Executive Summary
Make your own book

Achievements of the IIIB North Sea Programme
Projects 2000-2006
THEME 5 Making Use of Innovation and Knowledge
ICTs for SMEs

Today, and even more in the future, knowledge-based societies will need the innovation technologies that are a decisive factor in determining the levels of regional competitiveness in the North Sea Region. Innovation, together with access to information and communications infrastructure, have a particular interest and significance for areas that are experiencing the challenges of economic restructuring and, or, lie in peripheral locations. That interest and significance is the opportunity for economic development. The success of small and medium enterprises is dependant on two key factors: first their accessibility via modern communications technology, and secondly, their capacity to use them. Both of these factors are vital preconditions for SMEs to operate innovatively and to acquire the competitive edge that will ensure success.

The promotion of the ‘Information Society’ produces benefits in terms of raising efficiency and it has the potential to deliver significant social benefit. It can do this by the promotion of new mechanisms of service delivery, particularly through e-services.

Innovation in this context is about the introduction and commercialisation of new or improved products or processes and it applies to all sectors of the economy. Closely, allied to innovation, is the key concept of sustainability, particularly relating to renewable energies and transport. The main challenges for the North Sea Region include the environmental consequences of the continued use of fossil fuels with the concomitant risk of major pollution. Additionally, woven into the fabric of concern about these challenges are important economic considerations. It flows from this that there is a clear need for research and development in order to provide knowledge and innovation in renewable energies and sustainable transport with a view to the maintenance of strong regional competitiveness.

Key features Main achievements and outcomes
Participation in civil society
improving access to government through ICT
promoting of eParticipation and eDemocracy
enhancing e-services and innovative planning tools
increasing ability of local municipalities to deliver services to citizens, businesses, as well other local authorities
knowledge management system for the integration and interpretation of a large set of previously non-integrated systems and services
data infrastructure relating to labour and educational statistics
making new and innovative services by combining natural history cultural and heritage based-information available for tourists

Economic development through improved ICT
increasing the accessibility of broadband internet in rural regions
educating the population about the use of ICT
strengthen spatial and structural ICT measures
creating an industrial zone by wireless broadband
broadband implementation with a view to stimulating regional development
initiation of e-courses for teacher training

More efficient transport and harbour management
database on international freight flows in the NSR
proposals for optimal and alternative fright routes in the NSR
training programme in the form of an e-learning module
calculation tool for estimating maritime emissions
case study to identify spatial and environmental barriers to intermodal transport
common decision-supporting tool to facilitate sustainable management of marine environments

Renewable energy initiatives
exploring possible future viable and renewable energy sources
enlarge the use of biomass for energy production through trials on how to use biomass and biogas and thereby enabling farmers to diversify activities
improvement of facilities and opportunities for research
stimulating innovation amongst companies, products and tools


Innovation: test drive GIS for Planning (LOG-IN project)
The North Sea
Region Programme Secretariat
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