“Platforms are a new funding instrument in Interreg Baltic Sea Region to make more out of the results of a single project, and we are looking forward to an interesting learning experience by working with the platforms,” stressed Susanne Scherrer, director of the Programme’s Managing Authority/Joint Secretariat (MA/JS) at a meeting in mid October in Riga. The managers of six recently approved projects had gathered together with coordinators of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and staff of the MA/JS to exchange about the individual expectations towards and approaches of the platforms.
The platform ResQU2
The platform ResQU2 (Rescue you, too) is all about increasing emergency preparedness related to sea shipping. The platform unites projects, which cover emergency actions at sea and in seaports, underwater, and sometimes in the air. In the individual projects, fire fighters, coast and border guards, and the police, have been working and practicing together to save lives after incidents. “We want to use the platform to reach rescue authorities in the entire Baltic Sea region and spread our experiences. With the platform, we can now benefit countries that have not been involved earlier”, says Kirsi Laitio from the Centre of Maritime Studies of the University of Turku who is managing the platform.
The Blue platform
The Blue platform is pooling results from nine projects dealing with different aspects of blue bio-economy, i.e. chances for economic development based on bio-resources from the Baltic Sea. Algae based cosmetics and mussel aquaculture in the sea are but two examples. “We want to improve the framework conditions for blue biotechnology in the Baltic Sea region by updating the existing Blue Growth strategy and by helping to align funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Regional Development Fund to support blue bio economy in the most efficient ways,” explains Riku Varjopuro from the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE.
BSR Access deals with the three TEN-T transport corridors situated in the Baltic Sea region, i.e. those corridors connecting the Baltic Sea with the North Sea, the Baltic with the Adriatic and Scandinavia with the Mediterranean. With the platform, the partners combine projects funded by Interreg, by the Connecting Europe Facility and by Horizon 2020. “With this platform we can offer to transport stakeholders what they cannot get anywhere else: access to project results from three important funding sources”, stresses Wiktor Szydarowski from region Blekinge.
Three more platforms deal with holistic water management (BSR Water), better nutrient management in farming (SuMaNu) and cleaner shipping (CSHIPP). Every platform takes a different approach. Every platform is furthermore connected with the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) by involving coordinators. And every platform might become a megaphones of the individual projects. Elena Kolosova of the MA/JS, who has been working with the concept of project platforms from an early stage onwards, is content with the platform event in Riga: “As a programme, we must make sure that public EU money is spent wisely to have a concrete positive impact on our region – and the project platforms are a promising tool to maximise projects’ impact.”