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Regions work together to support eco-innovation

28/07/2011

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The ECREIN+ project will provide regional support for eco-innovation in partnership with the Assembly of European Regions. ECREIN+ is funded under the INTERREG IVC programme.

The European clusters and regions for eco-innovation network plus (ECREIN+) project, succeeds the ECREINetwork initiative and incorporates 12 European regions in partnership with the Assembly of European Regions (AER).

ECREINetwork was founded in 2006 and included six regions – Ile-de-France and Rhône-Alps (France), Lombardy (Italy), Baden-Württemberg (Germany), Andalucia (Spain) and Malopolska (Poland) – led by Rhône-Alps. The project was supported by the European Commission as part of the implementation of the Environmental Technologies Action (ETAP).

As part of the next stage of the project, six new regions have joined ECREIN+– Stara Zagora (Bulgaria); the West Midlands (UK); Namur (Belgium); Galicia (Spain); Bucharest (Romania); and Uppsala (Sweden) – bringing the number of regions involved to 12.

The success of ECREINetwork – which helped participants share expertise on how to support eco-innovation in their region – made the project an attractive proposition for new members.

“This project will highlight best practice in eco-innovation across Europe, helping the region to become competitive and capitalise on these opportunities,” says Aled Thomas, European Programme Policy Manager for the West Midlands region. “It will also stimulate innovation, creativity and knowledge generation.”

Involving more than 270 regions, the AER will provide a wide network for dissemination, as well as interregional co-operation expertise. While ECREIN+ will be based on the same formula as ECREINetwork – regional platforms for eco-innovation, inventories of available funding instruments and the sharing of expertise – cooperating with AER will dramatically increase the scale of the project.

“ECREIN+ is of critical importance if we want to turn our regions into green excellence territories,” says Hélène Blanchard, Vice-President of the Rhône-Alps Regional Council. “It is an ambitious and comprehensive project that will lead us all, should we truly work together, to foster a prosperous green economy in our regions.”

ECREIN+ sets-out to raise awareness and share techniques, financial instruments and best practices throughout Europe. The project will help create regional platforms for eco-innovation and eco-investment in each of the partner regions to provide support for eco-innovation SMEs and clusters. Furthermore, each regional platform will carry out inventories of the financial instruments available, and make recommendations for improving such tools.

Through ECREIN the Rhône-Alps region developed a ‘one-stop-shop’ to provide expertise and funding information for eco-innovation enterprises. Meanwhile, businesses, researchers and experts in Stara Zagora have helped shape policies to encourage eco-innovation and green growth.

More information

Related information on the EcoAP Website