EURADA working groups
Currently EURADA has 4 active working groups
1. Smart Heritage Working Group
The Smart Heritage Cities Working Group (WG) was established to gather expertise on the topics of smart cities and communities and Positive Energy Blocks (balance between energy consumption and production at local level) in cultural heritage areas.
The aim of this Working Group is to create a community of professionals to:
- facilitate the exchange of practices and knowledge in the field of smart cities and communities to achieve Positive Energy Blocks, while addressing the constraints experienced in heritage cities;
- lead new ideas and cooperate at European level to develop new projects focused on smart cities and communities for Positive Energy Blocks applied to cultural heritage cities;
- disseminate best practices in initiatives related to the topic of smart cities, energy transition, and Positive Energy Blocks (for instance the project POCITYF);
- engage partners and followers to work on common initiatives and projects;
- increase the support provided for local and regional agencies and SMEs on the energy transition challenge.
Activites of the smart heritage cities working group
The members of the WG are scheduled to meet 4 times a year to discuss topics under the following themes:
- Smart Cities and Communities
- Positive Energy Blocks in Cultural Heritage Areas
However, any proposals and inputs for other topics of interest to the members and stakeholders are welcome.
Three of the Working Group meetings will be held virtually and one face-to-face whenever possible.
- 24th of November 2020
The first WG meeting featured presentations by Martijn de Vries representative of Alkmaar (Netherlands) and João Formiga from Évora (Portugal). Both Martijn and João gave some insights into how they are dealing with problems inherent to 21st century cities, and how to address them through the combination of breakthrough initiatives such as the Positive Energy Blocks, e-mobility, or innovative ICT technologies while respecting the urban cultural heritage. The last part of the meeting consisted of a survey and consecutive discussion about participants’ relationship on the topics of smart cities and PEB.
- 14th of April 2021
During the second meeting of the Working Group, “EU funding and other financing resources for smart innovation in historical cities” were presented. The session focused on funding opportunities to bring innovation into historical cities.
The meeting featured Mr. Rui Barroso, from DECSIS, who talked about Funding and Financing Models for Cities and Mr. José Miguel Costa, from the POCITYF consortium, who discussed Horizon Europe funding opportunities for cities.
- 28th of June 2021
On the 28th of June 2021, the 3rd meeting of the Smart Heritage Cities working group was held.As a result of the continued interest of WG members on the topic of Funding and Financing Opportunities, the meeting covered the topic of Public-Private Partnerships.
The topic was then expounded on by Lada Strelnikova who is responsible for managing the investment management mandate for the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF) within DWS. She discussed the aspect of technical assistance of the EEEF as a traditional subsidy option for public authorities to move projects forward and prepare an investment program.
Do you want to know more about this event? Check out this article.
- 28th of October 2021
The working group’s 4th and first in-person meeting took place as a hybrid workshop during Agorada+ 2021 on the 28th of October in Valencia, Spain. After almost two years of online meetings, members of the working group were elated to have the opportunity for an in-person meeting. The meeting was designed to be a collaborative discussion and the topic of discussion was decided after an online vote by members. Specifically, the impact of innovative energy solutions in cultural heritage sites and buildings was the main umbrella topic of discussion from which several questions were formulated to address sub-topics such as Energy Innovation, Citizen Involvement, and Energy Communities among others. Curious to learn more about what was discussed? Click here to read the article.
- 4th of March 2022
The topic of Energy Communities was expounded on during this meeting through several sub-questions that encouraged an exchange of ideas. After defining what an Energy Community is, the group focused on the question “Do energy communities solve the issue of energy poverty?” Presentations by Ruth Borrego from the Andalusian Energy Agency and Dora Biondani of the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub guided the discussion. Watch the meeting recording here.
- 9th of June 2022
This meeting focused on the topic of Citizen Engagement. After defining the concept of Citizen Engagement, the group learned about the various levels of citizen engagement and how this affects initiatives of a territory. Best practices and practical examples in the field were then showcased. Presentations made by Bianca Banica, Manuel Aires de Matos, Angela Simone, and Giuliana Gemini helped connect related questions and topics around citizen engagement. Not able to join the meeting? Watch the recording here.
21st of July 2022
Entitled “Heritage cities’ energy transformation: lessons and experiences on legal and regulatory restrictions, new technological solutions and digitalisation”, the event took the format of an interactive hybrid discussion in two-parts. The first half of the session involved speakers who were either researchers or working in municipalities who shared their initiatives, solutions, and barriers/restrictions they encountered in the transformation of their territories into Positive-Energy Districts. During the second half of the session, the plenary split into two groups to answer 2 questions in a world café style. Not able to join the meeting? Watch the recording here.
6th of December 2022
The working group’s 8th meeting focused on “Building Smart Cities with Cultural Heritage”. With speakers from Alkmaar’s Smart City Programme and Grupo ENERCOOP, them meeting explored the concept of why smart cities are necessary and how cultural heritage cities can be smart cities. It was also explained, among others, what and how smart cities are classified, what the main challenges are in transforming a city into a smart city, and what the differences are between smart cities and smart cultural heritage cities. Watch the recording here.
27th of March 2023
The 9th Meeting of the Working Group on Smart Heritage Cities, organized by EURADA and the POCITYF project, focused on sharing experiences and best practices related to cultural heritage preservation and energy transition. Two case studies were presented, including the Smarter Together project in Vienna and the GrowSmarter project in Cologne and Stockholm, highlighting the importance of involving stakeholders in all phases of the process and the potential for transformative change through collaborative efforts towards smart and sustainable cities. Participants discussed the significance of sharing vision, values, best practices, and knowledge among stakeholders, creating partnerships between governance and private stakeholders, and engaging citizens in the process. Watch the recording here.
17th of May 2023
The 10th Meeting of the Working Group on Smart Heritage Cities, entitled "Best Practices on Smart City Transformation and Rehabilitation," provided a platform for local authorities and stakeholders to share their experiences in preserving and restoring cultural heritage sites. The meeting highlighted the increasing concern for climate change adaptation and its impact on cultural heritage preservation. Esteemed experts and winners of the REGIOSTAR Awards presented their experiences and insights, including Stephen Cini, who discussed the Rehabilitation and Restoration of the Gozo Cittadella, an initiative that revitalized dead spaces and incorporated innovative infrastructure development. Karen Hood-Cree shared the achievements of the CobBauge project, which promoted sustainable and low-carbon housing through a cross-border partnership. If you missed the event, you can watch the recordinghere.
11th Meeting - July 2023 - Brussels
The 11th Smart Heritage Cities Working Group Meeting entitled "Empowering Smart Tourism: Unlocking Sustainable Transformation," will focus on the growing importance of smart tourism and its role in preserving cultural heritage while providing innovative and sustainable visitor experiences. The meeting will serve as a platform for sharing experiences and insights among local authorities and stakeholders, with expert presentations connecting energy transition and cultural heritage preservation. In-depth discussions on related questions and topics will be facilitated during the event. Stay tuned for further updates.
The working group is collecting ideas for topics you would like to discuss in more detail. We want to hear your thoughts through this link.
Please stay tuned for further updates!
How to join the Smart Heritage Cities WG
The Smart Heritage Cities WG is open to all interested stakeholders: Local authorities, regional development agencies, their stakeholders or EURADA members can apply. If your organisation is interested in joining this WG you can sign up here.
2. Digitalisation Working Group
EURADA, with the support from FundingBox, has relaunched the activities of its working group in Industry 4.0, considering the relevance of digitalisation for regional economic development in the current context.
The Digitalisation Working Group was established to facilitate partnerships and mutual learning among regional economic development practitioners. Digital transition and Industry 4.0 is one of the key pillars of the future competitiveness of the European industry as facilitator of economic growth and one of the priorities of the twin transition of the European Union.
The aim of this Working Group is to create a community of professionals to:
- facilitate the exchange of practices and knowledge in the field of digitalisation and industry 4.0, with a special focus on Digital Innovation Hubs;
- lead new ideas and cooperate at European level to develop new projects focused on the implementation of digital transformation for the non-tech industry and SMEs;
- disseminate best practices in initiatives related to the topic of digitalisation, industry 4.0, and Digital Innovation Hubs;
- engage partners and followers to work on common initiatives and projects;
- increase the support provided for Digital Innovation Hubs, non-tech industry, and SMEs in their attempts to consolidate and handle their digital transition, respectively.
Activities of the Digitalisation Working Group
The Working Group meetings will take place four times per year; three of them will be held virtually and one face-to-face. The first meeting took place online on the 11th of March and the second on the 26th of May 2021. The third meeting will take place on the 23 of September.
The first in-person meeting will be held at a time when the situation allows for it more safely. These meetings will aim to share experiences, good practices and give the opportunity to listen and converse with experts on the matter.
Additionally, the Working Group will be accompanied by a “Digitalisation Newsletter”, which will be published four times a year, usually following the Working Group meetings. The first Neswletter was sent in May 2021, and the topics addressed included news about the Working Group and its activities, a compilation of interesting articles, the lastest updates about relevant Digitalisation projects, and several events that will take place in the near future.
- 11th of March 2021
On the 11th of March the first meeting of the Digitalisation Working Group took place via Zoom. Through this meeting more than 130 participants were able to learn more about Digital Innovation Hubs and Industry 4.0. During this meeting, we had a brief introduction about the Digitalisation Working Group and what being part of this community of professionals means by Esteban PELAYO from EURADA, who underlined the importance of Digitalisation in these days. After this, Beatriz ASENSIO from ICE Castilla y León presented the successful collaboration between the DIH and the RDA of the region. Later, Graciela GARRIDO and Mayte CARRACEDO from FundingBox gave us an introduction to the European Digital Innovation Hubs, general framework and potential opportunities for RDAs. They explained all aspects of the EDIH open call and shared their tips on how to make a good application. To finalize, Kuba KRUSZELNICKI from FundingBox explained the ongoing opportunities for regions arising from projects related to digitalization and remarked the importance of being aware of the opportunities of cascade funding. This meeting aimed to share experiences, good practices, and having the opportunity to listen and converse with experts on the matter.
Did you miss the meeting? Don't fear! You can re-watch it on our Youtube channel.
- 26th of May 2021
On the 26th of May the second meeting of the Digitalisation Working Group took place. The objective of the meeting was to explore new methodologies to discover the performance and trends of regional companies in European programmes and explore new tools to connect with these regional champions, the Digitalisation Working Group is organising a workshop on regional follow-up funding. This workshop was oriented to regional authorities and covered topics such as the effective methods to create synergies between regions and funding opportunities based on the smartization report elaborated in the framework of the L4MS project, explained by Thibaud DUBRULE from FundingBox; Calendar of open calls and ongoing and future cascade funding opportunities for regions and their local companies, presented by Kuba KRUSZELNICKI from FundingBox. Throughout the meeting, Thibaud DUBRULE, Kuba KRUSZELNICKI and Arturo IBÁÑEZ, from FundingBox presented digital tools that could help the regional authorities design a tailored follow-up funding for their local champions. An overview of the challenges and barriers in follow-up funding methodologies was also presented by Manuela AZEVEDO and Pedro ROCHA from PRODUTECH and Sabine GIRON from IMR. In the final part of the meeting Andreja ŠEPERAC from SIMORA, Development Agency of Sisak-Moslavina county (Croatia) presented its good practices and challenges in its regional DIH: PISMO incubator about gaming. Afterwards, Silvia DE LA MAZA from Innovalia explained the DIH-World open call which seeks innovative experiments across Europe that integrates digital technologies in the processes, products or services of manufacturing SMEs
- 23rd of September 2021
On the 23rd of September the Digitalisation Working Group organised the third meeting of the Working Group: SME experiments as a way to forge collaborations and support regional adoption of digital technologies. After this unusual time, we had the pleasure to organise the first hybrid meeting in EURADA’s premises.
The workshop was moderated by our colleague Kuba Kruszelnicki from FundingBox and started with Kristina Karanikolova from TNO who gave us an overview of the BOWI project and the involvement of regions to support the uptake of digital technologies. Following the topic, Rainer Leupers from RWTH explained the Tetramax project and how to forge sustainable collaborations to boost innovation. After these presentations, some experiments related to the previous projects were presented. Within the framework of the Tetramax project Dr. Ing. Christian Hansen presented the TTX UnifiedAOTool and Mr. Manil Dev Gomony (Nokia Bell Labs) presented the TTX ERIC experiment. It was followed by two more BOWI SME experiments. The first one was Sensor Innovation AS presented by Sondre Rennan Nesset and Transmission Dynamics Poland explained by Jarek Rosinski. In the final part of the meeting Anita Tregner, representing our member META-Group, presented the I3: “Interregional Innovation Investment” initiative which supports interregional partnerships to deliver investments on S3-related priorities and to reinforce globally competitive EU value chains.
- 29th October 2021
The 4th meeting of the Digitalisation Working Group: Cascade funding and innovation investments on sustainability took place on the 29th of October in Valencia (Spain). We organised a workshop in the framework of AGORADA+2021 to showcase how cascade funding facilitates innovation investments on sustainability.
The workshop was moderated by our colleague Jakub Kruszelnicki from FundingBox who gave us an introduction about the Digitalisation Working Group. The first speaker was Graciela Garrido from FundingBox who explained to us how cascade funding facilitates innovation investments on sustainability. Afterwards, Maria Roca from I4MS explained the I4MS project and the objectives. She underlined the advantages of the use of labels or seals of excellence in regions. The conversation was followed by Begoña Sánchez from TECNALIA who explained the two Working Groups that I4MS has within the project and presented of the current results gathered during I4MS WG sessions. The workshop finished with the presentation of Carmen Renovell from CEEI Valencia who presented and analysed the Cooperation and Innovation Map of the Region of Valencia as well as future development of the region.
31st March 2022
On the 31st of March 2022, the first meeting of the Digitalisation Working Group took place online, answering the important question: how can regions keep up to date with the necessities of their companies in terms of funding and other type of support programmes?The event focused on the identification of the main challenges in the implementation of the follow-up funding schemes. RDAs, DIH and RTOs were invited to present the most relevant barriers that they encounter in their respective territories.The evidence collected during this first workshop suggests that the way the dialogue is structured remains highly context dependent. Existing institutions, the national and regional administrative structure, culture and historical trajectory of innovation policy influence the ways countries and regions organise their processes. Despite the resulting heterogeneity, a set of findings influencing the success of the joint definition of regional support mechanism were brought forward during the discussion, gathering as the main challenges for the regions:
Challenge 1. Guidance for the implementation of regional funds
Challenge 2. Organisation and coordination of the stakeholder dialogue
Challenge 3. Skills and knowledge
Challenge 4. Stable and predictive funding programme schemes
Challenge 5. Alignment of regional and European funding schemes
Challenge 6. Follow up schemes for European open calls
Did you miss that meeting? You can rewatch it here.
17th May 2022
On the 17th of May, with more than 40 people on-site, EURADA with the support of FundingBox, the Regional Development Agency of Maribor as well as the Technology Park Pomurje organised the second hybrid meeting of the Digitalisation Working group in 2022: Regional solutions for the implementation of follow-up funding schemes, in Maribor.
The speakers were both representatives of EURADA members, Regional Development Agencies and representatives from DIHs. Following the main challenges raised in the first meeting of the Digitalisation Working group in March 2022 in the implementation of the follow-up funding schemes, RDAs, DIH and RTOs were invited to present the most relevant barriers that they encounter in their respective territories. For all those challenges (see the challenges in the previous article) the panellists gave different solutions depending on their context: for all of them being part of networks is crucial in order to have information related to European funding, European opportunities, and future collaboration; to have a strong collaboration with different actors in the regions and the organisations are essential to understand the needs of the regions; training, workshops, and mentoring for the SMEs and stakeholders; different programmes which aim to teach students at an early age about digitalisation and the different opportunities related to it; kindergarten programmes for some of the regions focused on specific fields; funding support (brain drain); incubation, funding schemes, consultations, brokerage, networking, crowdfunding campaigns; comprehensive support and tailored services for the SMEs and the ecosystem in order to properly understand their specific needs, and lastly, the exchange of expertise.
Stay tuned for future meetings of this working group (likely at the beginning of October 2022)
How to become a member of the Digitalisation Working Group?
This Digitalisation Working Group is open to all interested stakeholders that wish to internationalise. To become a member please fill out this form. If you might have any questions, do not hesitate to contact digitalisationwg(at)eurada.org
The EURADA Working Group on Digitalisation released 6 newsletter:
3. Interregional Innovation Investments (I3) working group
The EURADA Working Group on “Interregional Innovation Investments” was established to help EURADA members get involved in the I3 initiative. For this purpose, members can provide draft ideas that will be screened with the help of MetaGroup, in the persons of Andrea Di Anselmo & Anita Tregner-Mlinaric. Another service provided by the secretariat is to find partners and brokerage among the ongoing S3P partnerships.
The aim of this Working Group is to:
- inform the members of EURADA about the Expert Group established by the European Commission;
- collect inputs to be provided in the framework of the group;
- discuss possibilities of cooperation in potential project ideas in order to ensure enough quality in the project proposals;
- help EURADA members to get involved in the projects;
- find partners and brokerage among the ongoing S3P partnerships
The I3 call will open after summer, hence now is the moment to start the preparation on the partnerships to ensure enough quality in the project proposals that would be submitted after summer. In order to achieve this goal, the members of EURADA are going to discuss possibilities of cooperation in potential project ideas.
Activites of the I3 working group
Members of the EURADA’s Working Group are expected to provide inputs to be conveyed to the European Commissionbased on their experiences and their vision or expectations on the interregional innovation investments. Members are welcome to provide feedback and contributions to the documents related to the Work Programme, the calls and any other document or work proposed by the Commission. All the participants received the draft versions of I3 Work programme and I3 Background document.
- 18th of June 2021
Valeria Bandini (ART – ER) is the representative of the European Development Agencies in this group. The first meeting on 18th June started with an explanation from Valeria Bandini about the Expert Group of the European Commission and its first meeting that took place on Tuesday 15th of June. After the introduction, Anita Tregner – Mlinaric’ presented the I3 initiative and drafted the content of the call, based on the information available. Valeria Bandini updated EURADA members on the first meeting of the Expert Group. The part related to comments and questions from EURADA members was very interesting and useful.
- 26th of January 2023
Follow-up meeting on the I3 Instrument Info Day on 19 January 2023 during which the upcoming “Strand 2b – Capacity Building in Less Developed Regions” was presented.
After a quick roundtable to understanding the interests of the participating members, Valeria Bandini (ART-ER) presented the upcoming call and gave a quick recap of the info day organised by the EC during the previous week.
The session was concluded with a Q&A session sharing important aspects and best practices for applying to the call.
List of the members of the I3 WG
Sign-up is ongoing.
How to join the I3 WG
The Working Group on I3 initiative is opened only to EURADA members. For more information please contact us at i3(at)eurada.org
4. Strategic Foresight Working Group
The Strategic Foresight Working Group was launched by EURADA, following the proposal made by the Regional Development Agency of Murcia (INFO Murcia) for analysing strategies, methodologies, tools and instruments from the point of view of innovation ecosystems governance and priorities.
It has been acknowledged that we are living at a crucial moment for regional competitiveness due to Brexit, Covid-19, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine; therefore, this situation made it necessary to intervene in the methodology of data collection including strategic foresight and technological tools to be aware of the trends and opportunities within the sector.
This new initiative seeks to anticipate skill shortages, assess needs and weaknesses in the local supply chains, detect vulnerabilities or strategic points, prepare evidence-based anticipatory policymaking and investment, as well as disseminate knowledge to industrial sectors and companies working within it.
The specific objectives of this new Working Group are the following:
- Mapping EURADA’s members’ initiatives in order to understand what we have achieved in this field
- Researching on the European Panorama in order to learn about what the other organisations are doing with particular emphasis on the regional-place-based approach,
- Creating value added to be shared with other potential structural collaborators.
The work of the WG will be structured around 4 consecutive moments: mapping of the actions of the member RDAs; external information meetings with the European Commission and Parliament, OECD, and other European organisations; internal meetings among members; and presentation of the outcomes.
20th September 2022: On the 20th of September, the first meeting of the Strategic Foresight Working Group opened the activities gathering 16 online participants. Rafael José Martínez Fernández, Head of the Strategic Initiatives Area at INFO Murcia– InfoMurcia- welcomed the participants by making an introduction on the main objectives of the WG and underlining what being part of this community of professionals means. During this meeting, EURADA members registered to the WG met in the virtual room to discuss the concept of strategic foresight and showcased their motivations and expectations. Interesting exchanges guided the discussion for an hour and a half where important insights for the future emerged, laying the foundation for the upcoming activities of the newly formed WG.
17th October 2022 : The second meeting of WG about Strategic Foresight took place online on the 17th of October 2022. Juergen Wengel, from the European Commission in DG RTD Unit G.1 Common R&I Strategy & Foresight Service led the session presenting the main content of the 2022 Strategic Foresight Report. Titled Twinning the green and digital transitions in the new geopolitical context, it focuses on the interplay between Europe’s twin transitions while considering the disruptive and changing geopolitical landscape in which these transitions are happening. It highlights the key role played by digital technologies in Europe’s five strategic and most greenhouse gas-emitting sectors: energy, transport, industry, construction, and agriculture. It also outlines 10 areas of action key to maximise synergies and reduce tensions between both transitions towards 2050.
The EC representative explained the structure around on Strategic Foresight with the EU-wide Foresight Network and Ministers for the Future and two more technical networks: strategic foresight network and Horizon Europe foresight network. About this last one, tasks:
- Foresight on demand: research institutions working on foresight;
- DG RTD and JRC long tradition work on foresight with studies within the successive R&D framework programmes and also other EU policies research related and also with capacity training. They are currently working on the Horizon Europe work programme 2024 – 2025 where they must reflect on the technologies, social, economic and environmental challenges that research must focus on;
- Various subjects: Ucrania, hydrogen, science, technology, innovation, ecosystem performance…
- Link all to foresight activities in Members States with Foresight workshops in every EU Council Presidency;
- Mutual learning exercise: policy support facility under Horizon Europe: 9 members states exchanging views on different topics such as disruptions, twin transition or how to export experiences gained under Horizon/S3 strategies in foresight activities.
Comments from participants:
- Need to bring all this work to our reality, importance of engaging with our regional stakeholders, make sure all the work (studies…) will be read and taken into account for future decisions/policy making. If we want impact, we need to involve stakeholders and policy makers.
- Most important thing about foresight: to point out different future possibilities, different scenarios that can be adapted to specific needs, or areas or regions. Many things to do regardless of the scenario, this is clear when all scenarios are raised: Promising new technologies, worldwide incubators, promising technological areas
- Not only technology, also engagement, social innovation
- RDAs are in the middle of foresight high level exercises and the actors on the ground, the companies. We are the key entities to bring foresight to the ground.
18th January 2023: The third meeting of the Strategic Foresight Working Group hosted Thomas Hemmelgarn and Anne-Katrin Bock from Unit S1 EU Policy Lab: Foresight, Design & Behavioural Insights. Directorate S. Innovation in Science and Policymaking at the Joint Research Center. Bogdan Chelariu and Roberta Dall’Olio, EURADA President and Director respectively, welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of Strategic Foresight for Regional Development Agencies and EURADA, which was kindly made aware of the topic by INFO Murcia. Especially since EURADA, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary last year, started a process of foresight on regional development until 2050. Rafael Martínez, Head of the Strategic Initiatives Area at INFO Murcia, also pointed out the possibility of learning practices for strategic foresight from the JRC.
Thomas Hemmelgarn stressed the importance to connect with EURADA and its members as European policy ultimately takes place in the regions and needs to be connected to the citizens. He then explained the purpose of unit JRC.S.1 in providing science for European Commission policy as well as in policy implementation. Foresight is also an action among many that need to be considered together (modelling, behavioural insights) and it needs to be understood as a participatory process. The current pillars of their work are a focus on the twin transition, technologies and risks, as well as methodologies and training.
Anne-Katrin Bock then presented the different methodological approaches and exercises of the Competence Centre on Foresight in more detail. She clarified the goal of bringing future-oriented input into EU policy making, to develop an anticipatory culture and to create a collective intelligence about the future. The methods used for this purpose include horizon scanning, megatrends analysis (whose results are reflected in the current flagship works of the annual Strategic Foresight Reports), and a scenario exploration system. There is a need to adapt processes to implementation since there is always a time limit to do foresight.
This was followed by a discussion on the possibilities of strategic foresight for RDAs and their potential involvement in exercises and policymaking at European level. In conclusion, Thomas Hemmelgarn advocated using the methods provided by the JRC, adapting them to one’s own needs and reflecting on the process rather than focusing only on the results, as the former could sometimes be as informative as the latter. In addition, he pointed out that JRS is already working with external stakeholder. S1 unit is willing to cooperate with EURADA and its network in the future to help the regional community to use their products/tools and have a supportive role.
13 March 2023: For its fourth meeting, the EURADA Working Group on Strategic Foresight welcomed Delphine Clavreul and Betty-Ann Bryce from the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, who provided insights into their work on the future of regions and the OECD’s actions to anticipate change and strengthen regional resilience.
The OECD evidence base on the future of regions forecasts the impact of megatrends and long-term transformations across regions, such as the demographic, climate, and technological change/digitalisation. These megatrends will in turn have consequences on more specific regional transformations such as mobility, productive systems, energy & food networks, land use, and solidarity.
Here, foresight becomes a key tool to enable future-proof regional policy, on which the OECD has published a number of reports, such as the upcoming OECD Regional Outlook 2023: Scenarios 2045, that investigates multilevel governance as driver of change and sketches out three potential scenarios on the relationship between the regional and national level: the foregone region, the connected regions, and the region-state.
The second half of the presentations focused on rural areas, and the challenges and approaches of the OECD to bring foresight to these areas characterised first and foremost by their diversity. Which in turn means that each rural area requires a distinct approach if the use of foresight actions is to become an effective instrument for policy recommendations. The goal being to understand what different trends mean for rural development and how to make these more resilient, with a particular challenge to build up capacity for policy makers.
The meeting concluded with a Q&A session in which Betty-Ann Bryce and Delphine Clavreul addressed, among other things, the challenges they have encountered in the OECD’s efforts to make strategic foresight an integral part of regional and local policymaking. Language and translation problems were mentioned here, related to the rather ephemeral nature of foresight practices, the need to step out of one’s comfort zone and their long duration.
In conclusion, strategic foresight needs to be understood as a means of stimulating thinking (as opposed to ‘predicting’ the future) and co-design with local/regional actors is a key to success. This is of great importance to Regional Development Agencies across Europe, each of which has its own specific focus, often their close connection and support to local businesses, as noted by Rafael Martínez (INFO Murcia), on whose initiative the EURADA Working Group on Strategic Foresight was established.
Stay tuned for more information!
How to join the Foresight WG
If you are interested in joining this EURADA Working Group, please register at this link.