We are all about exchanging knowledge and good practices among regions. Our 258 projects organise many study visits, staff exchanges and meetings with regional stakeholders. Public authorities acquire new skills and knowledge during the project events about the different approaches adopted in other regions.
However, there comes a time when the learning process needs to turn into concrete measures. The public authorities use their new knowledge and take action in order to improve their policies. For instance, they finance new initiatives or change the way they manage their public support.
Testing new ideas
It is not always possible for a region to immediately and fully implement a good idea found in another region. Sometimes the idea first needs testing in the territory to check if it achieves the expected results there. Only then can the idea be generalised.
For such testing, we offer our projects the possibility to implement pilot actions. As of April 2020, our monitoring committee approved a total of 69 pilot actions. A total of 103 partners from 64 regions all over Europe are implementing the actions:
- 19 are helping to foster innovation in Europe,
- 8 will lead to better supporting schemes for SMEs,
- 24 accompany the transition to a low-carbon economy, and
- 18 contribute to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage and to a better management of resources.
We support the pilot actions with EUR 3.1 million ERDF. We expect that their impact will be great at the regional level, because they act as a leverage for further projects and funding.
Pilots in action
Take for example the NICHE project. In it the Regional Development Agency (RDA) for Western Romania adapted two initiatives to their local context, one identified in Donegal County (Ireland) and the other on the island of Crete (Greece). They eventually tested the creation of a local food identity and a map helping to identify more than 45 quality food producers and artisans in the region. Supported by a promotional campaign, local hotels, cafés and restaurants have decided to revise their offers and create menus based on local products.
In the iEER project, all partner regions have decided to test the Aula Emprende programme from Valencia (Spain). The programme involves professors and teachers in learning new methods to promote and teach entrepreneurial skills in classrooms. At the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, the training took place in Hauts-de-France region with very positive results.
Another example comes from the School Chance project. The municipality of Girona and the Regional Government of Catalonia in Spain are working together on a network of School Mobility Managers. The idea to support integrating road safety and mobility in school policies and educational projects came from the Municipality of Reggio Emilia in Italy. The network will be first tested in Girona, before it is implemented all over the region.
Finally, in the CD-ETA project, the Estonian War Museum in Viimsi will test the 3D modelling of rare and fragile heritage artefacts, following the techniques of the Italian Foundation for Research and Innovation. The goal is to increase the uptake of 3D modelling in Estonian museums via ERDF co-financed projects.
These are only a few examples of how the learning gained in a project can be tested in a region and hopefully bring about long-term impact. The examples also show the variety and richness of the pilot actions we in Interreg Europe support. Download the full list of approved pilot actions.