A pioneering trans-national partnership programme is calling for project ideas in the Highlands and Islands which might be eligible for funding before the deadline of October 31.
The Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) 2007-2013 is one of several European Union funded programmes aimed at encouraging trans-national co-operation between the regions of Europe. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland, along with Dumfries and Galloway, are included in the area together with Northern Sweden, Northern Finland, North and West Norway, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, West Ireland and parts of Northern Ireland.
The new programme aims to help peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe to develop their economic, social and environmental potential. The programme has received a vote of confidence in the form of renewed funding worth 45 million euros to around 40 main projects over the next six years.
Project ideas from across the Highlands and Islands area have been helped during the previous round of funding 2000-2006. These include, ROADX II – an interactive road management project led by Highland Council and Community Learning Networks – a project led by UHI to address the issues of access to learning and rural depopulation.
The Northern Periphery Programme area shares many common features in terms of climate, sparsity of population, natural environment, complicated topography, culture and history. The overall aim of the programme is therefore to encourage joint projects that address the priorities for co-operation shared by the participating countries. Through the exchange of knowledge and experience it is anticipated that some of the barriers to a more balanced development of the area can be overcome.
An opportunity also exists to apply for preparatory project funding to help develop the main project idea and form trans-national partnerships.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is the regional contact point (RCP) for the Northern Periphery Programme in Scotland.
The website www.northernperiphery.eu provides all the basic information and documents on the programme.