Brain Flow

Project Details

Title: Brain Flow and Knowledge Transfer fostering Innovation in Border Regions
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: Yes
Duration: 1st Feb 2010 - 30th Apr 2014


Total budget: €3,400,000.00
ERDF contribution: €2,270,000.00

Lead partner

Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Haroldstraße 4
40213, Düsseldorf

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: RD'in Ellen Dörr
      Phone: 0049 211 837 2457
      Fax: 0049-211-8372718

Project summary

In the context of territorial cohesion, border regions are places where barriers towards territorial integration and competitiveness become most obvious. One significant challenge in this respect is the increasing loss of highly skilled human capital through the movement to more favourable economic environments, the so-called “brain-drain/brain-gain” phenomenon.


The “Brain Flow” partnership represents 8 border regions from 7 different countries (ES – CH – NL – NO – SE – LT – DE) being affected by this phenomenon due to their specific socio-economical and geographical characteristics.


As a lack of qualified labour force is also a barrier to the innovation and growth capacity of regions, the partnership is looking for new ways, instruments and measures to tackle the problem.


Through the joint project implementation authorities and other regional/local actors in the partner regions will be enabled to exchange best practices and experiences on interregional level in order to develop and

introduce new or improved instruments to avoid or minimise brain-drain and simultaneously foster brain-gain.


Within “Brain Flow” this intense interregional exchange will take place on two complementary levels: the overall (strategic) Mini-Programme level and the individual (practical) sub-project level; both focused on three interrelated priorities:


1) Increasing regional attractiveness

2) Support to key economic sectors

3) Improving the higher education system


Trough the implementation of 8 interregional sub-projects a more intense discussion on specific (inter)regional policy instruments striving for the bundling of resources based on mutual needs by jointly addressing challenges to successfully implement sustainable regional innovation strategies will be achieved.


On the overall level competent and knowledgeable actors will be brought together in order to exchange experiences and adapt policy instruments through dedicated seminars, workshops and conferences.


The projects'

innovative aspect is the cross-cutting approach to tackle the phenomenon by looking at various aspects which influence the loss of human capital and at the same time finding solutions to commonly shared problems through the exchange of identified best practices aiming to strengthen the human capital situation in border regions. Therefore the sup-projects will contribute to the project’s overall objectives and deliver input for the exchange on overall level, which in turn provide feedback for the further implementation of the sub-projects.


The partnership brings added value by providing a comprehensive knowledge base of approaches and instruments as well as new initiatives and regional strategy plans/instruments which are of high relevance for the partners involved and beyond.


Consequently the experiences and results of the “Brain Flow” project will be communicated and actively disseminated throughout other (border) regions and interested stakeholders in Europe.

Project achievements

"Brain Flow and Knowledge Transfer fostering Innovation in Border Regions" is an INTERREG IVC MiniProgramme promoting the interregional exchange and cooperation between 8 European border regions from 7 different countries. All participating regions face an

increasing loss of highly skilled human capital moving to more favourable economic and urban areas, the socalled "brain drain/brain gain" phenomenon. Consequently, the MiniProgramme's overall aim is to enable regional authorities and other relevant local/regional actors to

develop and improve their policies and instruments to counter the outflow of skilled human capital and to attract and retain highly educated people to boost their innovation capacity and competitiveness. The succesful kick-off event took place in March 2010 in Hengelo with the main aim of connecting all partners and actors and engaging on the path of subproject development and implementation. The 1st Thematic Exchange of Experience Meeting (TEEM) took place on

October 11/12, 2010 in Karlstad (Värmland, SE) presenting the partner's specific situation regarding the steady loss of human capital and offering insights into its regional strategies. The 2nd TEEM took place on April 7/8 in Pamplona (Navarre, ES) under the headline "In between magnets" with a focus on Navarre's specific situation between Madrid and Barcelona, offering possible strategies to adopt. The 1st Annual Conference (AC) and 3rd TEEM took place on October 19/20, 2011 in Marijampole (Nemunas, LT). It reviewed all "Brain Flow" activities and addressed the headline "Go West?!" dedicated to the westbound emigration of talents from Lithuania. The 4th TEEM took place in Hamar (Hedmark, NO) on April 24/25, 2012. It was dedicated to the crossborder activities with the Swedish neighbouring region Värmland identifying good practices in their cooperation to attract and bind high potentials. The 2nd Annual Conference and 5th TEEM followed on Nov. 5/6, 2012 in Arnheim (Province of

Gelderland, NL) devoted to smart specialisation strategies and their possible impacts on human capital presenting good practices from the hosting region (Food/Health Valley). The 6th TEEM was held in cooperation with the biannual conference on Talent "Agora Talentia" on May 30/31, 2013 in Pamplona (Region of Navarre, ES) dedicated to the theme "Talent as a way out of the economic crisis". Based on 5 open calls, eight subproject applications have been approved: BUTTON, BRAND, BPCM BordInfo, Quality of Life, STEP forward, LaGoTA and TASS. The subproject BUTTON was finalised on Jan. 31,2013. The subprojects LaGoTa and BordInfo were finalised on June 30, 2013 and the sub-projects BRAND, BPCM Quality of Life, STEP forward and TASS were finalised on October 31, 2013. A consolidation of results process was launched and the external expert on the consolidation of results worked to identify best practices, synergies and future fields of action throughout the second part of 2013. Furthermore,

the Mini Programme was succesfully prolongued by three months with the new end date April 30, 2014.A "Brain Flow" workshop was held withing the framework of the Open Days in Brussels on Ocotber 9,2013 presenting the Mini Programme and its networks.To better communicate the Brain Flow issues, 1 communication strategy has been developed, 11 newsletters have been published, 1 website and 8 subproject websites were created and maintained, 1 rollup and 2 posters commissioned and a media toolkit tendered and its development been supported leading to 1 Brain Flow brochure, 8 subproject flyers, 1 press release and 5 promotion materials. The final conference on January 28th in Düsseldorf enabled the successful dissemination of project results to a wide audience. Finally, a wrap-up meeting in Düsseldorf on March 11th and 12th gave partners the opportunity to exchange the experiences they have made in the project and monitor the follow-up in their regions.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf GERMANY Düsseldorf 0049 211 837 2457
Province of Gelderland, GX Arnhem NETHERLANDS Gelderland +31 26-359 9037
Province of Overijssel, GB Zwolle NETHERLANDS Overijssel +31 38 499 7532
County Administrative Board of Värmland, Karlstad SWEDEN Norra Mellansverige +46 54 19 73 66
Nemunas Euroregion Marijampole Bureau, Marijampolė LITHUANIA Lietuva +370 343 91538
Regio Basiliensis Northwest Switzerland, Basel SWITZERLAND 0041 61 915 15 15
Hedmark County Council, Hamar NORWAY +47 62 54 44 64
Region of Navarre, Pamplona SPAIN Comunidad Foral de Navarra 0034 848 425 761


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