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Coordinator’s words

We reached the end of the project and our final milestones with the planned objectives well met. This is fantastic. For many of you, this work has been another step in your research career. Others may have had one of their first international research experiences, which will enrich the following ones. It's true that there are still some important tasks to cross off the to-do list. We are still working on the last tasks associated with the last work packages, which we will finalize before officially reaching the end of the project.
After the review of the project and its results by CINEA, we still have important steps to take: The communication of the results in our networks and scientific journals and the transfer of results to society. Without a doubt, this will not be a difficult task to do. This consortium has worked with great challenges ahead and has done very effective work. Good job by everyone!
Perhaps it can serve as a basis for the improvement of the territories studied, or also for the incorporation of the main lessons learned in future proposals. There is now an opportunity to reflect on what went well and what can be improved in a later project. ENTRANCES has allowed us to share learning within an interdisciplinary framework, something that was important for everyone. It has allowed us not only to reach the end of our schedule, but also to visualize the conclusion of practically all deliverables. Our budget has hit rock bottom too, and that leaves us with new challenges ahead.
The final conference has shown that we have not missed any essential steps and the feedback provided by the Commission through the general directorates represented there has shown that our results have been well received, and are of interest to the Commission and its de-carbonisation policies in coal and carbon-intensive territories.
We will gather our results in a final report, which will summarize what has been most relevant and is of interest for the future. We have already established synchronization with our partners, but also with the leaders of other sister projects. The final report will make our efforts and achievements known, as well as the extent to which our achievements and performance have been consistent in relation to the project objectives.
We celebrate the success of the entire consortium. In this sense, I want to show my gratitude to all of you who have worked and become involved in this very solid collaborative project. I hope it serves as encouragement for your future projects. Our next steps will follow this same style of collaboration and we will count on you and your expertise, for the good dose of quality and responsibility to the entire consortium

ENTRANCES Final Conference

The EU funded ENTRANCES project recently culminated in its Final Conference held on September 5th and 6th 2023 in Brussels. Over the course of one and a half days, this conference served as a platform for unveiling the principal discoveries of the ENTRANCES project, with a particular focus on addressing the significant challenges associated with the energy transition. This transition is particularly pertinent in thirteen regions across nine EU and associated countries that have traditionally relied on coal mining and carbon-intensive practices.

Distinguished policy makers and local experts actively participated in thought-provoking discussions, delving into policy and practical recommendations at both the EU and regional levels. The conference aimed to foster dialogue and collaboration, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and informed approach to the ongoing energy transition in these critical regions.

Highlights of the Opening Session

Ricardo Garcia Mira, ENTRANCES project coordinator, opened the session and reminded all about Entrances objectives of “exploring the social aspects of the energy transition in 13 coal and carbon-intensive regions in Europe”. Specifically, Ricardo highlighted that Entrances looks at “two theoretical processes focused on the deterritorialization which was identified as the disconnection between the territory and communities and introduce the key dimensions to help policy making to link the territory and communities”.

Manuela Jane Conconi, Project Officer of CINEA, congratulated the project coordinator and the entire consortium for the work that has been done: “13 case studies on top of the pandemic were really a challenge. But you managed to do all of them in different parts of Europe that is the success of the project. ENTRANCES will not be ended today. But it will continue into the research work that would be done in the future by other researchers. “

“ENTRANCES project is building topics and knowledge that are extremely important and crucial to make our policies success.” Sander Happaerts, Policy Coordinator of the Just Transition Fund – DG Region, emphasized the project's significance for policymakers across Europe: “The case studies in different regions across Europe are also very important, especially for DG Region, to involve the local universities, research centres, educational centres and the policymakers who are the ownership of the transition.”

Fabio Domanico, Deputy Head of Unit – Fair Green and Digital Transition, highlighted how the ENTRANCES project effectively provided evidence on the ground. This evidence addressed not only economic and employment aspects but also social policy considerations in the study regions. He stressed that such evidence is instrumental in preparing for, implementing, and designing policies that ensure the right strategies are in place.

Mags Bird from the WWF European Policy Office extended her congratulations on the occasion of completing the project. She commended the consortium for sharing solid, interesting, and meaningful results with the audience.

The opening session came to a fulfilling conclusion as Nachatter Singh, from the University of A Coruña (UDC), stepped forward to provide a comprehensive overview of the ENTRANCES project. Nachatter Singh eloquently summarized the journey and accomplishments of ENTRANCES, shedding light on its transformative impact across coal and carbon-intensive regions in Europe and highlighted all the deliverables developed during the implementation of the ENTRANCES project. He then took on the role of coordinating the final conference proceedings.

Highlights of Session I: Factors of change, challenges and coping strategies in different coal and carbon intensive regions (CCIRs) in transition.

Oliver Holtemöller from the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) began by stressing the importance of recognizing that not all regions face identical challenges simultaneously during the green transition. Demographics, such as older populations in these regions compared to the EU average, have significant implications for managing future changes. He emphasized the need to engage and involve people in the process, focusing on creating ownership and explaining the transition's necessity. Challenges related to energy prices and threats to energy stability, amplified by recent geopolitical events, were discussed. The pandemic further complicated economic development, making the green transition an additional challenge.

Highlights of Session II: De-/re-territorialisation dynamics associated with CET in different CCIRs.

Giovanni Caiati from Knowledge and Innovation (K&I) emphasized understanding the intricacies of energy transition in coal and carbon-intensive regions is essential. These areas experience both energy transition and territorial transition, each with its distinct dynamics.

Differentiating Energy and Territorial Transition: Energy transition involves moving towards cleaner energy sources, while territorial transition focuses on reorganizing regions from one model to another. These two transitions, though interconnected, require separate considerations.

Impact on Local Economies and Society: The clean energy transition is just one facet of broader transformations occurring in these regions. Territorial dynamics, identity, and local governance play significant roles. Successful adaptation to the socioeconomic costs of transition can lessen residents' intentions to relocate, strengthening the bond between the community and the region.

Challenges in Clean Energy Transition: Challenges emerge when clean energy projects are not integrated into a broader territorial transition plan. Initiatives solely focused on clean energy, without considering the region's overall transformation, may face resistance from local communities.

Territorial Complexity: Territory serves both functional and expressive functions. It provides for livelihoods and shapes identities. Therefore, understanding the territorial dimension is crucial for fostering successful transitions and inclusive development in these regions.

In conclusion, recognizing the interplay between energy and territorial transition is key. Aligning these transitions can lead to more sustainable and prosperous futures for coal and carbon-intensive regions.

Highlights of Session III: Gender dimension of decarbonisation, energy transition and regional development in CCIRs.

Marcela Noreña Ospina from Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) stressed the importance of acknowledging the differential impact of decarbonization and clean energy processes on men and women. For instance, in the labour market, the impact is direct on men due to their dominance in the energy sector. However, women are also affected as they often work in sectors related to the coal and carbon-intensive industry's value chain.

Furthermore, emerging sectors like tourism and services will require new skills, presenting an opportunity to bridge gender inequalities and provide equal opportunities.

Participation and representation are equally vital. Decision-making spaces tend to be male-dominated, leading to underrepresentation of women. To ensure a fair transition for all, it's essential to amplify the voices of women and marginalized groups, fostering inclusive social dialogue.

In conclusion, addressing these gender-related factors is essential for achieving a just and equitable clean energy transition and decarbonization process.

Highlights of Session IV: Is this transition a “Just Transition”? (in collaboration with Sister projects).

Christian A. Klöckner from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) discussed the significance of the “Just Transition” concept for coal and carbon-intensive regions. The concept of a “Just Transition” holds immense significance as coal and carbon-intensive regions navigate their way toward sustainability. While it's a prominent concern for the European Commission and local governments, defining what constitutes a “Just Transition” can be complex.

In this context, the projects involved in the ENTRANCES initiative and its sister projects play a crucial role. They delve into the multifaceted dimensions of justice, providing insights on what justice means for various stakeholders in these regions. These projects aim to shed light on how to ensure that the transition minimizes losses for those involved while fostering a more equitable and sustainable future.

Session V: Bridging research and policy for a just transition in CCIRs: Policy and Practical Recommendations.

Ensuring a “Just Transition” in carbon-intensive regions requires a multifaceted approach. Manfred Spiesberger from Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) highlighted key recommendations from research and co-creation workshops:

• Stimulating Innovation: Encourage innovation in economic activities, especially in coal regions undergoing economic phase-outs. Exploring new employment opportunities and income sources is vital.

• Gender Inclusivity: Address gender pay gaps by actively promoting female participation in technical roles and industries.

• Support for Vulnerable Groups: Ensure that vulnerable and economically disadvantaged groups receive adequate support. They should not bear the financial burden of the energy transition, as there is support available for green initiatives like solar panels and electric vehicles.

To bridge the gap between research insights and effective policy implementation, a multi-pronged strategy is essential. We are already taking steps to disseminate our findings widely through policy briefs, website publications, and engagement with policymakers. However, we recognize the need to go beyond conventional approaches:

• Engage Policymakers: Collaborate with policymakers at both the European and national levels, including relevant Directorate Generals, to convey research outcomes and recommendations.

• Direct Citizen Engagement: Connect directly with citizens through community meetings, local markets, and grassroots events. These interactions provide valuable insights and help citizens understand the implications of the energy transition.

• Local Press and Media: Utilize local media outlets to communicate research findings, recommendations, and their impact on the community.

In summary, bridging the policy gap requires a proactive and inclusive approach that involves citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders at all levels. By disseminating our research effectively and engaging with communities, we can work collectively towards a 'Just Transition' that benefits everyone.

Highlights of Closing Session

Ricardo García Mira, the coordinator of ENTRANCES project, summarized the conference’s key takeaways, emphasizing the need for cooperation between multiple disciplines, policymakers, experts in policy communication, and citizen engagement to achieve the real transformation of territory and quality of life in the region.

Andrei Holman from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași (UAIC) presented the ENTRANCES project's findings, highlighting the research journey of ENTRANCES project into coal and carbon-intensive regions unveiled pivotal insights:

1. Socioeconomic Adaptation Matters: Regions successfully adapting to transition have fewer residents intending to relocate, indicating a positive correlation between adaptation and population retention.

2. Place Identity's Impact: Stronger place identity weakens the influence of economic factors on residents' intentions to relocate. Personal identity and economic considerations are intertwined.

3. Nostalgia's Role: Nostalgia for the mining era hinders optimism about future prospects and resilience to decarbonization. Its impact varies across regions. In summary, the findings emphasize the significance of fostering a sense of belonging and optimism about the future alongside economic opportunities to ensure the long-term sustainability of these regions amidst energy transition.


ENTRANCES project coordinator, Professor Ricardo García Mira, was one of the speakers in the Policy Conference of the RRI-Leaders Consortium, which took place at the European Committee of the Regions of the EU last October 19th. It was a great pleasure for ENTRANCES to be invitated to participate in this event, which is resulting in the generation of very exciting synergies, regarding the role of territories in the definition of research strategies and responsible innovation.

Research and innovation policies must be responsible, in the sense of allowing the responsible contribution of the territories, with all their potential, local/regional politicians, industry, universities, media... at the risk of making policies that later serve no purpose and for no one. Only a development that has the knowledge generated at the local level can add prospects for success. The EU and its members must promote regulatory changes that guarantee the participation of society and the decentralization of decision-making.

Find ENTRANCES deliverables here:
ENTRANCES project will reach its conclusion by the end of October 2023. As we wrap up this remarkable journey, we want to ensure that the wealth of knowledge and insights generated throughout the project remain accessible to all interested parties. To this end, we invite you to explore our project deliverables, which encompass a wide array of valuable resources, on our dedicated webpage. You can find these deliverables by visiting

We hope that these resources continue to serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for those committed to advancing the cause of sustainable energy transitions.

Together with CINTRAN, TRACER and Tipping Plus, ENTRANCES is a member of a cluster of EU-funded Research and Innovation projects on regional Energy Transitions research. With similar aims and objectives, all four projects will contribute to the achievement of “European-level Clean Energy Transition” individually and as a whole with optimised impacts.

CINTRAN ( or “Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition – Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change” will study the structural changes of decarbonisation in order to find ways to minimise the risks. The researchers will combine quantitative model-based research with qualitative in-depth analysis. The qualitative research will focus on four highly fossil-fuel dependent regions: Western Macedonia (Greece), Silesia (Poland), Ida-Virumaa (Estonia) and the Rhenish mining area (Germany).

TRACER ( finished late 2022, supported nine coal-intensive regions around Europe to design (or re-design) their Research and Innovation (R&I) strategies in order to facilitate their transition towards a sustainable energy system. Six of the nine European regions involved are from EU Members States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania), and three from outside the EU (Serbia, Ukraine, UK), but with the same challenges and considerations as the EU Member States ones.

Tipping Plus ( intends to advance the scientific understanding of the critical concept of Social-Ecological Tipping Points (SETPs) to support successful clean-energy transitions in Coal and Carbon Intensive Regions (CCIRs). It will provide an empirical in-depth social science understanding of fundamental changes in socio-demographic, geographical, psychological, cultural, political, and economic patterns. The project will comparatively analyse 20 European and non-European regions.


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ENTRANCES project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement nº 883947. This newsletter represents the view of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility: it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA). The European Commission and the Agency do not accept responsibility for the use that may be made of the information it contains.


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