The ERNACT network of regions secures €4 million for digital innovation projects

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15 February 2016 - DIGITAL REGIONS  project
The ERNACT network of regions is delighted to announce that it has secured €4 million to initiate two new innovation projects: NICHE - Building Innovative food value chains in regions- and ERUDITE - Enhancing Rural and Urban Digital Innovation Territories-. 

The projects are being carried out with financial support from the European Union’s Interreg Europe cooperation programme. This programme helps regional and local governments to develop better public policies by creating an environment for sharing solutions between regions.

The NICHE project - Building innovative food value chains in regions - ranked in the top 3 of the 261 proposal submitted to the Interreg Europe programme. The project will address challenges arising from changes in the food sector and will explore the potential of technology to increase innovation in seven European regions where food is important for jobs and economic growth. This project will last three years and will adapt and transfer good practices that have worked in one European region to others in the project, e.g., use of information technology to trace food from the farm to the restaurant table or smart phones to help manage quality.

NICHE has a budget of €1.7 million and several ERNACT regions will be involved, including Derry and Strabane (UK) and West Romania (Romania). The project proposal was fully developed and will be led by the ERNACT partnership.

The second project approved, ERUDITE - Enhancing Rural and Urban Digital Innovation Territories -aims to exploit the potential of new high speed broadband services to meet public, private and community economic and social needs. An innovative aspect of the project is to use new Return-On-Investment (ROI) models developed in Scandinavia to justify investment of public money in high speed broadband services in rural areas. These new models differ from conventional models in that they include the social and economic returns to the entire community, not just to the broadband operator or supplier. For example, public investment in broadband can allow education and healthcare services to be delivered more cost effectively, lowering regional taxes and making the area more attractive for investors and job creation.

This second project will last a minimum of two years and has a budget of €2.2 million. A critical success factor will be the ability to convince government of merits of the new Return on Investment models. The ERNACT regions of Derry and Strabane (UK), Donegal (Ireland) and Västernorrland (Sweden) will participate in this project, which is led by the Burgandy region (France).

Click here to email  Ianire Renobales at ERNACT for further information

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