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Redefining Peripherality


The NPA Annual Event 2021 will look at the recent developments in the Northern Periphery and Arctic, including the transformative changes triggered by the pandemic, and how they are addressed by the NPA projects and can be addressed in the future programme. 

The conference will be the opportunity to discuss how the perception of the periphery has changed and initiated or accelerated changes in e.g. ways of working, living and providing services. The benefits of cooperation across the Arctic and near-Arctic regions also emerged during the past period showing how the exchange of knowledge and expertise between the regions played a key role in building response capacity and preparedness for the future. 

Some of the questions NPA project partners, keynote speakers and participants will be addressing: 

  • What does the new periphery look like? 
  • What new opportunities are coming up?
  • What changes are needed to harness such opportunities?
  • To which quality of life in the periphery are we aspiring for the future? 

2021 also marks the transition between the NPA 2014-2020 programme, and the beginning of the next Interreg NPA 2021-2027 programme. The conference will not miss to look at the 2014-2020 achievements and introduce the vision and funding priorities of the new programme.  

The NPA Annual Event will broadcast from The Model, in Sligo, where the conference will hopefully take place in person for a local audience. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and following the recommendations of the Irish authorities, for this reason, registration to attend the conference in Sligo will open in September.


(All times indicative and in CET time)

13:00 -  Welcome words

  •  Welcome address from Minister Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform at the Department of public expenditure and reform in the Government of Ireland
  • Welcome words from Mr David Minton, Director of the Northern & Western Regional Assembly, Ireland

13:30 - Redefining Peripherality 

  • How has the NPA area changed since 2014? Observing the changes in the NPA area from 2014 until now and trends for the future based on the area analysis.
    Dr Irene McMaster, European Policy Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
  • Findings and Recommendations from the COVID-19 Response group projects
    Panel discussion between members of the COVID-19 response group:  
    • Dr Thomas Fisher, Lead partner of NPA project Covid & Economics, CoDel, Scotland
    • Prof Liam Glynn, Lead partner of NPA project COVIDWATCH EU, University of Limerick, Ireland
    • Prof. Joan Condell, Lead partner of NPA project TechSolns, University of Ulster 
    • Dr Anette Fosse, partner in NPA project COVIDWATCH EU, The Arctic University of Norway
  • Questions and Answers with Irene McMaster and the members of the panel.

14:30 - 15:00 Coffee Break


15:00 -  Networking Session, NPA projects solutions for a new periphery

Separate thematic sessions online and one session on site. Each of the sessions will look at a topic addressed by the NPA 2021-2027 and will discuss how future NPA projects can contribute to the objectives of the new programme, also taking into account the solutions developed by the projects carried out throughout 2014-2020.

To participate in the thematic sessions it is necessary to register for the online event.

  1. Innovation Capacity - How can NPA projects support the uptake of advanced technologies, reap the benefits of digitisation and enhance sustainable growth & competitiveness of SMEs?
    Hosted by the NPA project DISTINCT
  2. Climate change and resource sufficiency (online and physical) - How can NPA projects promote energy efficiency, climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention? How can they promote the transition to a circular and resource-efficient economy? 
    Hosted by the NPA project HUGE
  3. Natural and cultural heritage - How can NPA projects protect and develop wider territorial synergies through natural and cultural heritage?
    Hosted by the NPA project SPOT Lit

16:00 - Periphery and Arctic, a mutually beneficial cooperation 

  • The new EU Arctic Policy and the role of transnational cooperation
    Mr Michael Mann, EU Ambassador at Large for the Arctic, European Union External Action Services
  • The Irish Government’s Strategy for the Nordic Region
    Mr Ciarán Byrne, Deputy Director of EU Policy Division, Department of  Foreign Affairs, Ireland
  • The Network of Arctic Researchers in Ireland (NARI): Fostering opportunities for collaboration 
    Dr Audrey Morley, The President of the Network of Arctic Researchers in Ireland
  • Debate with the audience

16:30 - Looking ahead to the Interreg NPA 2021-2027 

  • The Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic 2021-2027
    Ms Kirsti Mijnhijmer, Head of Secretariat, Northern Periphery and Arctic programme
  • Questions and Answers

17:00 - Wrap up and closure




Start: October 27, 2021
12:00 PM
End: October 27, 2021
5:00 PM
Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme

The Model

The Mall
F91 TP20 Sligo

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