This interregional cooperation programme seeks to reinforce the effectiveness of EU cohesion policy’s aims of harmonious development to stimulate growth and reduce disparities in terms of regions’ economic and social development and environmental sustainability while taking into account their specific territorial circumstances and opportunities. Its focus is on the promotion of exchange of knowledge and experience; transfer of good practices and policy learning between regional and local authorities and other actors of regional relevance throughout Europe, to improve the implementation of policies and instruments for regional development – including ERDF and ESF programmes operating at regional level and other European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes.

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EU Budget

€359 million ERDF (up to 85% support per project for public bodies; 100% for policy learning platforms). €15.3 million of this total is set aside for the operation of four thematic Policy Learning Platforms to open up the programme’s knowledge for wider benefit while adding value back into the implementation of the ongoing projects.

Eligible areas

All of the EU plus Switzerland and Norway.


Research, technological development and innovation (€84.4 million)

Objective 1.1: Improving innovation infrastructure policies

Objective 1.2: Improving innovation delivery policies

Competitiveness of SMEs (€84.4 million)

Objective 2.1: Improving SMEs competitiveness policies

Low carbon economy (€84.4 million)

Objective 3.1: Improving low-carbon economy policies

Environment and resource efficiency (€84.4 million)

Objective 4.1: Improving natural and cultural heritage policies

Objective 4.2: Improving resource efficient economy policies

184 projects have been approved after 3 calls with 29 having an Irish involvement. The 4th and final call (€87 million ERDF remaining) closes on 22 June.

Project examples

  • Innova Foster aims to leverage highpotential start-up growth by fostering their engagement in  the  innovation  processes  at local  or regional  level  – thus improving  their role as  regional  and  industry  innovation service  providers. Its main objective is to influence regional and industrial development policies and tools accordingly. Cork City Council, who were awarded €124,000 in ERDF support for this project which will run until the end of 2020, are seeking to address the Micro-enterprise Competitiveness Priority of the current ERDF investment programme for the Southern & Eastern Region by highlighting the need to prioritise non-financial barriers to business growth, including through enhanced startup-industry linkages for service innovation and manufacturers. The 7 Partners’ action plansare being implemented as demonstrators, de-risking the development and scale-up of novel service systems, encouraging engagement with stakeholders and users, and identifying clusters of expertise and further opportunities for partnership.

  • A grant of €202,000 over a 4-year period is enabling Donegal County Council to participate in the HERICOAST project on the management of heritage in coastal landscapes. This aims to pioneer appropriate and effective stewardship of vulnerable cultural heritage in maritime and fluvial regions; to provide for better balance between economic use (e.g. fisheries, transport) and preservation measures; and to revitalise coastal communities. The project resonates with to the Donegal County Development Plan’s support for sustainable marine resource development and Coastal Zone Management as well as with its objectives to conserve, protect and enhance built, natural and cultural heritage. However, it also seeks to address a clear policy void relating to the need for an integrated, evidence-based and heritage-led management approach to the county’s unique and significant cultural, built and environmental coastal resources.

  • In 2011, Kerry was among the winners of the inaugural European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) award for the outstanding entrepreneurial vision & strategy that was in evidence in the county. Several years later, the iEER project began as a means to bring together a number of EER regions to collaborate on the peer-review and development of better local/regional services and policies in support of start-ups and to boost their innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems for young entrepreneurs in particular. The project places a strong focus on breaking down silo mentalities and bringing together all actors with a role in entrepreneurial success. Among the outputs is a practical ‘Boost Growth Handbook’ of best practices and most useful policies to benefit other European regions.  Institute of Technology Tralee represent Kerry in the partnership and are receiving €177,000 ERDF support.


David Kelly, Southern Regional Assembly,

David Minton, Northern & Western Regional Assembly,