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New Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies: Smart scientific support for EU regions and cities

Scientific support in Europe’s regions and cities will finally come to fruition thanks to the new Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies, said Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), at the Annual Conference of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre on 11 October. He warmly welcomed the initiative, which provides scientific support to EU regions and cities, based on their specific needs, diversity and growth potential.

Opening the Annual Conference of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), President of the European Committee of the Regions, Markku Markkula, stated that there is a paradigm shift towards better recognition of the territorial aspects in EU policies and not only for cohesion policy. “We, the CoR, strongly stress the regional renewal processes: experimenting, piloting, prototyping and scaling up. This Knowledge Centre will enable regions and cities to invest more smartly, especially in human capital and skills – an essential element to become a pioneer in regional innovation ecosystems”, he said before underlining the CoR’s readiness to continue working with the JRC and DG REGIO in fields such as territorial impact assessments, smart specialisation processes and modelling capabilities.

The Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies is a collaborative effort by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) and the European Committee of the Regions. It will offer a single point of access to data, policy analysis, interactive tools and methods for policy makers, scientists and other stakeholders.

“Scientific evidence, combined with our local knowledge and proximity to citizens, will lead to a better understanding of the challenges facing Europe’s regions and cities, as well as the impact they have on the people living and working there. This will allow us to make the right evidence-based policy decisions and to invest in the necessary human capital to keep Europe competitive”, said President Markkula. As a successful model, he mentioned the Polish region of Mazovia, which has seen significant economic growth by “investing in human capital infrastructure, skills and encouraging a thirst for new knowledge”.

Tibor Navracsics , European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and who oversees the Joint Research Centre, said: “Policy makers require ever more relevant evidence and tools to analyse the impact of their policies and manage the growing amount of knowledge at their disposal. At the same time, they need to tailor approaches and initiatives to the specific features of individual regions and cities. Providing locally relevant information and comparison tools, the Knowledge Centre for Territorial Policies can help municipalities and regions with limited resources as well as big cities to boost economic growth and job creation.”

President Markkula, who was recently awarded the Leonardo da Vinci medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution of international significance to engineering education, further highlighted the fruitful collaboration between the CoR and the JRC since 2014. The two bodies have organised together a number of Innovation camps with the aim to find solutions to societal challenges in a creative and innovative way. In order to further explore the possibilities for synergies, a CoR delegation will visit the JRC premises in Ispra, Italy, at the end of November 2016.

Compliments of the EU Committe of the Regions