What the programme finances
Priority 1 – A smarter Danube Region - A smarter Danube Region
Specific objective 1.1
Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies
- Improving transnational cooperation to support joint technology generation, uptake and upscaling in the following fields: nanotechnologies, advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and processing (production technologies) and health industry (establishing joint medicine research clusters/centres, usage of digitalization and artificial intelligence in medicine/health care, analysing big data sets in medicine, biotechnology).
- Support for transnational uptake of technologies alongside thematic value chains: specialisation in transnational Danube Region clusters for emerging industries, support for a higher level and new forms of collaboration within the quadruple helix to encourage co-inventions and innovation cooperation as well.
- Support for transnational circular economy collaboration forms, harmonisation of related policies and uptake of technologies in specific related domains (e. g. electronics and ICT batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textiles, construction and buildings, food and nutrients).
- Support for technology generation and uptake of related technologies regarding smart, sustainable and green transport technologies and networks, as well as e-mobility solutions in relation to transnational transport networks and transboundary functional urban areas.
- Support for the uptake of advanced technologies in relation to smart infrastructure in Danube Region cities: integration of smart cities and smart regions solutions in the planning, management and development of the Danube Region cities and regions
Specific objective 1.2
Developing skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship
- Enhancing cooperation related to entrepreneurial skills in advanced technologies, industries of high Danube Region importance (i. e. owing to social impacts, market needs) to better combine existing capacities and competences;
- Building cooperation structures to obtain innovation capacity needed to be competitive at regional and EU level, identify niches within the EU market and become attractive as a partner within the Danube Region or towards other EU regions;
- Establishing platforms enabling transfer of knowledge and skills and building inter‐regional synergies for the development of regional smart specialisation strategies and policies with a special focus on the involvement of entrepreneurial actors and existing networks in discovering and exploiting promising areas of specialisation;
- Setting up and piloting measures for regions allowing for exchange of experience on implementation of smart specialisation strategies, e.g., networking of regions specialised in the field of industry 4.0 and related professional skills, support for related knowledge exchange between model regions and regions lagging behind in terms of elaborating and implementing industry 4.0 planning schemes
Priority 2 – A greener, low carbon Danube Region - A greener, low-carbon Danube Region
Specific objective 2.1
Promoting renewable energy in accordance with directive (EU) 2018/2001, including the sustainable criteria set out therein
- Strategy making and policy support in reaching low-carbon energy production and supporting the decrease of energy dependency in countries and regions most dependent on fossil fuels and resources from external (non-macro-regional) energy markets.
- Capacity building for sustainable energy planning especially in regions with high share of non-RES energy production or consumption.
- Support for harmonised actions and transnational cooperation in the buildings’ heating and cooling sector (e. g. decreasing carbon intensity in heating, RES integration in building sector combining it with storage and charging solution systems for e-mobility) with special attention to countries and regions with outstanding shares in energy consumption of the heating and cooling sector.
- Reduction of GHG emissions in the transport sector: introduction of alternative fuels and new technologies (e. g. electric vehicles) in transportation and innovative mobility solutions, support the shift towards environmentally friendly means of transportation, especially in public transport and freight transport, coordination between energy providers in relation to infrastructure elements of Danube Region relevance.
- Joint planning of infrastructure for the utilisation of renewable energy sources with the facilitation of knowledge exchange between regions of the lowest and the highest share of RES in the energy mix.
- Development of incentive policies to encourage the renewable energy production based on the Danube Region available resources.
Specific objective 2.2
Promoting climate change adaptation capacities in the Danube Region and disaster management on transnational level in relation to environmental risks, taking into account ecosystem-based approaches
- Harmonised, joint solutions and measures for climate change modelling, forecasting and vulnerability assessment on Danube Region / River Basin scale ensuring their application at policy and, or operational level.
- Integration of new research results into climate change adaptation practice for different types of territories in targeted thematic fields (e. g. floods, droughts) and improving skills and competences for policy makers and stakeholders.
- Coordinated, harmonised efforts on transnational river(basin) scale to prevent flood risks, or drought, including application of nature-based solutions (exploring the potentials of floodplain restoration measures can fit SO 2.2, if specifically focusing on flood management).
- Harmonised, joint planning, monitoring and alert systems, accident hot-spot inventories on industrial, mining and contaminated sites, improving operational cooperation, interoperability, institutional and technical capacities of emergency response authorities and non-governmental organisations to combat environmental risks, such as flood, drought or accidental pollution of transboundary river(-basin)s, or wildfires and climate-change related other disasters.
- Developing and implementing regional level climate change, environmental risks related disaster preparedness activities and establish standardised minimum requirements for disaster responders to achieve better and more effective transnational disaster response in the region.
Specific objective 2.3
Sustainable, integrated, transnational water and sediment management in the Danube River Basin ensuring good quality and quantity of waters and sediment balance
- Ensuring harmonised data availability by more effective monitoring and modelling systems for improving transnational water management measures.
- Strengthening institutional, management and technical capacity to prevent and mitigate water pollution or to restore good quality of water with special regard to hazardous and emerging substances pollution, agriculture and waste water management, taking also into account the possible impacts of climate change on the quality of water.
- Improving sediment balance and related morphodynamics, or exploring the potentials of reconnection of adjacent floodplains / wetlands in order to improve water quality, in transnational water bodies.
- Developing harmonised, joint monitoring and modelling sytem(s) in order to better understand the transboundary groundwater systems of Danube River Basin.
- Defining joint strategies and harmonised measures, elaborating and adopting innovative solutions in relation to water exploitation and protection ensuring balanced use of water, taking also into account the impacts of climate change for future water demand.
- Ensuring harmonised data availability, adaptation of integrated strategies, plans and solutions in connection to climate change induced increase of low water periods on the main transnational rivers of DRB, affecting sediment transport, navigation, hydropower management and the ecosystem.
Specific objective 2.4
Protecting and preserving the biodiversity in ecological corridors and eco-regions of transnational relevance in the Danube Region
- Harmonised, joint efforts to improve, restore, manage and monitor ecological connectivity along transnationally relevant ecological corridors, including examination of the potentials of green and blue infrastructure developments and solutions for effective defragmentation.
- Actions in revitalisation and rehabilitation of water habitats along major transnational river (systems), exploring the potentials of restoration and reconnection of floodplains, wetlands and their adjacent areas.
- Establishing (institutionalised) management and cooperation network(s) of ‘Danubian’ transboundary ecological regions, harmonised management strategies and solutions, conservation and preservation techniques, toolkits ensuring also sustainable use of natural resources.
- Increasing the resilience of habitats and ecosystems of transboundary ecological regions and their ability to adapt to climate change impacts by development of eco-friendly land use systems, landscape management and soil protection and restoration measures.
- Coordinated, joint solutions in prevention and control of IAS and management of their priority pathways.
- Joint and harmonised development and implementation of transnational monitoring, conservation and restoration and management plans for endangered umbrella species (e. g. sturgeons, large carnivores) of the Danube Region.
Priority 3 – A more social Danube Region - A more social Danube Region
Specific objective 3.1
Accessible, inclusive and effective labour markets
- Joint coordination of policies and planning aimed at integrating disadvantaged groups (elderly people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, rural people, women, youth, etc.) to support inclusive employment in regions that display high proportions of disadvantaged populace;
- Support for designing innovative policies and planning to retain skilled labour and a more sustainable migration of educated people (e. g. by introducing transnational study and RDI programmes, promoting innovative employment schemes suitable for the needs of the tertiary educated living in rural regions or regions significantly affected by this type of migration);
- Creation of an information system and support for the provision of information and data about life events connected to periodic and permanent migration of workforce, caused by labour market inequalities; between the eastern and the western parts of the macro region;
- Coordinated policies and strategies to tackle active ageing (e. g. by social entrepreneurship) in regions and cities of the macro region affected by a high level of ageing;
- Developing cooperation and innovative planning between bodies responsible for labour market integration and the private sector towards enhancing the inclusion of the disabled in the labour market;
- Build-up of a “Danube observatory system” about labour migration and its impacts on cohesion; involving public bodies responsible for monitoring & evaluation, academia and civil society;
- Developing models to explore and demonstrate the effectiveness of remote working towards developing employment inclusiveness and meeting regional, social and economic goals;
- Restructuring and diversification of employment by the implementation of territorially integrated action plans for employment with a special focus on enhancing the spreading of innovative structures targeting mono-functional (e. g. agricultural, industrial) regions. This could include green jobs development.
Specific objective 3.2
Accessible and inclusive quality services in education, training and lifelong learning
- Development of joint innovative educational models, programs, practical tools and materials to support inclusive education for disadvantaged learners.The expected approach to develop on from model regions within the Danube region and with mutual learning developed from pilot regions;
- Developing best practices in education policy, gathering and disseminiating kowledge and advancing education and policy reforms at the national and regional level across the Danube Region;
- Establishment or development of existing scientific and educational networks to combat brain drain, whereby educated and skilled individuals leave regions for better prospects. Networks should bring existing knowledge and research together and develop concrete outputs;
- Innovative digital and remote education with e-solutions to mitigate rural disadvantage, provide employment related training and combat brain drain;
- Knowledge exchange and the sharing of experience in elaborating and developing inclusive vocational education and training models and systems. This should lead to concrete outputs e.g. the development of work based training schemes which better support relevant skills development to match the needs of the labour market.
Specific objective 3.3
Enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism in economic development, social inclusion and social innovation
- Improving the accessibility of tourism and culture infrastructure, products and services for vulnerable groups, such as minorities, people with disabilities, the elderly and youth in regions with low levels of accessibility and high levels of vulnerable groups;
- Valorisation of joint natural and cultural heritage and cultural activities through the elaboration of new or improved thematic initiatives for example cultural, hiking, cycling or other thematic routes and initiatives across the macro-region with a special focus on rural or less visited areas;
- Capacity building and development of innovative models for community-based tourism to better secure the engagement of host communities by involving them in the planning, management and implementation tourism development in their respective regions;
- Capacity building in social innovation to better support valorisation of joint cultural and natural heritage, in particular for tourism and their heritage management schemes (study, collection, preservation, digitalization, exhibition and re-interpretation of joint tangible and intangible elements);
- Promoting quality products, services and transnational infrastructure in the tourism and culture sector to support the social inclusion of disadvantaged people via new employment forms and job opportunities. This especially in relation to regions with a high share of ethnic minorities and areas with a large share of population at risk of poverty including the youth, elderly or disabled;
- Promote sustainable and slow tourism concepts, planning methodologies, model regions, and management tools in the Danube Region, in regions of mass tourism as well as in regions having a weakly developed tourism sector. Actions should promote and safeguard employability and employment possibilities to vulnerable groups of host communities, and capitalise on EUSDR projects in the interconnected areas of culture, nature and tourism.
Priority 4 – A better cooperation governance in Danube Region - Increased institutional capacities for territorial and macroregional governance
Specific objective 4.2
Increased institutional capacities for territorial and macro-regional governance
- Integrated governance models for addressing challenges arising from demographic change (e. g. aging, depopulation, brain drain);
- Integrated urban-rural governance models including specific territorial development strategies for rural/remote areas as well as accessibility aspects and transport bottlenecks;
- Support for more and stronger inter-institutional relations for the integrated development of transboundary functional areas;
- Capacity building considering especially a better involvement of local and regional public bodies as well as civic actors in transnational policy making, territorial development frameworks and governance models;
- Support for the monitoring and analysis of territorial processes affecting the cohesion and cooperation of the Danube Region to assist capacity building and institutional capacity.