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Industrial Change Network (ICN)
Start date: May 31, 2003, End date: Dec 30, 2006 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The primary objective of ICN is the sustainable improvement of regional development and social cohesion both within and between regions in the enlarged Europe. By sharing experience and knowledge, the project partners will look for innovative solutions to assist in solving the challenges of industrial regions in change. The partnership also aims to ensure that new EU Member States benefit from experience already acquired in redeveloping such regions, particularly with the use of Objective 1 and 2 EU Structural Funds. Partners and their regions have access to a broad range of experience and best practices in five key areas: SME development; regeneration of industrial sites; innovation and technology management; human resources and social policy and implementation of EU Structural Funds. Achievements: Achievements so far The 'Industrial Change Network (ICN) ' (project term 01.06.2003 – 31.06.2006) was made up of 23 partners from 12 industrial European regions in change, including 4 new member state regions from CZ, PL and HU. Partners of ICN were intermediaries, local or regional administrations, regional management agencies, universities or private companies dealing with regional development. The main goal was to develop reliable and sustainable partnerships, to implement policies and tools for regional development and to approach cohesion. The project concentrated on 5 central and interrelated topics in regional economic development (SME Development, Human Resources and Social Policy, Regeneration of Industrial Sites, Innovation and Technology Management, Structural Funds Implementation) for each of which a working group was formed. The network met nine times altogether in the framework of project meetings, organized by every partner region in turn in intervals of approximately four months. During these project meetings, eight times five workshop sessions were implemented in the above-mentioned five topics. The workshops were platforms for the exchange of existing, inventing new strategies, tools and instruments and especially for having discussions on a very concrete level. As the main work in the project took place in the working groups, each of these had their own agenda and mission. But all five groups created toolkits, worked out a collection of good practice examples (programmes etc.) and organised twinnings (expert visits). The twinnings aimed at deepening specific problems or drafting a joint strategy. A lot of twinnings took place in the new member state regions where they helped solving special problems of these regions. The working group Human Resources, for instance, met in Hradec Králové/CZ in Oct. 04 at a period when the region was setting up its regional development plan. The tool 'Modern Apprenticeship' of West Midlands has been implemented there. The working group IT attempted to transfer approaches from one region to another (e.g. the Dutch benchmarking system BEVOS to NRW). The working group Regeneration carried out among others a twinning in Ostrava/CZ where problems of a brownfield site was analysed. The Czech partners got many new ideas in terms of possible usages of the site and financing and funding possibilities. Apart from twinnings and workshops, there also had been a 'Round-Table Meeting' on innovation support for SMEs in Brussels in October 2005. It was carried out among others by the working groups SME and IT and turned out to be a very fruitful event, since some solutions and support mechanisms could be found. The working group Structural Funds was most beneficial for the East European partners, who could gain valuable experience in Structural Funds Management. These are only some examples of the projects activities. Detailed information about the project is available on the ICN website:

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