Cooperation in diversity in the Atlantic Area

Hi! I’m Laura and I have been working at Interreg Atlantic Area in Porto for a little over a month now. Even after this short amount of time, I have had the chance to learn extensively about cooperation and the role the European Union has in encouraging cross-border interventions. In my job as an Interreg reporter, I can spread the word on the many exciting projects Interreg supports.

Interreg Atlantic Area finances cooperation project in border regions of five countries, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, the UK and France, which collaborate on a variety of issues, from energy efficiency to innovation, from the protection of biodiversity to the management of territorial risks.

In the time I’ve been here, I have had the chance to get to know two of these projects very well, and I believe they are a sterling representation of the diverse impact that Interreg funding has on the territory.

The first project, Nanoculture, deals with nanotechnology. Small nanoparticles are increasingly used in industry because of their revolutionary potential in a variety of applications. The problem is that these nanoparticles often end up in aquatic ecosystems and contaminate the species who live there. The project aims to quantify the effect of these nanoparticles on seafood and to create sensors that can identify the presence of these toxins. The project held an introductory meeting with all the partners, which I had the opportunity to attend, at the headquarters of lead partner International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory in Braga, where cutting edge research is performed. The Lab is a Spanish-Portuguese collaboration and brings together researchers from every corner of the world.

The second project deals with historical heritage and the protection of World Heritage urban sites. Project AtlaS.WH brings together five World Heritage cities in Europe that share common challenges in an effort to find solutions to sustainability issues. Problems such as overcrowding, excess of tourists and climate change are increasingly putting pressure on the city centers and require immediate attention. Pooling resources is expected to facilitate the adoption of successful interventions and solutions to cope with the future's challenges. The cities of Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Bordeaux, Edinburgh and Florence hope that this project will help them cope with their own sustainability issues but also wish to create a framework of action for other World Heritage cities, extending the impact of this project way beyond the Atlantic Area.

This project, of which the Municipality of Porto is the lead partner, also hosted an event at Porto City Hall, where representatives from the Municipality and the society for urban regeneration Porto Vivo introduced the project, its work, and its objectives, followed by a guided tour of the Historical Center. The event coincided with the visit to Porto of the colleagues from Interreg North West Region, who were visiting from Lille for their annual teambuilding exercise. Atlantic Area hosted a networking session between the two groups, who also kicked off the three-day experience with a traditional Portuguese dinner!

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