. DART was present on several other regional and interregional events brining in the results and key aspects of the DART project (e.g. the DCRN Network seminar in Brussels, Conference in the framework of the European Year of Active Ageing in Joensuu, the INTERREG IVC Good Practice Fair in Krakow, the Best Agers Project Fair, the European Open Days in Brussels and several seminars, workshops and events in the DART partner regions. Further, DART worked on

the transfer of good practice process between partner regions. A workshop and Coference on Transferability in the Veneto Region and 3 Transfer Events in Potsdam, Maastricht and Joensuu have been organised to force the Transfer of the identified good practices and ensure sustainability of project results after the project lifetime. The DART Final Report with the main political recommendations has been raising awareness and pointing out the most important conclusions of the project directly addressing the political level. The DART final reports consists of the main project results presented in a nice compact style summarising the results of the exchange of experience and the way how DART worked in the past three years. The study on indicators has been finalised and published in the end of this reporting period. It provides interesting results for the scientific discussion and hints for the political recommendations. As the first European wide study of this character, DART has been the

forerunner for a comparable statistical data analysis in the field of demographic change. The DART monitoring tool has been used by all partner regions and provided great additional value for the partners to deal with statistical data, to extend their knowledge in comparability of indicators in the EU. DART has held its final conference on the 3. September 2012 in Potsdam. With around 146 participants and an enormous media attention the conference has been very successful in making the society aware of the challenges of demographic change and the results and solutions developed within the DART project. The final conference was visited by participants of all partner regions, all possible stakeholder groups of the demographic change topic and by several experts from regional, national and European institutions and organisations. The prime minister of Brandenburg was the key speaker of the final conference, represented by his Secretary of State of Brandenburg Tina Fischer.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
InvestitionsBank des Landes Brandenburg, Potsdam GERMANY Brandenburg - Südwest 0049 331 660 1090
State of Brandenburg represented by the State Chancellery, Potsdam GERMANY Brandenburg - Südwest +49 331 866 1384
angelika.stuke@stk.brandenburg.de, demografie@stk.brandenburg.de
Free State of Saxony represented by the State Chancellery, Dresden GERMANY Dresden 0049 351 564 1285
West Regional Authority (WRA), Galway IRELAND Border, Midland and Western 00353 91 56 38 42
Central Bohemia Region, Prague CZECH REPUBLIC Stredni Cechy 00420 257 280 351
Regional Council of North Karelia, Joensuu FINLAND Itä-Suomi +358 13 267 4700
kirjaamo@pohjois-karjala.fi (general), risto.poutiainen@pohjois-karjala.fi (contact persons email address)
Regional Council of Kainuu, Street address: Kauppakatu 1, 87100 Kajaani FINLAND Itä-Suomi 00358 8 6155 4211
Regional Government of Galicia, Autonomous Ministry of Labour and Welfare, Santiago de Compostela SPAIN Galicia 0034 981 544 895
Province of Limburg, Maastricht NETHERLANDS Limburg (NL) 0031 433 89 72 72
Veneto Region, Venezia ITALY Veneto 0039 41 279 1425
Lower Austria Health and Social Fund (NÖGUS), St. Pölten AUSTRIA Niederösterreich +43 2742 90610
elke.ledl@noegus.at Deputy: judith.willert@noegus.at
BSC - Business Support Centre Ltd., Kranj SLOVENIA Zahodna Slovenija 00386 4 281 72 30
Lower Silesian Centre for Social Policy, Wroclaw POLAND Dolnoslaskie 0048 71 78 15 537
office@adrcentru.ro, ovidia.tandrau@adrcentru.ro


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