Spotlight on the Region: ETC Network Conference 2023
Spotlight on the Region, the annual ETC Network Conference, was co-hosted by the Southern Regional Assembly and Wexford County Council in collaboration with Celtic Routes project on Wednesday 8th March in Wexford County Hall, the first in person ETC Network event since 2019.
This event, which was delighted to welcome attendees from each county in the region, consisted of a panel discussion with Interreg National Contact Points and showcased projects undertaken in the Southern Region in the last programming period. The aim of this event was to reflect on and celebrate what we have achieved through Interreg projects during 2014-2020 programming period as well as to inspire attendees to continue to engage with Interreg programme funding going forward.
Interreg is one of the key instruments of the European Union supporting cooperation across borders through project funding. Its aim is to jointly tackle common challenges and find shared solutions in fields such as health, environment, research, education, transport, sustainable energy and more.
According to keep.eu, since the year 2000, organisations in Ireland have participated in 856 Interreg projects, with the Southern Region of Ireland participating in 326 of those Interreg projects. That’s approximately 38% of Interreg project activity in Ireland since 2000 happening in the region.
The Interreg National Contact Point Panel Discussion was moderated by Enda Hogan, Southern Regional Assembly and included National Contact Points Sarah Davoren, Interreg North West Europe, Dr Travis O'Doherty, Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic & Interreg Atlantic Area and Dr Karl Murphy, URBACT, with Interreg Europe questions being covered by Enda and Sarah.
During the 2014-2020 period the Southern Region participated in 123 Interreg Projects. Although we didn’t have time to showcase every project in the region, we had an excellent line-up of speakers featuring project officers from a variety of organisations; from local authorities, higher education, non-profits and private organisations. The following projects were showcased: under Interreg Europe we heard from FOUNDATION and MATCH-UP, under Interreg North West Europe we heard from SuNSE and RegEnergy, under Interreg Atlantic Area we heard from FAN-BEST, under Interreg Northern Periphery and Artic we heard from SenDoc and Energy Pathfinder, under Urbact we heard from the Playful Paradigm and Ru:rban and finally under Ireland Wales we heard from STREAM and Celtic Routes. This selection of projects showed attendees the breath of types of projects undertaken in the region and also that how participation in EU projects gives the Southern Region access to the wealth of knowledge across the European Union for better regional information, policy solutions for common regional challenges and regional leadership in sustainable economic, social and environmental development.
As this event took place on International Women’s Day we were delighted to share details with attendees about a study undertaken by ERNACT, a research centre in Donegal, which explored the experiences of women in European Cooperation Projects and offers suggestions for how the challenges they face might be addressed. The ERNACT Safe Travel Guidelines which were created following this study and the report on this study can be found on the ERNACT website.
An upcoming event that may be of interest to attendees at the ETC Network Conference is ‘Connecting, Communicating and Collaborating - Irish Regions Cooperating across the EU’ on 19th of April 2023 hosted by the Irish Regions European Office. At this event there will be the opportunity to guide potential participants through the application process for the various Interreg ETC programmes, the Horizon Europe Missions and LIFE funding. For more information and to register please visit this link.