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Cocreating knowledge on carbon-intensive regions in transition: EU Policy and Scientific approaches


The meeting is promoted by ENTRANCES, a Horizon 2020 project that aims to develop a deeper understanding of cross-cutting societal issues related to the “Clean Energy Transition” in 13 European coal and carbon-intensive regions.

The main objective of this co-creation meeting is to trigger and help drive dialogue to ensure that the future results of the ENTRANCES project can support EU policies, contribute to bridging the current knowledge gap, and produce policy recommendations to tackle the multiple challenges faced by communities in the European coal and carbon-intensive regions.

The co-creation meeting is divided into two sessions. In the morning session, discussion will be focused on the recent impacts of the EU policies and on the presentation of the ENTRANCES project. The afternoon session will be dedicated to exchange of experiences among European and International coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition and among different European research projects focused on these issues.

The co-creation meeting includes the participation of representatives of the European Commission, EU Coal Regions in Transitions Initiative, European and International coal and carbon-intensive regions, other related Horizon 2020 projects, and European researchers and academics.

The ENTRANCES project

The co-creation meeting will introduce the ENTRANCES project’s EU-level policy guidelines. An overview of the project’s perspective on coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition is provided below.

De-territorialisation and re-territorialisation

In the project’s view, in common with many other territories all over Europe (for instance shrinking cities, small islands, mountain regions, rural areas and border regions), coal and carbon-intensive regions are very vulnerable to globalisation and technological change. In such territories, megatrends such as digitisation, ageing populations, urbanisation, market globalisation, and, obviously, climate change and related policies, are found to be painful to the local communities as they can generate forms of de-territorialisation – the process of progressive weakening of the ties between a community and its territory. Regions dependent on fossil fuel-based industries and/or the extraction of fossil fuels themselves can find that the transition towards clean energy and a climate-neutral society is a further and powerful path towards de-territorialisation. At the same time, the transition toward carbon neutrality is a key opportunity to trigger re-territorialisation processes under which new vital links between the community and its territory can emerge.

The multiple dimensions of transition

ENTRANCES highlights how the transition of coal and carbon-intensive regions can be better understood by combining a plurality of dimensions that characterise the changing relationships between a community and its territory. These include those which are more system-oriented, such as the socio-economic, socio-ecological and socio-technical dimensions, and those which are more connected with citizens’ subjectivity, such as socio-political, socio-cultural and socio-psychological. Moreover, the project adopts a gender-sensitive perspective which is crosscutting for all these aspects. The ENTRANCES research unveils the different dimensions, including those which are often hidden or under-addressed, and provides evidence on how they relate to each other, across different geographical scales and socio- economic and cultural contexts in Europe. After conducting 13 regional case studies, ENTRANCES will develop a Multidimensional taxonomy of trajectories, challenges and coping strategies to describe the different situations of the European coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition.

EU policies for re-territorialisation

One of the goals of the project is to inform the EU strategies that aim to support the re- territorialisation process of coal and carbon-intensive regions. These EU strategies play an important role. They include both the EU Coal Regions in Transition Initiative, which has experimented in and fostered mutual learning across coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition, and other EU initiatives such as Smart Specialisation Strategy which are focused on regional and territorial development. In the ENTRANCES’ view, an improved understanding of the differentiated sets of de/re-territorialisation dynamics of these regions will contribute to delivering EU policies that are more able to foster the regions’ endogenous development and create virtuous relations across the different scales of territorial governance.

The co-creation process

The co-creation meeting is an opportunity for the ENTRANCES project to better connect with the EU policy agenda. This will help the project contribute to addressing the knowledge gap for supporting the re-territorialisation of regions and territories that risk being “left behind” in the transition towards clean energy. The meeting will collate input from different angles and stakeholders: EU policymakers, regional stakeholders, researchers of the ENTRANCES’ sister projects and members of the project’s scientific advisory board. The co-creation process is organised in the following steps, corresponding to different sessions of the meeting.


The opening will be dedicated to welcoming the participants and presenting the different institutions involved in the meeting. This opening is aimed at fostering an enabling environment for the co-creation work.

Morning Session

The background elements to help inform the co-creation work will be presented. This includes a presentation of the ENTRANCES approach, and of the strategy of EU Coal Regions in Transition Initiative and the knowledge gap. This session is also aimed at discussing the role of the EU in supporting coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition, and exploring the knowledge gap and identifying how the research can contribute to filling it. The session will collect the viewpoints of the EU policymakers from different DGs and inform the co-creation activities of the afternoon session.

Afternoon session

The discussion will be broadened to regional stakeholders – including European and International regions – and the researchers of the sister projects. The session will be centred on an exchange of experiences on the hidden dimensions of transition and how to address them, and the process through which to translate research results into ‘actionable’ policy recommendations at the EU level. The session will be held in three parallel rooms.


The inputs from the three rooms will be shared in plenary, and a wrap-up and conclusions from the co-creation process will be provided by Ricardo Garcia Mira (ENTRANCES Project Coordinator).

Outcomes and next steps

The outcomes of the meeting will be summarised in a note and circulated among the participants, and will be the basis for developing the project’s EU policy recommendations.

The meeting is the first step of an interactive process that foresees a cross-disciplinary co- creation meeting (Rome, April 2022), and 13 regional co-creation meetings (November 2022), aimed at co-creating targeted practical recommendations for the regions involved in the ENTRANCES project.


Chair Mr Esteban PELAYO – EURADA. ENTRANCES. “Welcome of participants”.
Introduction to ENTRANCES co-creation meeting.
Prof Ricardo GARCÍA – University of A Coruña. ENTRANCES.
EU policies for coal and carbon intensive regions.
Ms Aleksandra TOMCZAK – European Commission. Member of Cabinet of the Executive Vice President for European Green Deal Frans Timmermans
R&I social effects of decarbonisation.
Ms Manuela CONCONI – European Commission. Project Officer – CINEA.
EU Coal Regions in Transition Initiative: strategy and knowledge gap.
Dr Anna SOBCZAK – European Commission. DG ENER.
The ENTRANCES project approach.
Moderator: Mr Paul BAKER – Coal Regions in Transition Initiative.
Facilitator: Mr Markus OTTER – ZSI. ENTRANCES. 

Panel selection to co-create:
Dr Sander HAPPAERTS – European Commission. DG REGIO.
Dr Frank SIEBERN THOMAS – European Commission. DG EMPL.
Dr Gerd SCHÖNWÄLDER – European Commission. DG RTD.
Prof Glynis BREAKWELL – University of Bath.
Dr Robert POLLOCK – Coal Regions in Transition Initiative.
Ms Anke STOCK – WECF Women Engaged for a Common Future. ENTRANCES.
Chair Mr Esteban PELAYO – EURADA. ENTRANCES. “Introduction and guiding to rooms”.
Room 1
Moderator: Dr Elena DE LUCA. ENEA  

Mr Nkosinathi NKONYANE Mpumalanga Provincial Gov
Ms. Miłosława STĘPIEŃ Akcja Konin  

Room 2
Moderator: Mr Fabio FEUDO.K&I. 

Prof Andrei HOLMAN. UAIC.
Dr Yang XIU. Tsinghua University
Dr David TABARA – or – Mr Konstantin WINTER. GCF.
Ms. Katarzyna IWIŃSKA. Collegium Civitas 

Ms Anja Rhuleman. WECF
Room 3
Moderator: Prof Christian KLOCKNER. NTNU  

Prof Roberto SCHAEFFER University of Rio de Janeiro. CINTRAN project
Ms. Chiara SOLETTI. Climate Network

Synthesis of the input from the three rooms.
Ms Anja Rhuleman. WECF;

Prof Ricardo Garcia. University of A Coruña.
Room Splitting during the afternoon parallel sessions


Participants with role:
Moderator: Elena DE LUCA (ENEA);
Respondent: Prof Robert KNIPPSCHILD (IOER).
Speakers: Oliver HOLTEMÖELLER (IWH); Nkosinathi NKONYANE (Mpumalanga Provincial government); Rita MERGNER (WIP Munich) or Rainer JANSSEN (TRACER); Ms. Miłosława STĘPIEŃ (AKCJA KONIN).
Open discussion participants: Stefania BARCA (CES UC); John THØGERSEN (AU); Marika KUSHAN (WECF); Owen BROWN (EURADA), Giacomo FRISANCO (EURADA), Marta FDEZ.- PRIETO (Universidad de A Coruña), Emilia-Cornelia DUNCA (University of Petrosani), Gloria POPESCU (ISPE Proiectare si Consultanta), Francisco LUEIRO GARCIA (Asociación Ecologista ARCO IRIS).

Participants with role:
Moderator: Fabio FEUDO (K&I).
Respondent: Ms Anja Rhuleman (WECF)
Speakers: Andrei HOLMAN (UAIC); Yang XIU (Tsinghua University) David TABARA (GCF) / Konstantin WINTER (; Ms. Katarzyna IWIŃSKA (Collegium Civitas) (TBC).
Open discussion participants: David UZZELL (SURREY); Nora RÄTHZEL (UMU); Philip J. VERGRAGT (CLARKU); Laura NORRIS (CU); Nachatter SINGH (UDC); Rosa ESCAMILLA (EURADA), Esteban PELAYO (EURADA), Gabriele QUINTI (K&I), Sérgio FERREIRA ALVES (SPI), Simone ROSINI (DG Employment), Douglas THOMPSON (Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI)), Simona POPUSOI (Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi).

Participants with role:
Moderator: Christian KLOCKNER (NTNU).
Respondent: Dr Richard FILCAK (CSPS).
Speakers: Lidia GAWLIK (IGSMiE PAN); Roberto SCHAEFFER (UFRJ); Wolgang OBERGASSEL (Wuppertal Institut)/ Michaela ROELFES (CINTRAN); Chiara SOLETTI (Climate Network).
Open discussion participants: Beatriz CASADO (ICE); María Rosaria DI NUCCI (FU Berlin); José DONOSO ALONSO (UNEF); Tristam BARRETT (IOER); Anja RÜHLEMANN (WECF), Marta TEJERINA (EURADA), Ivana Rae ALMORA (EURADA), Nuno CAETANO (SPI), Natalia DEJEAN (WECF France), Francisco REY VIZOSO (Universidad de A Coruña), Jasmina MANDIC LUKIC (Energoprojekt Entel).

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