MONNA: Smart specialisation through nature monitoring

Where others see limitations, MONNA saw an opportunity to competitively and comparatively differentiate a territory with cross-border work on the use of ICT and geo-localisation technologies in environmental research.

Additional tools

MONNA analyses bird migrations through European-based emerging technologies in the filed of geo-localisation via the creation of a living-lab. MONNA analyses bird migrations through European-based emerging technologies in the filed of geo-localisation via the creation of a living-lab.

" The differential value of the project is its capacity to make the economy-society-environment triad compatible in a territory that requires a proposal for territorial development different from traditional ones. "

Jokin Garatea

The Aquitaine and Basque regions are a predominantly rural area which is cut off by its mountainous, rugged environment. As if this wasn’t enough, the area is also designated as a Biosphere Reserve, meaning there are strict governmental restrictions on what can be done in terms of economic development. In line with the principle of smart specialisation, the MONNA project used these apparent limitations as a unique, hidden opportunity to develop research activities. The result was the launch of numerous cross-regional entrepreneurial possibilities.

Hidden opportunities in nature

MONNA is a research project on bird tracking. It aims at developing applications for nature monitoring using European technology in the field of geo-localisation. This not only brings Europe to the forefront in nature monitoring research, but it also opens up business opportunities in the region and facilitates efficient public policies on environmental management and nature preservation.

In particular, the project combines frontline research on nature monitoring technology with training and education, the testing of technologies, the generation of innovation projects, and opening new opportunities for tourism.

To accomplish this, the project focused heavily on the use of cross-border cooperation and smart specialisation in rural environments. Further, it created a comprehensive strategy that mixed high-tech activities and traditional economic activities, with the foresight of being able to transfer the results to similarly situated global regions.


The resulting Living Lab entrepreneurial discovery experience has established itself as a technical and research hub facilitating the testing of the latest generation of ICT solutions. More so, the Living Lab has contributed to the creation of an entrepreneurial centre capable of attracting international talent – creating further entrepreneurial opportunities. Finally, the hub also plays a key role in ensuring that the region maintains its unique natural character.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “MONNA: A Smart Specialization GROWTH” is EUR 1 019 851.34, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 662 903.35 from the Operational Programme “France-Spain-Andorra” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date