Save the Date – LIFE Info Days 2022

The European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) will be hosting a number of LIFE programme info days from Wednesday the 18th until Friday the 20th of May.

This year marks the LIFE programme’s thirtieth anniversary. The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Created in 1992, it has co-financed thousands of projects. The new LIFE programme 2021-2027 has a budget of €5.4 billion and is divided into four sub-programmes:

  • Nature and biodiversity
  • Circular economy and quality of life
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Clean energy transition

The info days, organised by CINEA, will play host to a number of webinars, which will guide applicants and potential applicants through the LIFE programme, Calls for Proposals, and Priority Topics for 2022. Each of these webinars will be followed by a series of Question and Answers sessions.

Those in attendance will also be able to avail of virtual networking opportunities, as well as holding bilateral meetings with CINEA project advisors.

For more information and updates click here: Save the date: #EULife22 Info Days (europa.eu)

The Irish contact point for the LIFE programme is LIFE@decc.gov.ie

Register your interest, new PEACE Plus Programme

The cross-border PEACE Plus programme with over €1 billion will be opening for calls later this year, but you can already sign up to receive information about the themes of most interest to you. 

An information document providing an overview of the themes and investment area for the 2021-2027 programming period has been published. This document is due for approval by the European Commission and is therefore subject to change.

What is the PEACE Plus Programme?

The PEACE Plus Programme is a cross-border European Territorial Cooperation fund that builds on and continues the work on the Interreg VA and Peace IV programmes.

The overall objective of the PEACE PLUS Programme will be to build Peace and Prosperity and ensure that this Programme will leave a lasting and tangible legacy across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. The Programme’s strategy is to continue to take the opportunities and address the needs arising from the peace process in order to boost economic growth and stimulate social and economic regeneration and secondly, to promote social inclusion, particularly for those at the margins of economic and social life. The Programme will help to address many long-standing social and economic challenges which have, and continue to impact on communities, particularly those in rural border areas, as well as ongoing challenges that exist in urban settings.

New ‘functional’ area

The core programme area includes Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland, namely the counties of Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo. However, cross border collaboration is not strictly limited to the administrative borders of the Programme but has a flexible geography depending on the topic concerned.

This is called a ‘functional area‘ and allows for organisations and institutions not based in the core Programme area to get involved in projects by linking with partners within the core Programme area.  In other words, for this next programming period (2021-2027) organisations outside the counties in the core programme area can get involved in projects, depending on the theme.

Overview document

As stated above, an information document on the PEACE Plus Programme 2021-2027 presents an overview of the themes and investment areas. The document has been approved by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government and North South Ministerial Council. It is subject to approval by the European Commission and is therefore subject to change.

The Overview is intended to provide information to potential applicants to enable project development to continue. Further detailed guidance will be made available following Commission approval.

Register your interest

Special EU Programmes Body

The SEUPB is asking stakeholders to register their interest in specific themes and investment areas by emailing peaceplus@seupb.eu.

Check out the programme website at:

www.seupb.eu/PEACEPLUS

 

Get ready for North-West Europe Call 1!

Interreg North-West Europe will soon open its first call for proposals for the 2021-2027 programming period. This call will open on 22nd March and close for applications on 15 June 2022 (at 11am Irish time).

In the meantime, some preliminary documents are made available for stakeholders to get a grasp on Programme expectations and start working on your application.

About Interreg North-West Europe

Interreg NWE programme area

The Interreg North-West Europe (NWE) is one of the project funding programmes of the European Union for European Territorial Cooperation. It supports cooperation across borders to jointly solve common issues and falls under the “transnational” strands (Interreg B). Interreg NWE fosters transnational cooperation to make the region a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion. The area covered by the programme is considered as one of the most dynamic and prosperous areas of Europe, and it also faces a number of environmental, social and economic needs and challenges.

Read our previous post about the Interreg North-West Europe 2021-2027 programming period to learn about the priority areas.

Start Preparing Your Step 1 Applications

We invite you to have a look at the Interreg North-West Europe website for the most up to date information.  

There you will find all the Call 1 support documents, application form and more details about the eligibility criteria.

Ways to stay up to date on the call:
  • 2 Webinars:
    • Save the date for a webinar on Thursday 31 March 1-3pm Irish time! The Joint Secretariat will provide an opportunity to get more information on NWE Call 1 and get answers to your questions about the 2021-2027 programme. Find out more about the event here. 
    • Save the date for webinar on Thursday 7 April 9am-12pm Irish time! This second event is organised by the Irish national contact point and will focus on Irish future applicants. Contact the Interreg NWE National Contact Point for more information at sdavoren@southernassembly.ie.
  • Online Community: join the NWE Community! Register to the brand-new online community to network, find potential partners and get in touch with them, add your project ideas or browse those in the pipelines. (community website: community.nweurope.eu/)
  • Email updates: Receive the latest information on Call 1 and other NWE Programme news by signing up for updates here.
  • Join the Irish partners mailing list.
Irish Contacts

For more information contact Ireland’s National Contact Point for Interreg NWE, Sarah Davoren, based in the Southern Regional Assembly (sdavoren@southernassembly.ie). The National Contact Point can provide Irish partners with guidance during the project development phase. 

Upcoming first call: Northern Periphery and Artic Programme

The Northern Periphery and Artic Programme 2021-2027 plans to open the first call for main projects on 17th March, with closing date on 20th June 2022.  Projects in the call are expected to develop concrete and durable project outputs that lead to a positive impact on the target groups in the Programme area.

The focus of the first call will be on two priorities:

  • PRIORITY 1: Strengthening the innovation capacity for resilient and attractive NPA communities; and
  • PRIORITY 2: Strengthening the capacity for climate change adaptation, and resource sufficiency in NPA communities.
About the Northern Periphery and Artic Programme

For 20 years, the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA) has provided a framework for regions to work together with a focus on promoting sustainable development in remote and sparsely populated communities. The aim of this European Territorial Cooperation programme is to expand the programme area’s horizons, building on concrete outcomes and enabling the region to be a first class place to live, study, work, visit and invest. The programme’s vision is to help to generate vibrant, competitive and sustainable communities, by harnessing innovation, expanding the capacity for entrepreneurship and seizing the unique growth initiatives and opportunities of the Northern and Arctic regions in a resource efficient way.

Geographical Coverage 2021-2027

Like all European Territorial Cooperation programmes, projects must be developed in partnership with organisations from at least 3 programme partner countries (regions of Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway).

Of note for Ireland, in a change to the programme geography for this next programming period (2021-2027), the entire Northern and Western region of Ireland is now eligible to participate.  Other regions in Ireland eligible to participate remain as was in previous programme, Southern (only NUTS 3 regions IE051 Mid-West and IE053 South-West).   Further requirements can be found in the draft Terms of Reference for the call.

Upcoming events for the call

There will be workshops via two online events to support projects development. These will be held on 17th March and 11th May.

A networking event, “NPA in-person”, is planned to take place on 19th May at the premises of the Joint Secretariat in Copenhagen.

Further Information

If you are interested in applying, please contact the Irish Regional Contact Point, Patrick Devine based at the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (pdevine@nwra.ie) or alternatively, contact Christopher Parker at the Programme Secretariat (christopher.parker@interreg-npa.eu).

Visit the programme website.

Public consultation on Irish Just Transition Plan

The Department of Environment, Climate and Communication in association with the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA) launched on 20th December 2021 a public consultation on a draft of Ireland’s Territorial Just Transition Plan. The consultation is open until 14 February 2022.

The EU Just Transition Fund (JTF) is a new funding programme from the European Union for the period 2021-2027 that will address the social, economic, employment and environmental impacts of the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. The EU JTF will support the delivery of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2021 and its objectives in relation to a ‘just transition’ in the wider Midlands region in response to the end of peat extraction for power generation. The fund may be used to:

  • support enterprises to enhance economic diversification of the wider Midlands
  • train, up-skill and reskill workers affected by the exit from peat
  • invest in research and innovation and the deployment of technology
  • develop systems and infrastructure for clean energy.

This consultation is a key step in the preparation of the EU JTF in Ireland. The conclusions of the survey and the related workshops will inform the drafting of Ireland’s Territorial Just Transition Plan, a document that will be the basis for the implementation of the EU JTF in Ireland, setting out how the fund will be used to invest in the region.

Provide Feedback

A draft Territorial Just Transition Plan has been developed and is available on the consultation page for review. Input on the draft Plan can be provided through an online survey. Additional documentation can also be submitted if needed.

The consultation is open to individuals, communities, businesses and representative bodies in the wider Midlands region of East Galway, North Tipperary, Longford, Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, West Kildare and Roscommon.

The online survey can be found through this page.

Note that the survey is open until midnight 14 February 2022.

Workshops

In addition to the survey responses, there will be two online workshops held on 18 January (10am-12pm) and 25 January (6.30pm-8.30pm) for the general public.

An online workshop specifically dedicated to young people 16 – 24 years old is also planned.

Register to attend the workshops on the public consultation page.

 

Further information on this public consultation can be found on this page:

www.gov.ie/en/consultation/352c3-public-consultation-on-the-eu-just-transition-fund/.

Interreg Europe 2021-2027 Programme Development

The 2021 edition of ‘Europe, let’s cooperate!’, an interregional cooperation forum organised by Interreg Europe, was held virtually on 24-25 November. The special focus of this year’s event was the launch of the 2021-2027 Interreg Europe programme.

The two-day event showcased project results, provided an opportunity for networking with potential partners, and walked participants through the key features and novelties of the new programme.

The programme still needs to be approved by the European Commission and validated by the future Monitoring Committee. But regions are encouraged to prepare now for the future programme!

Below are some of the key features as it currently stands (subject to final validations mentioned above) as communicated during the ‘Europe, let’s cooperate!’ event.

Key Features

What is Interreg Europe?

Interreg Europe is one of the project funding programmes of the European Union for European Territorial Cooperation. It supports cooperation across borders to jointly solve common issues and falls under the “interregional” strands (Interreg C).

The programme helps regional and local governments across Europe to develop and deliver better policy. Through interregional cooperation and shared solutions, the programme aims to make sure that government investment, innovation and implementation efforts all lead to integrated and sustainable impact for people and places.

Objective:

The objective of the programme has not changed from the previous programming period. It remains to improve regional development policies, including investment for growth and job programmes.

The objective of each project is to improve policy instruments of participating regions.

Eligibility:

All EU regions are eligible for the programme. Norway and Switzerland are eligible as associated countries. The minimum area to be covered by partner regions is yet to be determined. There will be some requirement (yet to be defined) to ensure broad coverage of partner regions across Europe.

Eligible beneficiaries who can receive funding from Interreg Europe are public authorities, bodies governed by public law (e.g. environmental agencies, business support agencies, etc.), and private non-profit bodies (e.g. chambers of commerce, cluster organisations, etc.). However, private non-profit bodies cannot take on the role of lead partner in Interreg Europe projects.

Scope:

The cross-cutting priority of the programme is on “capacity building” as applied to the 6 topics of: Smart, Green, Social, Connected, Citizens, Governance. 80% of the programming budget will be concentrated on the 3 key topics of Smart, Green and Social. This concentration goes along with Cohesion Policy and relates to the programme-level – meaning that the total budget of the Interreg Europe programme 2021-2027 will be concentrated on these three topics, but individual projects can address any of these 6 topics.

Project activities:

One novel feature of the next programming period is that pilot actions will be possible from the start of the project, as well as at the mid-term point. This new approach opens the possibility of ‘learn-by-doing’. Previously, it was only possible to undertake pilot actions around phase 2, following initial interregional learning and transfers.

Project Implementation:

Projects will have 2 phases over a 4-year implementation. The ‘core phase’ (over 3 years) will be dedicated to the exchange of experience to achieve policy improvements, followed by a ‘follow-up’ phase (1 year) to monitor policy improvements.

There will be additional flexibility between phases and it will be up to each project to design the follow-up phase. There can still be learnings between partners in the second phase.

While the process is currently being reviewed, Action Plans will be focused on the regions which did not achieve results (a policy improvement) by the end of the core phase. Action Plans then become documents of actions where organisations will try to implement learnings from projects in the last year of the project.

Budget:

The total programme budget will be increased to 334 MEUR (ERDF). It is expected that the average project budget will be around 1-2 MEUR (ERDF).

The co-financing rates for public or public equivalent bodies will be 80% ERDF.

Policy Learning Platform:

This service will remain for the next Interreg Europe programming period (2021-2027). This service is dedicated to take stock of all knowledge gathered around the Interreg Europe funded projects and make them available to any interested region in Europe. The platform includes services such as a knowledge hub, a community of peers, expert policy support, and a peer-review service.

 

Learn more

Read more about the Interreg Europe 2021-2027 Programme here.

Prepare now for Interreg NWE projects

The North West Europe (NWE) Task Force has agreed on the draft Interreg NWE 2021-2027 programme. It is expected that the first call will be launched around March 2022. So get your project ideas ready now!! 

Are you looking to pilot or scale up local development concepts, or seeking to roll out portions of a regional or national development plan or strategy? If so, you may want to look into the draft Interreg NWE Programme 2021-2027.

The current draft (27 October 2021 version) includes five priorities and nine specific objectives for the future NWE Programme to focus on. The type of projects that will be eligible for funding could be the design and implementation of joint strategies or action plans, pilot actions for testing tools or solutions, or capacity-building and awareness raising.

The priority areas in the current draft and some of the potential applications in the Irish context are:

  • Climate – improving water management approaches, reducing air pollution, improving preparedness to adverse weather phenomena, embedding blue and green corridors, biodiversity and natural capital concepts
  • Energy – promoting production and use of renewable energy, promoting innovative technologies, solutions, products and services, supporting factors that will increase competitiveness and combat climate change
  • Circular Economy – increasing the capacity of waste collection and recycling, processes and product innovation, new business models that encourage the sharing and use of or access to a commodity over the ownership of goods
  • Innovation – supporting innovative actors, encouraging solutions for local/regional authorities in digital transformations, facilitating smart transformation, contributing to balanced economic development and territorial resilience, Smart villages and cities
  • Inclusion – projects on place-based health and care access, challenges associated with population growth/depopulation, quality employment, sustainable tourism and culture, making natural and cultural heritage better preserved and accessible, business support programmes.

What is Interreg NWE Programme

Interreg NWE programme areaThe Interreg North West Europe is one of the project funding programmes of the European Union for European Territorial Cooperation. It supports cooperation across borders to jointly solve common issues and falls under the “transnational” strands (Interreg B). Interreg NWE fosters transnational cooperation to make the region a key economic player and an attractive place to work and live, with high levels of innovation, sustainability and cohesion. The area covered by the programme is considered as one of the most dynamic and prosperous areas of Europe, and it also faces a number of environmental, social and economic needs and challenges.

Eligibility to apply

The Interreg North West Europe programme 2021-2027 will be open for funding to local, regional, or national authorities, EGTCs, government agencies, and public equivalent organisations with relevant responsibilities.

As this is a cross-border cooperation programme, projects must include a consortium consisting of partners from at least three different countries in the North West Europe programme area (Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and parts of France and Germany).

Co-funding by partners will be required. At this time, it is expected that the co-funding rate will be the same as the 2014-2020 programme (40% co-funding by partner).

Next steps in finalising programme

The Interreg NWE Task Force hopes to submit the final Interreg Programme to the European Commission for approval in January 2022, following formal agreement with the Member States involved in the NWE Programme. The European Commission will then assess the programme and is expected to formally approve the Interreg NWE Programme (2021-2027) by Summer 2022.

First Call

As mentioned above, the first call for proposals is expected to be launched in Spring 2022. But it is advised to begin building your consortium as soon as possible to ensure the proposal is well written!

An online community forum to help find international partners is planned to be launched in 2022.

More Information

Please consult the Interreg NWE programme website and the latest draft of the programme for more information.

You can also contact Ireland’s National Contact Point for Interreg NWE: Sarah Davoren sdavoren@southernassembly.ie.

Sign up to Interreg NWE mailing list here for the latest information from the National Contact Point.

“Science meets Regions” Call for expression of interest

The European Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has launched a call for expression of interest for the “Science meets Regions” preparatory action. The call focuses on territorial development at the subnational level, with regions and cities as the main target audience. Applicants can apply in this call for financial, methodological and/or scientific support from the JRC for projects that will advance evidence-based policymaking at the subnational level.

The call for expressions of interest will concern the following main work packages:

  • Innovation camps and participatory events for single regions and cities, focusing on specific policy topics
  • Networking initiatives for consortia of regions and/or cities on issues of common concern.

The topics covered by the call can be related to any of the six broad priorities of the current European Commission. But the topics of the Green and Digital Transition and Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will have priority in this call.

Science meets Regions

“Science meets regions” is the Joint Research Centre’s project to enhance evidence-based policymaking at the subnational level of governance across Europe. It uses a bottom-up approach, giving cities, regions and territories ownership of the topic and the process, while the JRC provides the financial and methodological support.

Eligibility

The focus of the call is on the subnational level.

For applications involving single regions and cities, only public sector bodies at NUTS2 level or below (including cities and municipalities) are eligible to apply. The main partner must be a public authority, but partnerships with academic and research institutions are encouraged.

For the multiregional strand involving networks of regions and cities, one partner from a public sector body at NUTS2 level will act as a lead partner and will involve at least 3 partners from at least 2 EU Member states.

More details on eligibility requirements can be found in the guide for applicants.

Deadline, Application and Questions:

Expressions of interest can be submitted by 17 September 2021.

To read more and to find the guidelines for applicants and the application forms, go to this page: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/science-meets-regions/call-expression-interest.

Any questions can be sent to: JRC-INFO-SMR@EC.EUROPA.EU

National Recovery and Resilience Plan Submitted

The Irish Government announced its completion of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) on 28 May 2021. Although the full plan is not yet publicly available and is still subject to approval by the European Commission, a summary of the first draft of the NRRP was published on 1st June 2021.  The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be publishing additional information on the NRRP in due course.

The NRRP in Ireland was drafted alongside the Economic Recovery Plan and includes projects with a value of up to €1 billion. The NRRP will enable Ireland to access the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which is a central component of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the period 2021-2022, Ireland is expected to receive approximately €915 million in grants, with further grants being allocated in 2023.

Public consultation

Ireland was one of a small number of Member States that held a public consultation on the content of their NRRP. There was a short consultation period from 2nd to 22nd February 2021 where local and regional authorities in Ireland were invited and did participate in this consultation.

Read more about the public consultation call in our post from February.

Content of the NRRP for Ireland

The plan is split into a set of 16 investments and 9 reform commitments that are structured around three priority areas.

  • Priority 1: Advancing the Green Transition. Seven investments will be undertaken within this priority area with a total value of €503 million.
  • Priority 2: Accelerating and expanding digital reforms and transformation. This priority area will see six investments undertaken to at total value of €295 million.
  • Priority 3: Social and economic recovery and job creation. A total value of €181 million will be invested into this priority area through three investment programmes.

Projects in the national plan cover the entire lifetime of the EU RRF until 2026. The plan proposes projects in all seven European flagship areas.

Next steps

Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan is currently under review at the EU level. The European Commission has 2 months to assess Ireland’s NRRP and make a recommendation to the Council of the European Union. The Council will then have four weeks to adopt the Commission proposal for a Council Implementing Decision.

 

The summary of the first draft of the NRRP can be found here: www.gov.ie/en/publication/d4939-national-recovery-and-resilience-plan-2021/.

URBACT Transfer Networks – Call for Pilot Projects

Use the URBACT Method to understand, adapt and re-use the Good Practices that were tested in the first round of Transfer Networks!

As the journey of the 23 Transfer Networks comes to an end, URBACT is launching a second wave of projects: a small number of Lead Partner cities will embark on a new transfer journey with a new set of partners.

This second wave of the Transfer Networks will allow more cities in Europe to adapt and reuse the Good Practice. The rich experience of the Good Practice city alongside the expert, who had led the original Transfer Network, will be an added value in this adventure. It is an exciting journey of discovery and sharing which will empower city stakeholders, change the way your city works and have a real impact at local level. All of this is achieved using a tried and tested URBACT method of exchange and learning with tools adapted to your needs and support from experts and peers.

What’s next?
Ireland’s National Urbact Point (NUP) will contact all the Transfer Network Lead Partners to explore opportunities for Irish cities to join this Second Wave.

Questions for the Irish NUP can be sent to mbrennan@emra.ie
General questions related to this call should be addressed to: tn@urbact.eu

Useful documents:
Terms of Reference – Transfer Networks – Second Wave – Application procedure
URBACT III Programme Manual
URBACT III Operational Programme

The deadline for the online submission is 29 April 2021 at 15.00 CET.