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Research & Innovation

Cork to host major EU regional development conference
Pictured L-R: Prof Anita Maguire, VP Research & Innovation, UCC with Sean Sherlock TD Minister of State for Research and Innovation and Enda McDonnell, Regional Director, South & South East, Enterprise Ireland


Under the auspices of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a prestigious three day conference, ‘The Week of Innovative Regions in Europe’ (WIRE), will take place in Cork from 5 - 7 June 2013.

The WIRE2013 Conference will see up to 500 delegates from 20 countries coming together to focus on regional aspects relevant to the final stages of the design and legislative process for the European Union’s next funding programme, Horizon 2020. As a result, European regional policy and regional development will be influenced by this conference.

Organised by Enterprise Ireland, the Conference will directly engage with and include the business community, SMEs and multinational corporations, bringing them together with regional, national and European stakeholders - including public organisations, policymakers, research communities and enterprises - to address, develop and progress the strengthening of regional ecosystems in the areas of research, technological development and innovation.

The theme of the Conference is ‘Regions: leading the way’ and will include high profile speakers such as Sean Sherlock TD Minister of State for Research and Innovation and Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will also award the winners of the first European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration. Nine local, regional and national authorities across Europe will be awarded 100 000 EUR for their initiatives that benefit citizens, firms or education and research to scale up their winning initiatives. The Prizes should highlight efficient public spending and inspire others to follow their example.

Financed by the European Commission, the WIRE Conference series is recognised as a key element in promoting regional development. The Conference will aim to identify what role there can be for regions in the Horizon 2020 programme as well as challenges, niche opportunities to add value, how to exploit opportunities as well as providing a platform to benchmark, network and establish future partnerships.

Commenting on Cork hosting this important conference, Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock said: ‘I am delighted that Cork has been chosen to host the WIRE2013 Conference. The rapid transformation of Ireland from an agriculture based nation on the periphery of Europe to a competitive, high-tech world player is typified by the Cork region. The South West Region has a highly dynamic industrial sector with many of the world's leading multinational corporations having their European headquarters in the area.

‘The role of Structural Funds here can be used as a model of success; through integration into a coherent national policy framework and prioritisation of investment, in particular human resources, education and training, which has been a key factor in making Ireland attractive for foreign direct investment. The unique internationalisation activity of the region, with 133 overseas companies employing over 21,000 people, makes it a fitting location for the WIRE2013 Conference’ Minister Sherlock added.

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