Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Pilot scheme aiming at integrating the concept of the information society into the regional development policies of less favoured regions, 1995-1999

Programme funding

EUR 20 million
To introduce the concept of the information society into the regional development policies of the less developed regions of the European Union.


The cooperation programme for the information society is established in response to the Commission's demands, as articulated in its White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment and in the Bangemann report on "Europe and the Global Information Society", to take full account of the challenges posed by the information society.

Under Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regulation and Article 6 of the European Social Fund (ESF), the ERDF and ESF may contribute to innovative actions in regional development through pilot schemes which encourage the pooling of experience and the development of cooperation between different Community regions and innovative measures.

Such pilot schemes should have an innovative character (provide an extra value added to existing or previous actions in a particular region) and a European 'networking' dimension (maximizing the European dimension through the promotion of inter-regional collaboration and partnership). They should further aim at achieving employment intensive growth, reinforcing training systems and creating strong potential for demonstration effects for other regions (contribute to a more efficient use of Structural Funds for regional development in eligible regions by diffusing best practice).

For the period 1995-1999, the translation of the Information Society concept into real life in the regions has been identified as one of the priority areas for pilot actions under Article 10 of the ERDF and Article 6 of the ESF. In this respect, the aim of the present programme of actions is to promote the integration of the emerging information society into the regional development policies of the less developed regions of the European Union, notably through:

- Demonstration of innovative applications and services;
- A high stimulation of user involvement;
- Diffusion of best practice, in particular for the less favoured regions of the European Union.

The programme of actions follows an approach based on the following specific aims:

- To promote and assist partnerships among key regional actors, public and private, in shaping the information society in a way that it may contribute to employment, quality of life, sustainable regional development and socio-economic cohesion in the regions;
- To assist key regional actors in overcoming barriers in building partnerships, establishing a commitment and developing an integrated information society strategy for the less favoured regions;
- To provide a basis for better using existing regional, national and European resources, notably the support provided under the Structural Funds.


Two fields of action:

- Strategy and action for the development of an Information Society in the less-developed regions through partnerships between public and private actors in the regions. Activities are focused on:
. Developing a consensus on a regional strategy which is capable of meeting the challenges and opportunities of the information society;
. Promoting the involvement and cooperation of actors through an action plan that is likely to contribute to economic development and employment in the regions concerned, including an evaluation of the feasibility of their application;

- Pilot projects demonstrating best practice in regional development through Information Society applications. This includes preparing for the establishment and launch of innovative applications based on information and communication technologies (ICT), notably those which focus on job creation in new economic sectors and on sufficient training in less-developed regions. Priority is given to those sectors believed to have a particularly strong economic regional development potential.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, which is established under Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Article 6 of the European Social Fund (ESF).

Actions under the programme are funded from a budget of ECU 20 million, ECU 15 million of which comes from the European Regional development Fund (ERDF) and the remaining ECU 5 million from the European Social Fund (ESF).

The method proposed for implementing the programme is based on two fields of action: to develop a regional partnership for the elaboration of a regional Information Society strategy, and to launch pilot applications. The latter should be used for demonstrating best practice in the regional deployment of the information society and thus for an effective use of public and private resources. A complementary line is to be implemented in order to promote the valorization and diffusion of the results of activities linked to both the above fields of action.

For the strategy and regional information action plan, Community financial assistance covers up to 50% of the costs of activities, with a ceiling of ECU 250,000 per region. For the pilot projects, the Community's financial contribution also covers up to 50% of the costs, including the detailed development of the project. Between ECU 1-3 million is available for each project. The duration of the projects is expected to be between 18 and 24 months.

Projects are to be selected on the basis of a call for proposals (covering the two fields of action detailed in the "Subdivisions" section of this record), which is to be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities before the end of September 1995.

More precise details concerning the selection criteria for projects will accompany this call for proposals.
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