The IREO is active in networking at European level through some of the various associations of interest that exist in Brussels – entirely subject to requests for involvement from their Irish local and regional sector members.

The following regional networks are more focussed in their outlook than the territorial associations. Several among them are spin-offs from specific EU projects. Not all are Brussels-based.

Supporting regions in developing their collaborative and open regional innovation ecosystems to enhance research and innovation capacity through 13 Working Groups which largely work through the Brussels regional representations in the first instance before passing issues onto experts back home to progress:

  • BioEconomy
  • Blue Growth
  • Design & Creativity
  • Energy & Climate Change
  • Health
  • ICT
  • Innovation & Investment
  • Opening Science
  • Smart Cities, Regions & Communities
  • Smart Specialisation
  • Tourism
  • Transport

Irish involvement: Cork County Council.

For further information visit:

Cities and regions networking to develop innovative technologies and policies to improve local transport through integrated strategies that address its economic, social and environmental dimensions. Working Groups:

Irish involvement: Cork City Council; Limerick City & County Council; National Transport Authority.

For further information visit:

The CIVITAS Forum Network is a platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas and best practice between cities committed to introducing ambitious sustainable urban transport and mobility policies and strategies. It has 10 thematic groups:

Irish involvement: Cork City Council, Limerick City & County Council, Dublin City Council, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

For further information visit:

Local authorities promoting energy transition and sustainable energy policies.

Irish Involvement: Cork County Council; Dublin City Council.

For further information visit:

European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment.

Irish involvement: Tipperary Energy Agency; Carlow-Kilkenny Energy Agency (3CEA).

For further information visit:

The European branch of a global movement of local governments driving positive change through information, training and networking programmes and campaigns. Its key areas of focus are biodiversity; climate change adaptation and mitigation; sustainability management; urban governance; sustainable economy and procurement; energy; water; and mobility.

Irish involvement: Dublin City Council

For further information:

The network of quality-certified EU BICs (regionally- and locally-based business and innovation centres, incubators, accelerators and other support organisations) supports the development and growth of innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs which have high growth potential and which can contribute to economic development in their areas.

Irish involvement: WESTBIC, Dublin BIC, SEBIC, Cork BIC.

For further information visit:

A European Commission Digital Single Market initiative to aggregate and leverage regional support for startups with emphases on tackling growth barriers such as leveraging investment financing, access skills and major research infrastructures or harmonisation of policies and regulations.

Irish involvement: Cork Innovates, Western Development Commission.

For further information visit:

The European Network of Living Labs provides a platform for its benchmarked, real-life, open innovation ecosystem members to engage in co-creation, user engagement, and testing and experimentation targeting innovation in domains such as energy, media, mobility, healthcare and agrifood.

Irish involvement: CASALA Living Lab (Centre for Affective Solutions for Ambient Living Awareness at Dundalk Institute of Technology); Adaptive Governance Lab (University of Limerick).

For further information visit:

Seeks to maximise the advantages resulting from peri-urban areas’ location in proximity to large cities while minimising the challenges of adverse impacts and pressures on their character, landscape and environment.

For further informaton visit:

European Association of Regional Development Agencies.

Irish involvement: Western Development Commission

For further information visit:

The Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism.

Irish involvement: Donegal County Council

For further information visit:

A spin-off of the AFE-INNOVNET Thematic Network on innovation for age-friendly environments and tied into the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, this campaign seeks to bring together local and regional authorities and stakeholders who want to find smart evidence-based solutions and facilitate the creation of an EU repository of good practice in this field.

Irish involvement: Louth County Council; Netwell Centre – Dundalk Institute of Technology.

For information visit:

Focus on local strategies to tackle homelessness.

Irish involvement: Dublin City Council; Cork City Council; Limerick City & County Council.

For further information visit:

Focus on social economy and social innovation to deliver an inclusive, participative and responsible society.

Irish involvement: Carbery Housing Association, Skibbereen.

For further information visit:

Regions and Local Authorities cooperating on the design and implementation of strategies on Lifelong Learning.

For further information:

Cross-border cooperation focus.

Irish involvement: Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN) Ltd; East Border Region Committee Ltd., SEUPB – Special EU Programmes Body.

For further information

* Project formerly called Quartiers-en-Crise: European Regeneration Areas Network

Transitions-focussed (demographic, climatic, energy security, long-term unemployment, growing inequality; post-financial crash effects) network working to enhance a social Europe through bottom-up actions.

For information visit:

A forum for innovation projects, exchange of knowledge and dissemination of Sustainable Urban Housing planning and building initiatives.

For further information visit:

The international association for sustainable development of walled towns, walled cities and fortified historic towns in Europe.

Irish involvement: Heritage Council (Kilkenny, Kilmallock, Athenry, Youghal).

For further information visit:

ERNACT (European Regions Network for the Application of Communications Technology) is a long-standing network (1991) focused on adding value to the digital transformation plans of member regional and city public authorities.

ERNACT approach is to develop practical cooperation projects by accessing European Union digital technology programmes and funding. The ERNACT network currently manages 18 live projects encompassing digital innovation hubs, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, IoT, public services, energy efficiency, open innovation, SMEs, tourism and aquaculture.

The network’s office is located in County Donegal, Ireland.

Irish involvement: Donegal County Council.

For further information visit:

ENCORE (Environmental Conference of the Regions of Europe) is a European network of regions that provides politicians with a forum for discussing environmental issues of regional significance. It enables regions to establish a common position and exert their collective influence on the formulation of environmental policy within the European Union. Further, it allows cooperation, exchange of experience and common activities among regions in environmental issues.

Irish Members: Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (2020 conference host and Co-Chair of the Steering Group)

More information: 

The EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy brings together thousands of local governments voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives. It was launched in 2008 in Europe with the ambition to gather local governments voluntarily committed to achieving and exceeding the EU climate and energy targets.

The initiative introduces a first-of-its-kind bottom-up approach to energy and climate action. It gathers 9,000+ local and regional authorities across 57 countries drawing on the strengths of a worldwide multi-stakeholder movement and the technical and methodological support offered by dedicated offices.

Irish Membership: 21 Local Authorities and Towns as signatories of the Covenant, 4 Local Energy Agencies as supporters of the Covenant

More information: