North Sea Region projects make their mark

From creative technology to farmland biodiversity, energy-savvy youngsters and shared mobility solutions:  North Sea Region projects are creating a stir with their novel approaches.  

North Sea Region Programme funded projects are carefully selected based on their strong ability to kick-start and develop solutions to some of the toughest challenges in our region. Projects approved early in the 2014-2020 programme period are now proving the power of well-formed transnational partnerships, clever concepts, and effective communication. Below, we have a picked a few highlights.

Innovation projects steam ahead

Create Converge empowers creative technology (createch) SMEs working with concepts such as gamification, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to reach customers in sectors such as fashion, architecture, tourism and healthcare.

The project’s amazing website has already received more than 215,000 page views by 160,000 visitors.

Visit Create Converge’s website:

Create Converge has made links with iconic companies such as Warner Brothers, Pinewood Studios, Makropol, Zentropa, Meganørd, and LEGO, and held masterclasses with world-renowned creatives such as Tom Kelley of IDEO, VR film director Johan Knattrup Jensen, and Head of Character Animation at Dreamworks Dave Burgess.  In addition, project partners have promoted Create Converge at nearly 40 events, including the Cannes film festival, the Berlin Fashion film festival, and the prestigious SXSW.

Like! helps local governments build a digital innovation culture to raise the quality of public services. Its prolific initiatives include a hackathon for the elderly, co-creation with Smart Seniors, blockchain voting apps for vulnerable citizens, and establishment of digi-coaches in public administrations – just to name a few.

Nature projects attract media and policymakers

Nature conservation initiatives often go below the radar of media and politicians; however, three North Sea Region projects are proving that there are exceptions to this rule:

JOMOPANS monitors how undersea noise affects North Sea wildlife such as seals and dolphins. These animals depend on sea water acoustics to communicate, so marine noise management is highly important for their wellbeing. This initiative was featured by the BBC in December 2017.

CANAPE looks at how peatlands – precious natural landscapes and significant carbon sinks – can be preserved whilst generating economic value. Though still in its early stages, CANAPE has already been highlighted in the national press of several countries.

Focusing on its namesake bird, PARTRIDGE seeks to revert an alarming decline in European farmland  biodiversity by creating high-quality wildlife habitats such as beetle banks and wildflower plots and margins. The ten demonstration sites are showing promising first results and dozens of farm walks have already proven a draw for a wide range of rural stakeholders, from farmers to policymakers, inspiring high-level politicians from several North Sea Region countries.

Dutch farmers at PARTRIDGE flower plot at Oude Doorn demo site, the Netherlands. Photo: The PARTRIDGE project.

One of the Dutch  pilots, Oude Doorn, received a national award, resulting in national TV and radio broadcasts reaching over 1 million viewers and listeners within a single week. Also, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan and Dutch politicians visited the pilot. In April 2018, the PARTRIDGE project appeared at a top agricultural conference  in Brussels.

Shared mobility rocks!

Using carsharing or bikesharing services can be both cool and convenient, but few are aware of this. The SHARE-North project addresses this gap by changing the attitudes of citizens and decision-makers and sharing positive experiences with well-designed ‘mobile hub’ concepts.

The concept has spread from Germany to Norway and Flanders in a truly transnational manner, adding new features to the concept in each country. On 26 March 2017, 80 Flemish signatories signed an ambitious green deal on shared mobility in the presence of three Flemish ministers and national media.

SHARE-North partners Taxistop and Autodelen initiated the event Shared mobility rocks, featuring five European projects. The event took place 21 March 2018 in Aalst, Belgium, with over 25 speakers and 200 visitors – and yes, of course the day was topped off by rock music!

Young students take up energy challenge

On 26 January 2018, 500 students from 30 Dutch schools took part in the kick-off of the Dutch Energy Challenge Kick-off organised by the project 2imprezs.  The students vowed to be the ‘energisers’ of their school, inspiring their peers to make substantial energy savings, and  braced themselves for this task by attending workshops such as ‘Create a Banner’, ‘The Energy Challenge Rap Song’, ‘Static Electricity’, and ‘Young Researchers’.

Video produced  by 2imprezs, compiled from students’ contributions. 

On the industry side, DUAL Ports is working behind the scenes to stimulate low-carbon approaches at medium-sized ports. This project has made it into a series of industry media and one of its pilots made an appearance in Danish local TV.

Oostende Port, one of the pilot sites.  Photo by the DUAL Port project.

Many other North Sea Region projects are now taking off and starting to produce results, so stay tuned for more updates!

Top photo: Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development together with Dutch Politians at Oude Doorn demo site in the Netherlands.  © The PARTRIDGE project.

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