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University of Ulster launches new BORDER project to support regional development in Ireland

Advanced telecommunications services and geographic information systems (GIS) form the basis of BORDER, a new EU-funded project in Ireland designed to provide information in support of economic development on the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The BORDER project - "Bu...
Advanced telecommunications services and geographic information systems (GIS) form the basis of BORDER, a new EU-funded project in Ireland designed to provide information in support of economic development on the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The BORDER project - "Business Opportunities for Regional Development and Economic Regeneration" is funded under the INTERREG II initiative part of the EU's Structural Funds which supports cooperation between regions in neighbouring countries.

BORDER will provide information to organizations such as development agencies, local government, enterprise groups and inward investors. According to joint coordinator, Dr. Gerard Parr, it will cover "a wide range of development initiatives such as local planning issues, development and promotion of cross-border trade networks, cooperation in tourism and the facilitation of local economic action plans." Mr. Adam Ingram, Northern Ireland's Economic Development Minister, sees the project as "a clear example of partnership in action, which seeks to harness modern technology to ensure everyone in the community can share in a prosperous future." Mr. Charlie McCreevy, Irish Finance Minister, also welcomed the project, saying that it "demonstrated the value of cooperation and people pooling their expertise and skills." The BORDER project will establish and maintain a multimedia database of data relevant to economic development opportunities and regional planning, which can be accessed easily by all associated partners. Joint project director, Dr. Adrian Moore, states that, "GIS and associated multimedia technologies will provide the basis for user access, supported by advanced telecommunications. The aim is to establish a user-friendly environment to permit the retrieval, integration and processing of a variety of datasets and related information." The project is administered jointly by the Northern Ireland Department for Economic Development (in Belfast), and the Irish Department of Finance (in Dublin). The project leader is the University of Ulster at Coleraine, whilst other partners are the Local Government Computer Services Board (Dublin), Colin Stutt Consulting (Northern Ireland), and Connect Ireland (Dublin). In this first phase, due to last 18 months, the project will have a budget of £900,000. The second phase which will get under way in the new millennium should have a budget of £3 million in total.

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