Cllr Declan McDonnell, NWRA

Northern and Western regions given Regional Innovation Valley status by EU

Latest designation means entire country will be represented at EU level
Cllr Declan McDonnell, NWRA

10 July 2024

Ireland’s northern and western regions have been designated Regional Innovation Valleys (RIV) under the European Commission’s New European Innovation Agenda initiative.

RIVs aim to strengthen and advance innovation ecosystems across EU territories, in addressing societal challenges, and to foster stronger social cohesion.

The northern and western regions comprise of counties Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan.

The southern, eastern and midland regions having previously received the designation, meaning that all three Irish regions will benefit from the initiative.

The RIV designation will provide an opportunity for collaborative working within a network of 151 similarly designated regions across Europe in developing their economic and innovation potential.

Specifically, the aim is to harness the potential of deep-tech innovation across different EU territories, address the innovation divide, strengthen innovation ecosystems, and bring together less and more innovative regions to address issues of sustainability, global food security, cyber security, healthcare and how to develop a circular economy.

A key component of the RIV initiative is a matchmaking process to facilitate connections between enterprises, researchers, and public institutions, create partnerships, provide access to a pool of experts and mentors and match innovative projects with potential investors and funding sources to accelerate their development and implementation.

Addressing the committee of the regions’ plenary meeting in Brussels, where the announcement was made, Cllr Declan McDonnell of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) said: “The recognition of the Northern and Western region of Ireland as a Regional Innovation Valley will greatly enhance the NWRA’s ability to coordinate research, innovation investment and policies. It will enable us to address regional challenges, while maintaining a strong alignment with EU priorities.

“By collaborating with our universities, and sectors such as agrifood, agritech, marine & blue economy, tourism, renewable energy, medtech and advanced manufacturing & engineering research centres, we can significantly boost regional competitiveness and also ensure the implementation of the New European Innovation Agenda within our Region.”

Director of NWRA Denis Kelly said: “By building on the national and regional smart specialisation strategies, the NWRA will work together with key innovative players in our region to address responses to specific local and regional challenges through the enhanced development of thematic/technological areas, including deep tech innovation.”

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