East Midlands still alive and kicking

The Tory-led Government may have closed down regional development agencies, but co-operation between universities, councils, industry and other regional partners still continues.    Despite the difficulties caused by the loss of EMDA (East Midlands Development Agency) as well as its Brussels based office, the East Midlands is still alive and kicking.

And its organisations from our region which are leading a major new £2.4m European project which could help establish the East Midlands as an international leader in traffic management research.

THE ISSUE (transport health environment intelligent solutions sustaining urban economies) is aimed at delivering green traffic management systems in European cities and towns.

The project will support scientists and engineers from the different regions involved (two from France and one each from Italy and Poland, in addition to the East Midlands) to work together, using the latest space and information technologies, to develop more effective methods of easing road congestion and improving the urban environment.

Funding for THE ISSUE will come from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).  “Regions of Knowledge” promotes knowledge exchange and joint working between European regions to stimulate economic growth and job creation.

The Framework Programmes for research and development (FP8 will take over in 2013) are one of the best kept secrets of the European Union.   It’s a great pity they receive such little publicity because substantial amounts of money over the years have gone into research and development, shared across the regions of the EU, to the benefit of us all.   Universities are particularly adept at accessing these funds, but so are other research establishments, as well as a number of private firms and other organisations.

It can take a while to get your head around the vast array of really worthwhile projects funded with EU money, but have a look at the Cordis website to see just how many organisations, across a wide range of sectors, are making the most of opportunities in Europe.   This is vital work, enabling our industries, whether in Nottingham or Nantes, Derby or Danzig, Leicester or Lisbon, to keep ahead of the game.

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