The annual Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Programme Conference serves as a meeting ground for those responsible for allocating and using the €300 Million in EU funds within the Interreg BSR Programme, as well as an excellent networking opportunity for Interreg BSR project representatives. This year, the BSR Programme Conference took place in historically renowned Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein at the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. Serving as a gateway to the Baltic Sea, Lübeck is known for its Hanseatic heritage, scrumptious marzipan and three Nobel prize winners.
Madeline Langlois of the European Institute for Innovation (EIfI), Smartup Accelerator from Germany, represented the Smartup Accelerator project at the Interreg BSR Conference 2019. Attendance at this annual programme conference was productive for Smartup Accelerator project exposure, networking and generally becoming familiar with other great BSR/EU projects within the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.
Day one of the conference was kicked off with an opening by conference moderator Susanne Scherrer, Director of Interreg Baltic Sea Region Managing Authority/ Joint Secretariat (MA/JS). Following the opening came inspiring speeches and BSR Programme updates from speakers such as Erk Westermann-Lammers, CEO of Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein (IB.SH), Igor Kapyrin, Monitoring Committee member for Russia/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and Sabine Sütterlin-Waack, Minister of Justice, European Affairs, Consumer Protection and Equality of Schleswig-Holstein. The introductory plenary session provided comprehensive BSR Programme updates and served as a solid base for the subsequent interactive parallel sessions. In these sessions, Interreg BSR project representatives, Monitoring Committee members and other participants were invited to explore, discuss and engage in knowledge transfer on topics such as renewable energy, circular economy and smart specialisation. After the interactive workshops, conference participants convened for a lovely dinner and networking session at the Lübeck City Hall.
The second day of the productive Interreg BSR Programme Conference 2019 began with breakout sessions on research infrastructure for innovation, business support, digitisation, sustainable urban mobility and more. In the final plenary session, the annual conference was closed by Elina Hakonen-Meddings, Deputy Head of Unit/ European Commission/ Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, alongside Jens Kurnol, Monitoring Committee Chairman 2019/ Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (Germany). The Smartup Accelerator project was represented in numerous networking sessions as well as relevant interactive workshops, which brought together various members of the Monitoring Committee, EU project lead partners & representatives and others involved in the Interreg BSR Programme.
During the conference, we explored the many interesting examples of what has been achieved through the program in fields such as sustainability and innovation. Until next year, Interreg BSR Programme Conference!