In the second part of the meeting, the stakeholders were introduced to the new S3P Water Smart Territories (WST) thematic area of the Industrial Modernization smart specialization platform. During the presentation, special emphasis was given to mapping exercise on the capacities presented by the different regions and in the different themes of the thematic platform (Resilient Infrastructure, Services and Governance, Circular Economy and Digitization). From the presentation came the following comments/suggestions:
1 - The process of choosing regional assets and future projects was questioned. It was explained that due to the limited time available, it was decided, within the available information, to present projects that, from the beginning, were known to get some tangible results. In addition, it was noted that this does not invalidate that the Northern Region can collaborate in other areas within the platform.
2 - The financing possibilities that could be provided under the new “Component 5” program were also discussed. In this context, it was asked if the regions that are involved in the WST thematic area would be eligible for this financing programme. It was explained that no, this is open to all regions. At this moment, the main objective is to lobby for water technology innovation in the next RIS3.
3 - The primary objective of the participation in the WST platform is to follow and lead initiatives, and to be more aware of the design of next calls for cross-regional co-investment projects (component 5). It was also informed that the RECONFIRM project could provide consultancy support to members during project applications.
4 - Finally, it was also discussed the possibility of stakeholder meetings to be held more regularly, in order to allow the different entities to exchange opinions on the various working progresses, namely in the context of iWATERMAP and WST. This aims to keep the communication flow between all, with the ultimate goal of making the North a leading water region.