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Sustainable Smart Specialisation for the re-opening of industrial sites in the Danube Region

Funder: European Commission

Call for proposal: HORIZON-CL4-2021-RESILIENCE-01

Duration: 24 months (2022 – 2024)

Overall budget and funding source: EUR 1 million

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101058457.

The goal of the RIS4DANU project is to elaborate strategic business development plans for the reopening of 21 disused industrial sites in the Danube Macro-Region, an area that stretches from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. The project aims to apply an evidence-based Smart Specialisation (S3) approach to support the transition to a green economy in regions along the Danube River. 

The project directly connects to the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), a macro-regional strategy to address common economic and societal challenges and create synergies and coordination between existing policies and initiatives. Danube neighboring states share a proud and centuries-old history of manufacturing and industrial production, yet political upheavals, globalization and technological advancements have confronted many Danube regions with the challenges of structural transformation and have triggered the closing down of numerous industrial plants and sites. In many regions, plant closures and the associated displacement of workers caused severe socio-economic effects on workers, local communities and regions. 

At the heart of the RIS4DANU project is the goal of applying an evidence-based Smart Specialisation (S3) approach to support place-based innovation for green/digital and inclusive transitions in regions along the Danube River. This project ties in with current debates and requests to combine smart specialisation with considerations of socio-ecological challenges such as climate change, environmental issues and growing social and territorial inequality: Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (S4+). We argue that the re-opening of old industrial sites shows the potential to build transformative resilience in less-favoured Danube regions. These sites could serve as innovation anchors, unleashing opportunities for the entire region to strengthen their capacity to develop innovative solutions to place-specific ecological, social and economic challenges. Project activities include cross-regional peer exchange and a transfer of knowledge along the Danube River.

Project’s website

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