European Regions Research and Innovation Network re-launches with high hopes and expectations

October 23, 2006

Brussels, 20 October 2006

The European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN) announced its official re-launch for 2007 and beyond at its seminar 'Towards Regional Innovation: the Role of European Regions' on 19 October 2006 in Brussels.

ERRIN is a Brussels-based network designed to help representations involved in research and innovation to engage with the evolving European Research Area (ERA).

By improving coordination and communication between regional representations in Brussels, ERRIN strengthens cooperation and synergies between regions across Europe and reinforces the research and innovation agenda in line with the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy.

According to Pascal Goergen, Representative of the Brussels-Capital region and Member of the ERRIN Management Board, 'ERRIN is a network created by regions for regions. This is a network based in Brussels which screens, informs and analyses all that is related to the research and innovation European agenda from the regional perspective. Dealing with the Seventh Framework Programme from a national or federal point of view is totally different from looking at it from a regional perspective, or even a local perspective. So ERRIN's objective is to bring added value to our regional authorities, firms, SMEs [small and medium sized enterprises], development agencies, universities and research institutes.'

ERRIN has gone from strength to strength. From an informal Brussels-based platform set up in 2002 with 190 regional representations interested in the ERA, it won a contract for a two-year Commission-funded pilot-project within the 'Regions of Knowledge' framework in 2003.

Four years since its inception, and with its Commission funding coming to an end in 2006, ERRIN has gone through a period of re-thinking and soul searching.

It came to the conclusion that it had to take the bold evolutionary step of becoming an autonomous and sustainable network based on the financial and dynamic contribution of its members if it was to continue its work supporting Europe's regions and regional actors.

ERRIN has already managed to get 12 regional representations on board: West Midlands in Europe, City & Region of Eindhoven, Brussels Capital Region, Helsinki Region, South Denmark, South Sweden, Stuttgart, Unioncamere Lombardia, Unioncamere Piemonte, Valencia Region, Veneto Region, and Yorkshire & Humber Region, and it is confident that more members will sign up based on ERRIN's 2007 policy and project objectives.

These include:

- contributing its views on the European Commission's 10 point action plan for a broad based innovation strategy for the EU;

- presenting its views on the rules of participation for the Seventh Framework Programme to the European Commission;

- contributing to the 2007 Spring Council with a regional perspective on Innovation and contributing to achieving the goals of the Lisbon Strategy;

- informing members of upcoming developments in relevant policy areas, and, through small scale dedicated working groups, aim to achieve rapid responses to policy initiatives and European Commission consultative processes via a policy alerts system;

- organising briefing sessions on topical policy issues;

- coordinating policy activities with a view to ensuring the quality of the Network's output;

- supporting members through activities that facilitate the development of European cooperation projects;

- Developing an 'ERRIN Project Vademecum'.

The question on everyone's mind is, will more members give ERRIN a chance to meet these targets?

Further information on ERRIN http://www.errin-brussels.org/index.php

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