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

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.


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:

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:

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
General questions related to this call should be addressed to:

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.

Public Consultation – Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan

A public consultation is now open to get input into Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan as part of the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. The EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility aims to help address the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring member states undertake green and digital transitions to boost sustainability and resilience. The Facility is part of the Next Generation EU/Recovery Plan Package agreed by the European Council in July 2020.

Ireland is expected to receive €853 million in grants under the EU Facility in 2021 and 2022, and another set of grants in 2023, depending on the economic developments to between now and then. In order to receive support from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, each member state needs to prepare a national plan for approval by the EU. The Irish government is therefore seeking stakeholder inputs to develop the Plan.

This national Plan must specify the reforms and public investments to be supported by the Facility and has to be submitted to the EU by 30 April 2021. The proposed actions in the Plan must align with EU flagship areas such as climate action and digital transitions, as well as address the challenges laid out in the country-specific recommendations received in 2019 and 2020.

Consultation questions

Parties interested in providing input into the National Recovery and Resilience Plan are invited to make written submissions. The contributions should address key questions related to:

  • what investment and reform areas Ireland should prioritise for inclusion in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan
  • which country-specific recommendations received in 2019 and 2020 Ireland should consider in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
Deadlines for submissions

Written consultation submissions are being accepted starting on 2nd February and will close at 17.00 on 22nd February 2021.

Submissions are to be emailed to and should indicate if you are a representative body, business, adviser, or member of the public.

Further information

Full details, including the list of country-specific recommendations, can be found by downloading the document:

Public Consultation on Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

More information is also available on this page.

More details available for Life2020 call to NGOs on European Green Deal

A virtual information session was held on the 12th January 2021 giving details on the LIFE2020 call for proposals for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the European Green Deal (LIFE 2020 NGO4GD). This special call for proposals intended for NGOs was launched in December 2020 and aims to reinforce the capacity of NGOs in the European Union to mobilise and strengthen civil society participation and contribution to the implementation of the European Green Deal. The call recognises the economic crisis provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the blow this has had on the capacity of NGOs to taking actions and to contribute to a sustainable future.

More background details about this call’s aims can be found in this IREO post as well as the call announcement page.

Webinar details

Materials from the NGO4GD webinar are now available at the event announcement page. It contains links to the slide presentations and the video recording of the virtual information session.

The recording of this webinar and other events can also be found at the LIFE Programme YouTube Channel.

Any specific questions on this call can be emailed to

More information about the LIFE programme and its support to NGOs working to protect the environment can also be found here:


The call is open to non-governmental organisations legally registered (prior to 01 January 2018) in an EU Member State and primarily active at national or regional level in the areas of environment and/or climate action. Partnerships will not be allowed and only one proposal per applicant will be taken in consideration. Please refer to the full details of the eligibility criteria listed in the call documents.

Application deadline

The deadline for application submissions is Wednesday 31 March 2021 at 17.00 CET (Brussels). Applications should be sent electronically by email only to the following address:


Image Copyright: EC – Audiovisual Service

Information session and Call for Proposals – CEF Transport MAP

The European Commission launched a call for proposals for the 2020 CEF Transport MAP on 15 December 2020. With a total budget of €200 million, the call will co-finance projects which address missing-links and cross-border connections along the trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Its focus is to address actions that remove transportation bottlenecks, enhances rail connections, bridge transport missing links and improving cross-border segments.

The general objective of the call is to support studies or projects that prepare the implementation of the TEN-T core network, addressing any necessary preparatory measures for the upcoming infrastructure works.

Virtual Information Day

A virtual information session is taking place on the 14th January 2021 at 10:00am CET / 9:00am GMT.

To register your attendance to stream the event, please follow instructions on this page:!Hg33th .


This call is limited to the pre-identified sections of the core TEN-T corridors, as defined in the annex to the CEF Regulation. The eligible modes of transportation included are railway, inland waterways, roads, maritime and inland ports.


All EU Member States are eligible, so long they satisfy the TEN-T Core condition. Project proposals should be submitted either by one or more Member State(s) or, with Member State approval, by a public or private entity.

Deadline for submissions: 22 March 2021 at 17:00 CET


More information about this call can be found on this page.

A call flyer also provides additional information.


Photo credit: EC – Audiovisual Service

European Commission Proposes Brexit Adjustment Reserve

On 26th December 2020, the European Commission put forward its proposal for a Brexit Adjustment Reserve. As the UK leaves the European Union there are, and will be, implications on businesses, economic sectors, workers, regions and local communities. The Reserve is set up to help mitigate the adverse consequences in Member States and sectors that are worst affected by Brexit. This special instrument will have a maximum resource of €5 billion in 2018 prices and will be separate from the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.


This proposed special fund is designed to exclusively deal with the adverse effects of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union in Member States, regions and sectors, in particular those that are worst affected by Brexit. It should be used on actions that mitigate the impact of Brexit on the economic, social and territorial cohesion.

Who is eligible?

All EU Member States are eligible for funding. The Reserve is designed to be rapid and flexible, and to concentrate on the regions and sectors worst affected by Brexit.

Funding allocation and Scope:

The maximum budget for the Reserve is €5 billion (in 2018 constant prices). The Commission proposes that the funds be allocated in 2 rounds: a larger portion (around €4,244 bn) will be allocated in 2021 as pre-financing; the remaining funds (around €1,126 bn) will be for additional contributions in 2024.

Pre-financing allocation is proposed to take into account two conditions:

  • Trade intensity – the importance of the Member State’s trade with the UK
  • Reliance on UK water for fisheries – the importance to the Member State of fisheries in the UK exclusive economic zone.

The period of eligibility for direct public expenditure runs for 30 months, from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2022. The Reserve will support expenditures that assist:

  • Businesses and local communities adversely affected by the withdrawal
  • Vulnerable economic sectors
  • Fishing communities
  • Employment and re-skilling
  • Functioning of the border, customs, sanitary, phytosanitary and security controls
  • Certification and authorisation regimes
  • Communications and awareness-raising for citizens and businesses.

Member States have to set up management and control systems and appoint bodies responsible for the management of the Reserve. The European Commission suggests that for simplification reasons, Member States could use bodies managing cohesion policy funding or the European Union Solidarity Fund. Member States will have to submit an implementation report by 30 September 2023 detailing the supported actions and expenditures paid during the eligibility timeframe, as well as present output indicators.

Next steps:

The proposal is subject to negotiations and will have to be adopted by the Parliament and the Council.

Further reading:

Click here to read the Brexit Adjustment Reserve proposal text and annexes.

Click here for a Q&A on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve proposal.

Featured image source: EC – Audiovisual Service

Call for Research Proposals under DAFM Competitive Research Funding Programme

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has launched a call to fund research projects under the updated Competitive Research Funding Programme. All eligible Research Performing Organisations are invited to submit proposals.

This first call under the new research funding approach is seeking projects across thematic areas including climate and biodiversity; sustainable animal and plant health and production; agri-digitalisation and the bioeconomy; and safe, healthy food production and processing.

The call supports key strategic drivers both nationally (such as the Agri-Food Strategy 2030) and internationally. The projects will contribute to achieving EU strategies, such as Farm to Fork, Biodiversity and Circular Economy strategies as well as the EU Green Deal.

Research results will be made available for the benefit of the agri-food and forestry sectors, the consumer and policymakers.

The Competitive Research Funding Programme

The new, updated Competitive Research Funding Programme brings together food, agriculture and forestry programmes into a single ‘public good’ programme.

It aims to drive knowledge and resilience in a just transition to a sustainable agri-food, forest and bio-based system as well as providing ecosystem services, delivering nutritious food and contributing to a sustainable circular bioeconomy. Additionally, this call will facilitate stakeholder engagement and build research capacity in such a way to position Irish researchers to successfully compete for funding opportunities under the Horizon Europe programme.



The deadline for proposal applications is 28 February 2021 at 13.00 and should be submitted online through the Research Online Portal.



Further details on this call can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine page.

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Pre-information on a LIFE2020 call for Proposals from NGOs on the European Green Deal

Image copyright: EC – Audiovisual Service

The European Green Deal is the EU growth strategy that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, sustainable and competitive economy that leaves no one behind where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. 

Amid the economic crisis provoked by the COVID-19 Pandemic, civil society as whole and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in particular are suffering a blow to their capacity to take actions and to contribute to the profound transformations needed to achieve a successful and just transition towards a sustainable future.

In the framework of the LIFE Programme, a special Call for Proposals for NGOs will be launched to reinforce the capacity of NGOs acting at Member States’ level to mobilise and strengthen civil society participation and contribution to the implementation of the European Green Deal.  With an indicative budget of 12 M€, action grants will be funded under this call for a maximum EU contribution of 300 000 € limited to 60% of total eligible projects costs. As far as possible, this call will seek to finance projects in all EU Member States.


The LIFE Programme expects proposals from non-profit making non-governmental organisations established in an EU member state and primarily active in the areas of environment and/or climate action.

Applicants will have to demonstrate a legal registration in the European Union prior to 01 January 2018 as well as the ability to operate at national level or, when established in larger countries, sub-national level across different regions. Partnerships will not be allowed and only one proposal per applicant will be taken in consideration. Beneficiaries of LIFE NGO Operating Grants will not be eligible to apply. Full details of the eligibility criteria will be listed in the call documents.

Expected submission deadlines

The expected deadlines for submission are Wednesday 31 March 2021 – 17:00 CET (Brussels). The call will open in mid-December.