IQ-Net Fieldwork, Prague

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New publication - The Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) in Scotland's innovation system
Stephen Miller, Researcher at the European Policies Research Centre, has contributed a paper to the inaugural issue of 'Regional Studies, Regional Science', the new open access journal from the Regional Studies Association. The paper focusses on the strategic challenge faced by the new Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), due to open in Glasgow later in 2014. By drawing upon the regional innovation system model as a normative reference, an ex-ante analysis is developed on the basis of three thematic areas - linkages, themes and services, and strategic capability - to consider how the TIC can optimally function in an innovation system with recognised structural weaknesses. Conclusions reflect on the utility of the regional innovation systems model as a means of ex ante evaluation, and the functional challenges faced by contemporary Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs). The full article can be accessed here.
Contact: Stephen Miller

EPRC contribution to the UK Balance of Competences Review of EU Cohesion Policy
EPRC has conducted a literature review of EU Cohesion policy as part of the UK Government's 'Balance of Competences Review'. Launched in 2012, the Review is "an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK" undertaken through 32 individual reports, each covering a specific area of EU competence. The review of EU Cohesion policy (European Structural and Investment Funds) was launched by the UK Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) with a consultation in Autumn 2013 and completed in July 2014. As a contribution to the review, EPRC was commissioned by BIS to undertake a study assessing the evidence on EU Cohesion policy concerning whether and to what extent the objectives of the policy have been met, and whether the Funds delivered value for money. The study also considered EU infrastructure spend that might contribute to the broad aim of cohesion, specifically Trans-European Networks. The EPRC study, drafted by Dr Laura Polverari and Professor John Bachtler, together with EPRC colleagues, can be downloaded here.
Contact: John Bachtler or Laura Polvereri

EPRC PhD opportunity: Peripheral Communities in Northern Europe
EPRC is seeking applications for a PhD studentship to investigate how sudden change affects peripheral communities in northern Europe, as well as the mechanisms which enable these communities to adapt. Climate change in the Arctic is associated with a rapid expansion of economic development but also has major environmental, social and cultural implications, prompting academic and policy debate about the management of change and the involvement of local communities. Studies suggest that actors in peripheral communities face particular constraints in cooperating with others, but also that interaction may be particularly fruitful for these communities by encouraging the critical mass needed for economic development, expanding capacity to engage with mainstream institutions, and enhancing political 'voice'. In particular, the research will examine how these communities can learn from each other and develop capacities and 'voice' to manage the effects of sudden economic change. Alongside its theoretical contribution, the PhD will include a strong policy element, and will explore how mechanisms such as the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes may provide a framework for collaborative learning and managing economic development to the benefit of peripheral communities. The studentship will cover fees (up to the home/EU rate only) and provides a stipend of approximately £13,863 per year for 3 years.

Closing Date: 22 August 2014

Details on how to apply are available here.
Contact: Sara Davies or Irene McMaster

Arctic Connections: EPRC hosts conference on Arctic regional cooperation networks
On behalf of the Scottish Government, EPRC hosted a major international conference ‘Arctic Connections’, focussing on regional cooperation networks in and around the Arctic. The event, on 10 & 11 June at Glasgow’s famous Lighthouse venue, brought together policy makers, academics and practitioners of territorial cooperation in the Arctic region. Organised and chaired by EPRC’s John Bachtler, Arno van der Zwet and Irene McMaster, the conference opened with speeches by Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal University of Strathclyde, Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, and Line Fusdahl, Chair Troms Regional Council. Conference papers prepared by EPRC, workshop discussions, and presentations went on to focus on the key role of regional cooperation in developing economic opportunities in the region that are environmentally and culturally sustainable. Speakers, including Hannu Halinen (Finland’s Arctic Ambassador), Arve Skjerpen (Norwegian Government), and José Palma Andrés (Director at DG Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission) emphasised the strategic importance of the region, the complex and rapidly changing environments across the area, and the value of collaboration in regional cooperation. The conference was the culmination of an initiative launched by the Norwegian Government. It provided a broad platform for knowledge exchange, sharing of best practice and development of new ideas. Crucially, it explored practical solutions to promoting collaboration in relation to regional cooperation in the Arctic, covering: new strategic and policy approaches to regional-level Arctic cooperation; the role of the ‘near’ Arctic in territorial cooperation activities with Arctic partners; and mechanisms to support collaborative approach to Arctic territorial cooperation. Please find the Arctic Connections website here.
Contact: Arno van der Zwet or John Bachtler

EPRC Seminar: Hungary’s Political Left in the 2014 National and European Elections
On Wednesday 18 June, EPRC hosted a seminar by Dr Eamonn Butler, Lecturer in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow. The seminar focussed on one of Hungary’s defining political problems - the collapse of an effective opposition on the centre and left of the political spectrum. In light of the results of the 2014 elections, the current state of the political left was examined with regard to matters of trust, leadership, personality and policy preference. The main points of focus were upon how the weaknesses of Hungary’s political left have resulted in limited electoral success, and the strengthening of the political right, thus allowing the promotion of key policies which have been so criticised by western media commentators.
Contact: Eamonn Butler

EPRC at Swiss conference on location promotion and regional policy
John Bachtler was an invited speaker at the 2014 edition of the annual International Benchmarking Forum in Basel on 12 and 13 June 2014. The event was organised by BAK Basel and looked at ways to improve regional economic development as well as location quality. John Bachtler presented an overview of regional policy approaches in Europe, putting Swiss regional policy into an international context. Other presentations looked, for instance, at the role of metropolitan regions and at a variety of location factors, such as taxation, accessibility, innovation capacity, business-friendliness and qualified manpower. The event provided an opportunity to exchange experiences amongst stakeholders from regional and national governments as well as other practitioners and academics.
Contact: John Bachtler or Stefan Kah

36th IQ-Net Conference (East Jutland) discusses project selection and generation in the light of the new results-orientation requirements
IQ-Net programme managers, together with Alida Staicu from the European Commission, met at the 36th IQ-Net conference in Denmark on 2-4 June 2014. The conference in Ry (East Jutland) was hosted by the Danish Business Authority and chaired by John Bachtler of EPRC. The main focus of the conference was on IQ-Net partners' approaches to project generation and selection in 2014-20 and how to link these to results-orientation. Discussions were supported by a research paper (executive summary) prepared by Frederike Gross and Laura Polverari of EPRC, as well as by presentations given by Vladimir Kvača from the Czech Ministry of Regional Development and by Alida Staicu from the DG Regio. Discussions also covered the preparations for closure of current programmes as well as the preparations for the forthcoming programmes, supported by a presentation by Rona Michie of EPRC (executive summary). Finally, Stefan Kah, IQ-Net Network Manager, provided an overview of future network developments. During the conference, partners also viewed two projects which have benefited from European funding:STARTmidt Accelerator , the Business Development Centre for Central Denmark and the Transformer project, which helps small enterprises in the green energy sector to grow and create jobs.
Contact: Frederike Gross or Stefan Kah

EPRC Seminar: The Reforms of EU Public Procurement: Strategy, Policy and Priorities
On Wednesday 28 May, EPRC hosted a seminar by Christopher Bovis, Professor of International and European Business Law at Hull University Business School. The seminar focussed on the current reforms to EU public procurement, which are designed to encourage public bodies to use procurement for wider strategic, social and environmental purposes. The EU 2020 Strategy has also created levers relevant to research and development, regional policy and the promotion of innovation in the delivery of public services. Key messages were that EU procurement in the 2014-2020 period will be more aligned towards non-EU actors, that the scope of reform is significant and will include changes to managing competitiveness, and that within the EU Member States procurement will be a tool of legitimised state aid. The presentation slides can be downloaded here.
Contact: Christopher Bovis

EPRC contribution to ex-ante evaluation of Austrian ERDF OP
Stefan Kah and John Bachtler have been involved in the ex-ante evaluation of the future Austrian ERDF programme. The study, which was led by Joanneum Research, is part of the preparations for the forthcoming 2014-20 Structural Funds programme period in Austria. The new programme will provide over €536 million of funding from the European Regional Development Fund, which will be complemented by almost €1.5 billion of domestic Austrian co-funding. More information (in German) is available here.
Contact: Stefan Kah

EPRC Presentation at SVIMEZ Seminar on 2014-2020 Cohesion policy programming
On 8 May 2014 Dr Laura Polverari was an invited speaker at a Seminar organised by Professor Manin Carabba and Dr Agnese Claroni, respectively Director and Editor in Chief of SVIMEZ' Rivista Giuridica del Mezzogiorno, on the 2014-2020 Cohesion policy, alongside Prof. Rosario Sapienza (University of Catania), Giorgio Centurelli (independent expert), Dr Adriana Di Stefano (University of Catania), Prof. Amedeo Lepore (Second University of Naples), Dr Laura Mascali (Public Works Authority) and Gian Paolo Manzella (Member of Lazio's Regional Council). Chaired by Prof. Maria Teresa Salvemini, Deputy Chair of SVIMEZ, the seminar shed light on various aspects of the policy in the new programme period: from the juxtaposition of two conflicting models of regionalism (Sapienza), to the evolution of management and control systems (Centurelli), to the opportunities represented by territorial cooperation (Mascali), to the roles of the new Territorial Cohesion Agency (Lepore) and of territorial partners (Di Stefano), to the reorganisation of the policy's governance and implementation in Regione Lazio (Manzella), and others. Laura's presentation focussed on the comparative results of the evaluation of the long-term achievements of Cohesion policy undertaken for DG Regio.
Contact: Laura Polverari

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