Winners of the RegioStars Awards 2017
On Tuesday evening the European Commission's RegioStars Awards ceremony took place in Brussels as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities.
This annual EU-wide competition puts the spotlight on the most innovative and inspiring EU funded projects and illustrates, through concrete real-life examples, how Cohesion Policy supports people's lives through the creation of economic growth and jobs at a regional level.
In addition to bringing recognition to the selected projects, it aims to foster the exchange of best practices between Cohesion Policy practitioners, as well as to inspire other project managers and managing authorities.
Out of 103 applications, an independent expert jury first shortlisted 24 finalists. In a second stage, five winning projects were selected to receive the prestigious RegioStars trophy from the hands of EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu and the RegioStars Jury President, MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij. In addition, this year, 11937 votes were cast for the Public Choice Award! Project Coordination to improve gender-based violence victims' labour market integration and social inclusion won, based on the votes received via social media and from the attendees of the event. Project IPN TecBIS – Technology Business Innovation Sustainable Growth – Business Accelerator and project Together Beyond Silence (Don’t stay alone in the silence) received a special mention as they were greatly appreciated.
This year, the submitted projects competed in 5 categories: Smart Specialisation for SME innovation, Energy Union: climate change, Women empowerment and active participation, Education and Training, and CityStars: cities in digital transition.
The 24 selected finalists come from regions and cities in 20 Member States and one neighbouring country: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom and many of them address common challenges through cooperation across borders.
A five country-partnership of bio-innovation experts could be crucial to Europe replacing non-renewable resources and developing the bio-based economy. The Bio Base NWE project supported the increased commercialisation of innovation to make North-West Europe a leading player in the emerging bio-economy. This was possible with the cooperation of partners from regions in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The city of Ii in Finland cut its CO² emissions by half during 2007-15 - the fastest rate in the country. The InnoHiili project is helping the city reach the Finnish Environment Institute’s target of an 80% emissions cut by 2030. But Ii plans to do it 10 years faster thanks to cooperation with all citizens.
A network of centres in Murcia, Spain supports female victims of gender-based violence. The regional employment and training service gives similar assistance. A project to improve coordination between them ensures more personalised support and a single point of contact.
A green project in the largely rural Split-Dalmatia region of Croatia is showing young people that they do not have to move to the city to enjoy a bright future.
The EkoBiz project was so popular it exceeded its expectations to train 25 young people in organic farming practices. More than 70 people ended up taking the training and were helped to develop viable business plans.
EkoBiz also encouraged 10 schools and 10 nurseries to develop small-scale projects related to organic farming and agriculture.
A project based in Germany is harnessing an array of IT technologies to help elderly people stay in their own homes for longer. The all-in system should take the pressure off hard-pressed care workers and health providers.
Smart Service Power is looking to integrate functions from the fields of e-health, smart homes, ambient assisted living, emergency call systems and concierge services. The resulting ‘internet-of-things’ platform will make it possible to monitor an elderly individual’s condition and help them live life to the fullest.