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Economic development and cohesion
Economic development and cohesion - Banding together for prosperity
“Promoting a competitive economy that makes the most of Europe’s human, social, and environmental capital, while respecting its social fabric and environmental heritage.”

The problem

Policy-makers aiming to promote sustainable regional development (SRD) are faced with a complex situation characterised by uncertainty, multiple stakeholders and levels of governance, and divergent interests and constraints. To make informed choices between competing policy options and to encourage win-win solutions, they need decision tools that recognise this complexity and organise it in a structured way. These tools should clarify the conceptual framework of SRD decision-making, and examine the influence of multi-level governance and EU cohesion policy.

SRDTOOLS  Sustainable regional development: tools for decision-making


SDRTOOLS builds on a model where sustainable development stems from the flow of goods and services from non-declining stocks of economic, human, social, and environmental capital. Partners will:

  • study the model’s main linkages and feedback mechanisms
  • clarify the notion of social welfare in the model
  • examine the nature and measurement of trade-offs and critical thresholds in selected case studies
  • investigate spatial planning tools and test their application
  • test the ‘deliberation matrix’ approach in selected contexts to address aggregation and weighting of policy impacts

Contribution to policy development:

  • SRDTOOLS should contribute to better policies and planning, through knowledge of trade-offs, critical thresholds, and win-win situations, with improved understanding of how policies and projects affect society and the environment
  • Inclusion of the ‘four capitals’ model in the decision process should promote integration of the SRD agenda into cohesion policy
  • The knowledge and tools generated should facilitate regional cohesion of new EU entrants

Project deliverables

  • Reports on various aspects, including the ‘four capitals’ model, social welfare, trade-offs and critical thresholds, spatial planning tools, and deliberation matrix tests – start June 2005, end August 2006
  • Interim report – December 2005
  • Two series of workshops – November 2006
  • Final report – December 2006


  • Three SRD tool workshops for elected representatives and government officials –
    November 2006
  • Three SRD workshops for other stakeholders – November 2006
  • Academic papers and a report on raising public awareness – Ongoing

Technical information

Project acronym: SRDTOOLS
Project’s official full title: Methods and tools for evaluating the impact of cohesion policies on sustainable regional development (SRD)
Research priority: 3.1: Underpinning European integration, sustainable development, competitiveness and trade policies (including improved means to assess economic development and cohesion)
Specific webpage: Not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 502485
Start date: 01/01/2005
Kick off meeting: 19-20/04/2005
Completion date: 31/12/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Ian Perry (

Name: James Medhurst, GHK Consulting Ltd
Abbreviated name: GHK
Address: 30, St Paul’s Square,
Birmingham B3 1QZ
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 121 233 8900
Fax: +44121 233 0308


Name: Policy Studies Institute
Abbreviated name: PSI
Country: United Kingdom

Name: University of Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
Abbreviated name: UVSQ
Country: France

Name: Institute of European Environmental Policy
Abbreviated name: IEEP
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Technical University of Darmstadt
Abbreviated name: TUD
Country: Germany

Name: University of Alcala de Henares
Abbreviated name: UAH
Country: Spain

Name: Charles University of Prague
Abbreviated name: Charles University
Country: Czech Republic

Name: Regionalna razvojna agencija Mura d.o.o
Abbreviated name: RDA mura
Country: Slovenia

Name: Euroreg - University of Warsaw
Abbreviated name: EUROREG-UW
Country: Poland