The Southern Regional Assembly is the Irish partner on EMPOWER, a project approved under the Interreg Europe Programme 2014-2020 and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project brings together 9 partners from Slovenia, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, France, Sweden, Poland, Germany and Spain, with a total budget of €2.23m.
EMPOWER aims to identify good practices in the use of ICT systems for energy monitoring in medium-sized situations (different size and use of buildings, old, new or renovated), analyse critical success factors and how these tools are linked to financing of the refurbishments.
EMPOWER innovatively addresses two urgent challenges in European cities and regions, the opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions from buildings using new technology and better management, and the need for more investment to meet the EU’s CO2 reduction targets. The potential is considerable but progress is slow. Energy monitoring systems are available for individual houses and large schemes, but little exists for medium sized schemes.
The project will improve regional policies by:
- analysing partner plans through peer review;
- identifying good practices that will improve these plans, studying them through Study Visits, importing good practices via special workshops and Regional Action Plans;
- developing cost-effective energy monitoring systems and using these in existing buildings and to attract private investment;
- building the capacity of all relevant public authorities including ERDF Managing Authorities.
EMPOWER aims to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by 2021 through the 9 policy instruments identified.
The project will:
- implementing investment, organisational and optimisation measures in the participating “test sites”;
- develop at least 2 cost effective energy monitoring systems.
Improved governance: partners will demonstrate that “Good energy management is a part of good governance” ; monitored savings will reassure financial institutions about the rewards of long term energy management investment.
The Southern Regional Assembly is the Irish partner on MARIE, an interregional project which aims to improve regional public policy that supports delivery of Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) in design, production & distribution of innovation in Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) sectors and models in ways that prevent negative social & environmental impact and contribute to better quality of life.
EU regions face common challenges of perceived complexity of the concept RRI and the means of application, lack of appropriate approaches for public authorities and lack of awareness over its potential impacts.
The Southern Regional Assembly joins 9 other partners from from Italy, Romania, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, and Germany on this €1.9m project.
MARIE uses interregional learning to deliver 3 types of RRI public support actions:
- Quadruple helix: stakeholders from research, business, public authorities & civil society must work together throughout the life cycle of the R&I process
- Open Innovation: enterprises using both internal & external ideas, partners & sources to encourage innovation, integrating their own knowledge with complementary capabilities & resources of others
- Information & tools: events, training, information hubs, methodologies, standards, ICT tools to promote understanding of RRI and assist informed decision-making about its strategic application.
Stakeholder engagement at regional and interregional level will be key to develop Regional Action Plans that result in improved policy instruments; more and better-targeted funding for RRI delivery; increased capacity among innovation actors; consolidated partnerships of quadruple helix innovation chain stakeholders.
MARIE’s outputs include:
- Interregional learning events (workshops, open sessions, study visits, feedback sessions), creation of and regular meetings of Local Stakeholder Groups;
- RRI inventory of experiences, available online Good Practices and tools on policy support tools (Quadruple Helix / Open Innovation / Information & Tools);
- A Knowledge Exchange Hub to share project material;
- 10 Policy Good Practices related to successful RRI policy instruments for transfer as part of Regional Action Plans;
- Increased capacity in design, implementation, and monitoring of policy instruments;
- Regional Action Plans for policy actions in RRI delivery designed and implemented.
- Policy instruments improved due to insertion of RRI concept into innovation delivery system in S3 sectors;
- More and better targeted public funding, thanks to better use of ERDF ROP;
- New / improved models for RRI delivery in S3 sectors that promote cooperation among regional innovation chain actors (Quadruple Helix), openness (Open Innovation) and RRI awareness and capacity (Information & Tools);
- Greater awareness among regional stakeholders and wider public on the potential for regional innovation delivery policies to promote responsible growth.
The MARIE project was approved under the Interreg Europe Programme 2014-2020 and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).