RegioStars Awards

RegioStars Awards identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects that are attractive and inspiring to other regions.

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Yesterday, Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu held the annual ceremony announcing the winners of the RegioStars awards, rewarding this year’s best Cohesion Policy projects. And the winners are:

Category 1) Supporting smart industrial transition: Business and Shared Services Centre, a business centre in the town of Fundão, Centro region, Portugal

Category 2) Transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy: TeKiDe - textile fibre recycling, a project that makes new textiles from cotton waste in Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland, as part of a bio and circular economy hub attracting investment to the region;

Category 3) Better access to public services: Social Housing in the City of Ostrava, a social housing programme in the Czech Moravian-Silesian region;

Category 4) Addressing the migration challenge: Labour integration & social inclusion of refugees, a special integration programme in the Spanish region of Murcia which helps migrants find their place in society;

Category 5) Investing in cultural heritage: Nant Gwrtheyrn, an abandoned mining village on the north west Wales coast which has been restored to become a cultural centre. 

The Vista Alegre Heritage Museum in Portugal received the public choice award

Commissioner Creţu said: “RegioStars are true ambassadors of Cohesion policy. In our effort to better communicate what Europe is doing for its citizens, these projects are valuable assets and I hope they inspire many regions when they select EU-funded projects.” 

As of today, people can start voting for the 2018 RegioStars' public choice award, among the 21 finalists shortlisted this year.

The 2018 RegioStars will reward the best Cohesion Policy projects in 5 categories: achieving industrial transition; promoting a low carbon lifestyle; making public services better and more accessible; dealing with migration in the long term; and preserving the EU's cultural heritage.

Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: "Each year our RegioStars Awards set the bar higher and higher and show how EU funds can be used in the best possible way. I'm looking forward to meeting the brains and talents behind these 21 great projects". Commissioner Creţu will indeed meet all finalists this afternoon in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The event, which will take place at 16:00 CET in room C4.1 (LOW building), is open to accredited journalists.

The 'RegioStars Awards' is a yearly competition that selects the best Cohesion Policy projects. The winners in all 5 categories will be announced on 9 October, in the context of the 2018 EU week of Cities and Regions.

An expert jury of 15 members, co-chaired by MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij and MEP Kerstin Westphal, has evaluated 102 applications submitted to this year’s competition honouring Europe’s most excellent projects supported by the cohesion policy of the European Union.

The 21 selected finalists come from 20 member states and five further partner countries.

The selected projects per category are the following:

Category 1:

Category 2:

Category 3: 

Category 4:    

Category 5:


Voting for this year’s public choice award will start on 3 July!

Further details will follow…

RegioStars Awards 2018

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.   

The winners:

Bio Base North West Europe 

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. 

"InnoHiili" - Innovative Low-Carbon Public Services

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.

Coordination to improve gender-based violence victims' labour market integration and social inclusion

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.

EkoBiz – Promotion of Youth Entrepreneurship in the Organic Agriculture Sector

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. 

Smart Service Power

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.

More Information

RegioStars 2017

RegioStars Awards put under the spotlights good practices, original and innovative projects in regional development.

Vote for your favourite project to help it win the Public Choice Award! Your vote is decisive! 


Today, we announce the finalists for the 2017 edition of the RegioStars Awards, the yearly competition honouring Europe's most inspiring and innovating regional projects supported by EU Cohesion Policy Funds. 

An independent Jury, led by MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij, selected 24 finalists from 103 entries on the basis of four key criteria: innovation, impact, sustainability and partnership. 

The 24 selected finalists come from regions and cities in 20 Member States and one neighboring 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.
Many of the finalists are addressing common challenges through cooperation across borders.

The five categories are: 

  • 1 Smart Specialisation for SME innovation
  • 2 Energy Union: Climate Change
  • 3 women empowerment and active participation
  • 4 Education and Training
  • 5 CityStar: Cities in digital transition.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday 10th October in Brussels, during the RegioStars Award Ceremony.

More information

RegioStars Awards identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects that are attractive and inspiring to other regions. 

Think your project deserves to be known and rewarded? Then submit it!

The Award Categories for 2017 are:

1) Smart Specialisation for SME innovation

2) Energy Union: Climate action

3) Women Empowerment and Active Participation

4) Education and training

5) CityStars: Cities in Digital Transition 

This year's RegioStars award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, October 10, during the 2017 European Week of Regions and Cities

Regiostars Awards

Social Media 

@EU_Regional #Regiostars

EU Week of Regions and Cities #EURegionsWeek

Improving the public perception of transparency in the use of EU funds was the main goal of the Lithuanian project Jonvabaliai (Fireflies).

The project was centred around an interactive website, hosting a map with projects financed by European Structural Funds. Project managers could, on a voluntarily basis, submit information on their project such as  results, prices, public procurement procedures, company's shareholders, anti-corruption measures, funds management and more. The more information was made public, the more “transparency fireflies” the project would earn.

Since September 2014, more than 630 project managers have joined the initiative following a series of actions which encouraged projects to join. These included an advertising campaign, a contest for municipalities, the possibility to use the initiative’s visual identity, the proposal to join open-project days, the production of road-signs inviting people to visit the projects, as well as a TV-show dedicated to the Fireflies project.

The Fireflies website was visited by 35 500 unique visitors accounting for 140 000 page views and as a result of the project, the proportion of citizens who consider the transparency level on allocation of EU funds’ as “transparent” or “rather transparent” increased from 28% to 50. 9%.

Jonvabaliai (Fireflies) is the "Effective Management" winner of the Regiostars Awards 2016.


More Information on the project
Website -  Transparency Initiative Jonvabaliai 
Regiostars 2016


RegioStars Awards identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects that are attractive and inspiring to other regions.

Think your project deserves to be known and rewarded? Then submit it! You can apply until April 15!

Please note that this year 2 projects can be submitted per programme by the project manager, with the endorsement of the managing authority.

The Award Categories for 2018 are:

  • Supporting smart industrial transition
  • Achieving sustainability through low carbon emissions
  • Creating better access to public services
  • Tackling migration challenges
  • Topic of the year 2018: Investing in cultural heritage

RegioStars 2018 Application Platform 

Applicants Guide PDF  de en  fr

Applicants Form DOC de en fr


Category 1: Supporting smart industrial transition

Europe experiences a period of momentous change. Globalisation, automation, decarbonisation, emerging and digital technologies all have impacts on jobs, industrial sectors, business models, the economy and the society as a whole. As a result of these changes in the industry and service sectors almost all European regions undergo a substantial regional economic transformation. The European Commission is committed to support regions in developing smart specialisation and economic transformation strategies to generate the innovation, resilience and growth needed to harness globalisation.

Nominations under this category covered a diverse range of issues from harnessing globalisation by providing appropriate answers to local challenges to supporting the region’s long-term smart specialisation strategy through developing strong regional partnerships to reinforce collaboration on the topic.

Category 2: Achieving sustainability through low carbon emissions

Europe's transition to a low-carbon society is becoming the new reality on the ground; the Energy Union, creating new jobs, growth and opportunities for investment, is one of the ten priorities of this Commission. By more than doubling the funds available to support the shift to a low-carbon economy, cohesion policy funding represents the largest allocation of the EU budget to be channelled into low-carbon investments in the period 2014-2020; the policy provides a structural and long-term response to the challenges regions face in relation to energy transition.

RegioStars 2018 encouraged nominations that respond to the necessary shift towards a low-carbon economy and society in order to recognize innovative regional efforts to ensure clear energy development, energy efficiency, develop renewable energy, smart grids, sustainable urban development and building construction.

Category 3: Creating better access to public services

Good access to public services is crucial for economic growth and functioning societies, yet the provision of public services faces new challenges through demographic changes, transitions in labour markets and an on-going digitalisation. Access to services should be delivered based on regional specificities and can be supported by eGovernment. The European Commission is committed to spur innovation and growth throughout the economy by offering a lead market and a platform for private services while reducing red tape and bureaucracy for all residents of Europe. Digital public services in Europe can contribute to more efficiency and transparency, and therefore strengthen trust in governments.

RegioStars aimed at finding projects which help adapt to demographic and societal challenges, are non-discriminative and inclusive, physically accessible, link services, pay special attention to children’s needs and/or offer digital solutions.

Category 4:  Tackling migration challenges

Today’s migration and integration challenges are an important factor in the development of European cities. Therefore, the Urban Agenda for the EU puts emphasis on measures to include migrants and refugees: Cities are places where both migrants and non-migrants interact, be it through working, studying, living or raising their families. Achieving an inclusive and integrated approach tackling urgent, medium and long-term challenges requires multi-level governance. Cities need to be ensured that regulations will have no negative impact on the integration of migrants and refugees, that opportunities are funded and that knowledge exchange on best practices takes place.

This year’s RegioStars competition aimed at recognising the efforts of projects that address the most pressing needs in the scope of integration of people with a migrant background, preferably using an integrated approach and linking integration challenges to economic growth and sustainability.

Category 5: Topic of the year 2018: Investing in cultural heritage

2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Cultural heritage and tourism, cultural and creative industries are an important part of Europe’s economy. In the current ERDF programmes, around EUR 6 billion are allocated for investments in the development and promotion of culture assets, services, and cultural heritage, creative industries, etc. with a strong focus on strengthening competitiveness and growth and jobs. The initiatives of the European Commission all acknowledge the direct and indirect economic potential that cultural heritage can imply for regions, through financing the creative sectors, including small and medium enterprises, sustainable and responsible tourism businesses.

This year, RegioStars showcases projects that ensure the preservation of cultural heritage, contribute to smart and sustainable development, provide cultural infrastructure and services, foster the cultural and creative industry, make culture attractive and use culture to unite communities.

This year, the independent RegioStars jury was co-chaired by Members of the European Parliament Kerstin Westphal and Lambert van Nistelrooij. The jury meet two times in person, once to determine the list of finalists and again to choose the winners from the shortlisted projects. Their expertise and in-depth discussions led ultimately to the selection of the most excellent projects of cohesion policy this year.


MEP Kertsin Westphal

Member of the European Parliament

Member of the Committee on Regional Development

MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij

Member of the European Parliament

Member of the Committee on Regional Development

Jurors category 1 – Supporting smart industrial transition

Prof. Philipp McCann

Professor of Urban and Regional Economics in the University of Sheffield Management School

Expert in RDI, socio-economic analysis, regional policies, smart specialisation and knowledge-economy.

Dr. Cristina Serbanica

Associate Professor at the Constantin Brancoveanu University

Expert in RDI, socio-economic analysis, regional policies, smart specialisation and knowledge-economy.

Ksenija Banovac

Spatial Planning and Business Analyst a the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lille

Expert in regional development strategies, infrastructure projects and marketing and media relations.

Jurors category 2 – Achieving sustainability through low carbon emissions

Prof. Simin Davoudi

Professor of Environment Policy & Planning and Director of Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) at the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape, and Associate Director of Newcastle University Institute for Sustainability

Expert in climate change, sustainable cities, resilience and local development.

Assistant Prof. Fabian Faller

Assistant Professor at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel at the Geography Institute in the Working Group Economic Geography

Expert in energy transition, environmental economic geography and green economies.

Sorin Cebotari, Phd

Research Assistant at the Marie Curie Action, ITN Regional Polarization, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj

Expert in comparative politics, energy management and social networks.

Jurors category 3 – Creating better access to public services

Associate Prof. Eduarda Marques Da Costa

Associate Professor of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning of University of Lisbon

Expert in spatial planning, regional and urban planning, evaluation of public policies, data collection and monitoring systems and Health Cities.

Dr. Alois Humer

Research Fellow at Aalto University

Expert in services of general interest and territorial cohesion.

Miko Weckroth

Postdoctoral researcher in H2020 project IMAJINE

Expert in geographies of wellbeing and development, regional and urban development and social sciences.

Jurors category 4 – Tackling migration challenges

Prof. Peter Scholten

Professor Public Administration, specialized in the Dynamics of Migration and Diversity Policies, at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam

Expert in migration, social integration, public policy, migration development and cities of migration.

Prof. Alessandra Faggian

Professor of Applied Economics, Director of Social Sciences and Vice Provost for Research at the Gran Sasso Science Institute, L’Aquila

Expert in regional urban economics, demography, migration and human capital.

Anastasia Panori

Senior researcher at IntelSpace Innovation Technologies S.A.

Expert in spatial segregation, migration, smart specialisation, sustainable urban development and online communication.

Jurors category 5 – Topic of the year 2018: Investing in cultural heritage

Associate Prof. Ana P. Roders

Associate Professor in Heritage and Sustainability at the Eindhoven University of Technology

Expert in sustainability, cultural heritage, historic urban landscapes, urban design and architecture.

Associate Prof. Antonio P. Russo

Tenured Associate Professor at the University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona

Expert in tourism geography and cultural development.

Joanna Zielińska-Szczepkowska

Assessment of projects implemented within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Instrument and Polish Regional Operational Programmes

Expert in economy and food technology and human nutrition.

102 applications have been submitted this year to the RegioStars Awards 2018.
The expert jury is working on determining the most excellent project per category based on merits such as innovative character, impact, sustainability and partnership.

The ranking shows the preliminary results, based on the votes received through the InfoRegio website and does not contain the additional social media votes of the last week. The final winner of the public choice award will be announced during the award ceremony at 19:00 9 October 2018!

Instalação do i3S (i3S Installation)
Norte, Portugal


Business and Shared Services Centre
Centro, Portugal


Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies
West Wales and the Valleys, United Kingdom

The Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging
Wallonia, Belgium

de  fr  nl

Kärnten, Salzburg and Tirol in Austria and Bolzano, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, Interreg Italy - Austria

de  it

TeKiDe – textile fibre recycling
Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland


Tuscany, Italy


Interreg Sudoe ClimACT
Sudoe region, Portugal, Spain, France, United Kingdom

es  fr  pt

Batteries for the Future
Thuringia, Germany


Social Housing in the City of Ostrava
Moravia-Silesian Region, Czech Republic


Health is the most important thing
Warmia and Mazury region, Kaliningrad region, Interreg ENPI-CBC Lithuania - Poland - Russia


Öresund - Kattegat - Skagerrak, Interreg ÖKS Denmark-Sweden

da sv 

The Youth Guarantee


Norte, Portugal


Integrated health and social centers
Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

de  fr  nl

Labour Integration and Social Inclusion of Refugees
Murcia, Spain


Nant Gwrtheyrn
West Wales and the Valleys, United Kingdom

Rehabilitation and restoration of Cittadella Gozo


Raised Bogs – a Unique European Area
Nowosądecki - Žilinský kraj, Interreg Poland-Slovakia

pl  sk

Vista Alegre Heritage Museum
Centro, Portugal


Danube Region, Interreg Danube (Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia)

de   hr  hu  sk   sl


Business and Shared Services Centre - Centro, Portugal

Conceived as a driver of local innovation and investment strategy, the Business and Shared Services Centre has attracted 14 TICE companies and created 500 highly-qualified jobs in a rural city of less than 15,000 people. In 4 years, the project has propelled the development of an integrated ecosystem that has generated 68 start-ups and supported over 200 private funding projects, investing in R&D, pioneering initiatives of professional retraining and digital skills.

Project fiche

TeKiDe – textile fibre recycling - Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland

A platform to demonstrate new ways to recycle poor quality post-consumer cotton textile waste has been established. The cotton waste is dissolved and spun as new good quality textile fibres. This can revolutionize the whole concept of textile industry making waste yards to sustainable ”cottonfields”. This new textile recycling demonstration platform will strengthen the science and innovation hub of Helsinki-Uusimaa region by creating a core for a commercialization ecosystem with global impact.

Project fiche

Social Housing in the City of Ostrava - Moravia-Silesian Region, Czech Republic

The City of Ostrava has prepared the project to focus on the key issue of inclusive activities: social housing. We believe home, living in a flat and the support of social workers is the basis of the new social housing system and a prerequisite for the stabilisation of families in a difficult socio-economic situation. From the beginning of the project, we focus on piloted and time-limited activities becoming an integral part of the city’s inclusive agenda.

Project fiche

Labour Integration and Social Inclusion of Refugees - Murcia, Spain

This project aims to offer a close, coordinated and egalitarian response to facilitate social integration of refugees with special and extreme difficulties that have been received in the Region of Murcia. A solidarity strategy with medium and long-term measures is being developed to achieve this purpose in a sustainable manner. It is the basis of those commitments and actions taken for the coordination, profiling, support and awareness of the local community institutions, NGOs & economic sector.

Project fiche

Nant Gwrtheyrn - West Wales and the Valleys, United Kingdom

Nant Gwrtheyrn is located in a deep valley overlooking the Irish Sea in north west Wales. An abandoned quarry village has been renovated as a centre to promote Welsh culture and language. A range of partners enabled a 7 million EUR project to provide a new access road, accommodation, function suite, café, shop and heritage centre to tell the stories of the quarries and life in this remote region. The village transformed and now employs 30 staff and welcomes over 40,000 visitors a year.

Project fiche

Public Choice Award

Vista Alegre heritage museum - Centro, Portugal

An amazing masterplan to revive 2 centuries of historical porcelain, starting with its crown jewel – Vista Alegre Museum – and spreading the intervention to the entire surroundings: the theatre, the factory, the chapel, the hotel, the workers neighbourhood and the precinct. A profound rehabilitation, aiming to show reindustrialization in porcelain industry. This integrated project allows preservation of an international cultural heritage site, saving the brand from ruin and increasing tourism in the region.

Project fiche