Micropol

Project Details

Title: Smart Work Centres in Non-Metropolitan areas
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 2012 - 31st Dec 2014
Website: http://www.micropol-interreg.eu

Budget

Total budget: €1,891,598.00
ERDF contribution: €1,484,522.90

Lead partner

North Denmark Region
Niels Bohrs Vej 30
9220, Aalborg Øst
DENMARK

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Inge-Merete Nesgaard
      Phone: 4529412774
      Fax: 4598152009

Project summary

The MICROPOL project brings together partners from non-metropolitan regions that face the EU-wide challenge of loss of human capital due to increasing unemployment. The common pattern is that qualified people move to the big cities in search for job opportunities in the knowledge economy which leaves formerly thriving communities far from metropolitan centres with problems of depopulation and little possibility for development and growth. The aim of the MICROPOL partnership is to take advantage of new developments within knowledge-based business, work culture and ICT to meet this challenge. More specifically the objective of MICROPOL is to exchange experience and good practices concerning implementation and management of so-called Smart Work Centres (SWCs) in the context of non-metropolitan areas.

SWCs are facility centres placed in rural or suburban areas offering shared flexible office spaces, state of the art ICT facilities like fibre network and videoconferencing and other resources supporting telework and flexible work forms. By stimulating entrepreneurship and allowing more people to work efficiently and physically independent of their customers and business’ headquarters SWCs thus facilitate settlement and growth in rural areas. Among the main benefits are reduced commuting time and following strain on environment, improved work/life balance, better access to an international market of knowledge-based telework and the possibility of living in rural areas while retaining challenging jobs in the knowledge economy traditionally linked to metropolitan areas. The concept of SWCs or “telework centres” has existed in more than 20 years but has until recently remained relatively unsuccessful due to technological immaturity, hesitant SMEs and lacking policies.

This situation is now changing and the MICROPOL partnership will join efforts to improve the effectiveness of policies that support the implementation of SWCs in non-metropolitan areas. Through a series of thematic seminars as well as a survey and study visits to successful SWCs the partners will improve knowledge, skills and strategies for the use of SWCs in rural development and employment policies. The output will be a case study collection, a good practice guide, an implementation plan for self-sustainable SWCs and a policy recommendation document for internal and external dissemination. Based on these tools the partners as well as policy makers all over EU will be in a better positions to create “Micropols” which are dynamic non-metropolitan communities that combine the qualities and low costs of rural life with challenging job opportunities in the knowledge economy.

Project achievements

MICROPOL brings together partners from non-metropolitan regions that face the EU-wide challenge of loss of human capital due to increasing unemployment. The common pattern is that qualified people move to the big cities in search for job opportunities, which leaves communities far from metropolitan centres with problems of depopulation and little possibility for development and growth. The aim of MICROPOL is to take advantage of new developments within knowledge-based business, work culture and ICT to meet this challenge to implement and manage so-called Smart Work Centres (SWCs) in the context of non-metropolitan areas. SWCs are facility centres placed in rural or suburban areas offering shared flexible office spaces, state of the art ICT facilities like fibre network and videoconferencing and other resources supporting telework and flexible work forms. By stimulating entrepreneurship and allowing more people to work efficiently and physically independent of the headquaters, SWCs

thus facilitate settlement and growth in rural areas. The benefits are reduced commuting time and following strain on environment, improved work/life balance, better access to an international market of knowledge-based telework and the possibility of living in rural areas while retaining challenging jobs in the knowledge economy traditionally linked to metropolitan areas.

In March 2012 MICROPOL had a Kick Off meeting in Denmark focusing on 'The future labor market' and how ICT will affect the work paradigm in the future. In May 2013 the MICROPOL team went to Estonia to explore e-Estonia, which is a nation-wide ICT governmental solution, with a positive impact on the conditions for establish and run SWCs. In September 2012 MICROPOL went to France to visit the best examples of SWCs so far in rural France. The SWC situated in Lormes was established in 2008 where 8 smart workers do their daily work primarily for companies in Paris. In November 2012 MICROPOL went to Italy who showcased us

how the perfect branding strategy could make a difference for rural areas in attracting companies and qualified people. In March 2013 MICROPOL went to Spain. Prominent examples of how SWCs can have a social impact in the light of adverse economic circumstances were shown. In May 2013 the MICROPOL team went to UK who showcased us how to use PPP to promote rural broadband. Furthermore examples of SWCs were shown, funded through third-sector, PPP and also public funded. In September 2013 the partnership went to Hungary who gave an excellent insight into proto-SWCs and highlighted strategies needed to upgrate/modify them to full or hybride SWC status. In March 2014 the partnership went to NL where we explored the methods to re-use old empty buildings in rural areas by renevating them and giving them new purpose. Finally the partnership went to SL in May 2014 to prepare the final outputs from the project. In terms of communication.MICROPOL attended the OPEN DAYS in 2013 hosting a workshop

to disseminate the idea of SWCs in rural Europe.Furthermore newsletters are sent out regularly and meetings are held with politicians and policy makers in order to influence and promote the policies towards SWCs. Furthermore a stakeholder visit was organized to France in November 2013. The project was divided into 6 themes in which a total number of 28 good practices have been identified and 1 have been transferred. Besides the project team has conducted 10 policy recommendations where 3 policy instruments have been improved, 1 matrix of the different kinds of SWCs, a sustainable business model and a practical guide for local commuties who wish to establish their first SWC, a comparative analysis of European SWCs and finally a return on investment study in local SWCs. Finally a MICROPOL film has been produced which can be found on You Tube. All the outputs will be found on the project website as well as they were presented at the final conference in Aalborg, Denmark September 2014.

Partnership

Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
North Denmark Region, Aalborg Øst DENMARK Nordjylland 4529412774
inge.merete.nesgaard@rn.dk
Province of Drenthe, Assen NETHERLANDS Drenthe +31 592 365 769
g.meijers@provinciedrenthe.nl
Intermunicipality Association from Chiva to Utiel, Yatova SPAIN Comunidad Valenciana 34962504887
gds.moran@gmail.com
West-Pannon Region- and Economy Development Supplier Public Nonprofit Ltd., Szombathely HUNGARY Nyugat-Dunantul +36-94-500-780
illeskaroly@rft.t-online.hu and antalanita@rft.t-online.hu
BSC, Business Support Centre Ltd, Kranj, Kranj SLOVENIA Zahodna Slovenija + 386 4 28 17 239
helena.cvenkel@bsc-kranj.sl
Northumberland County Council, Morpeth UNITED KINGDOM Northumberland and Tyne and Wear 00 44 (0)1670 533930
kevin.higgins@northumberland.gov.uk
Municipality of Teramo, Teramo ITALY Abruzzo 390861324462
a.perfetti@comune.teramo.it
IFKA Public Benefit Non-profit Ltd for the Development of Industry, Budapest HUNGARY Kozep-Magyarorszag 00 36 1 312 2213
baracsi@ifka.hu , bardos@ifka.hu
Riga Technical University, Riga LATVIA Latvija 37167089430
vitola.alise@gmail.com , maija.senfelde@rtu.lv
Niévre Numérique, Nevers FRANCE Bourgogne +33 3 86 61 82 66
jd.malot@niverlan.fr
Estonia Advice Centres, Tallinn ESTONIA Eesti +372 6999691
info@abikeskused.ee
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Jaen, Jaen SPAIN Andalucía 34953247950
iniciativascomunitarias@camarajaen.org

Location

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