Project platforms on their way
21 Nov 2017

Leaders of Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects, several coordinators of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and representatives of other EU funding programmes from around the Baltic met in early November in Potsdam to develop ideas for project platforms. In October, Interreg BSR launched a call for project platforms to be submitted by end of February 2018.

Participants of the Project platform development seminar discussing ideas for a platform on smart specialisation (© IB.SH/ Maack)
A round table with people discussing ideas | Interreg Baltic Sea Region

At least two organisations involved in ongoing Interreg Baltic Sea Region projects and at least one organisation from a different EU funding programme are needed to form a platform partnership to apply for up to EUR 1 million. The idea of the platforms is to bring the core outputs of thematically related projects to their respective end-users or to political decision makers, i.e. to capitalise on the results. Officers of the Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat (MA/JS) explained to the audience the specific rules for platform applications and then gave the floor to the participants to exchange about their ideas.

Several platforms are under development

Experts of smart specialisation were particularly active, and Lisa Fröbel from Region of Västerbotten summed up the progress: “We have gotten quite far, have narrowed down potential topics and defined the target group, i.e. innovation planners in the regions.” Niclas Forsling, who is a policy area coordinator for innovation of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) was content: “ We have a partnership, we have topics, and we have a good idea of what to do next.”

Jacek Bełdowski of the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Science wants to use the platform to develop a common approach for handling hazardous objects on the sea floor such as munition, fishing gear and potentially hazardous lost cargo or wrecks.

The Submariner Network is setting up a platform for blue growth. “We want to push blue growth on the sea basin level focusing on bio economy and maritime spatial planning and have quite a number of projects from Interreg Baltic Sea Region, South Baltic and Central Baltic as well as BONUS”, says Carsten Beyer from Submariner.  

"Sitting at one table and talking with several drivers plus the EUSBSR coordinator was very well worth the time”, says Sven Friedrich (INFRASTRUKTUR & UMWELT – Prof. Böhm & Partner) who is eager to contribute to a platform about transnational issues of transport. The respective coordinator of policy area Transport, Thomas Erlandson, highlights that he very much appreciates this chance to develop a platform as he hopes that it will  make it much easier for him to coordinate the numerous activities going on.

First ideas were also noted down for clean shipping and clear waters. “I see great potential in the platform call, but the actual ideas still need to grow,” says Jenny Hedman, policy area coordinator Hazard. 

Funding programmes combine efforts in platforms

Project platforms are in place in other funding programmes, too, for example in the research programme BONUS. BONUS was involved in the development of the call and has promoted it towards the projects funded by BONUS. Meelis Sirendi of BONUS concludes: “Indeed, there is good potential for BONUS projects to contribute, e.g. in waste water treatment and munition at the sea floor. Now it is up to the projects to become active.” 

Kirsti Mijnhijmer from the Interreg programme Northern Periphery and Arctic is impressed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme’s approach to project platforms. She sees that the Programme has thought through the idea of platforms very well and has presented concrete options for how different projects can contribute to platforms. “It is obvious that this call is not only about more funding for networking but really meant to have an effect in terms of noticeable results.”  

Elena Kolosova from Interreg Baltic Sea Region is happy to see that several proposals are well on their way. “We know that there are more ideas, e.g. in clean shipping and water management. We look forward to sound applications which will create an added value on top of each project’s individual achievements.”