Wednesday, 20 December 2017 11:14

EUSBSR Flagship status - what does it mean for a project?

Written by  Let's communicate! project

In November 2017, five new EUSBSR Flagships were adopted by the National Coordinators of the Strategy. The actions of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region are implemented by means of Flagships. Flagships demonstrate the progress of the Strategy, and may serve as pilot examples for desired action in a given field.

We asked the newly approved Flagships what the status means to them.



Peter DamDrogden Rende 2 03 06 2010 0206Photo by Peter Dam

Two of the newly adopted Flagships are approved under Policy Area Bioeconomy. Firstly, RDI2Club (Rural research, development and innovation milieus in transition towards smart bioeconomy clusters and innovation ecosystems) project's mission is to help rural areas in the Baltic Sea Region to reach their full potential in bioeconomy. To this end, the project is building the capacity of rural regions in smart specialization in bioeconomy and in transnational cooperation in innovation management. Furthermore, RDI2CluB is developing an open digital platform for enhancing transnational cooperation of the rural bioeconomy hubs in Baltic Sea Region. After the piloting phase, RDI2CluB partnership is opening the developed digital platform to the whole Baltic Sea Region in the interest of building a sustainable community of rural bioeconomy hubs for accelerating innovation in bioeconomy.

"In the mission of RDI2CluB, the Flagship status provides us prominence and visibility to reach potential collaborators and to involve relevant stakeholders to the design process. Overall, we see that the Flagship status helps us to highlight the rural development issues and to promote the potential for smart specialization in bioeconomy for rural regions and innovation systems. The Flagship status will enhance our communication efforts and assists us to share the results and outputs with the interested rural regions to strengthen smart specialization in bioeconomy around Baltic Sea region."

Dr. Minna Lappalainen, Director, Institute of Bioeconomy, JAMK University of Applied Science, Lead Partner of RDI2CluB

More information about RDI2CluB on the project website:


Another new Flagship under Policy Area Bioeconomy is BONUS BLUEWEBS which sets out to understand the changes in the Baltic Sea food webs, and how the system should be managed in an uncertain future. In order to do this, the project will study the past changes of the system in terms of structure and function; predict how the food web dynamics are likely to change, and how they affect the ecosystem service provision.

"One of the aims of the BONUS BLUEWEBS project is two-way communication between the scientific community and society´s various stakeholders in management and decision making, both on local, national and EU level. The flagship status affirms that the EU finds the research relevant to its goals, and it will help us to communicate with both the local actors and the high level policy makers."

Laura Uusitalo, Senior research scientist, Finnish Environment Institute, Lead Partner of BONUS BLUEWEBS

More information about BONUS BLUEWEBS on the project website:


Under Policy Area innovation an "umbrella" Flagship BSR Digi co-lab was supported. The goal of the Flagship is to increase the innovation capacity in the digital policy area, by strengthening the knowledge base and supporting transnational collaboration between national decision makers, stakeholders and key actors of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems in the Baltic Sea region countries.To achieve the goal, the Flagship will undertake numerous sub-projects and actions in the digitalisation area. Digitalisation is one of the cross-cutting themes and innovation enablers in the policy area ‘Innovation’, a crucial aspect of accelerating innovation. Currently, there are two ongoing sub-projects: Internet of business (IoB) and DIGINNO.

"The Flagship status offers more systematic and structured approach for PA Innovation to increase the innovation capacity in the digital policy area. We needed one umbrella-type Flagship to bring all digital projects together for better communication and synergy in the future, to share knowledge and project outcomesa and to avoid overlapping."

Reet Reismaa, Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, Lead partner of BSR Digi Co-lab

More information about the umbrella project at PA Innovation's website and blog.


Under Policy Area Hazards HAZBREF (Hazardous industrial chemicals in the EID BREFS) project was supported as a Flagship. Hazardous substances released from industries have a harmful effect on the Baltic Sea environment. Yet, the pathways from the installations to the sea and the emission reduction methods are not well known.

"The aim of HAZBREF to increase the institutional capacity to address the use and release of hazardous chemicals in industry requires wide cooperation with different stakeholders. The Flagship status enhances to reach a broad range of target groups also outside the Baltic sea region and both on policy and installation level which will ensure the sustainability of the HAZBREF results."

Kaj Forsius, Project Manager, Finnish Environment Institute, Lead Partner of HAZBREF

More information about HAZBREF at the project website:


Lastly, under Policy Area Transport Interconnect project was approved as a Flagship of the EUSBSR. Interconnect addresses the challenge of curbing the car-reliant mobility in the South Baltic area through user-adjusted and more sustainable public transport services for regional and cross-border travels. The current public transport offer do not meet customer expectations for easiness and attractive regional and cross-border journeys with scarce range of integrated ticket options for multimodual rides or difficult access to one-spot passenger information. 

"The flagship label gives a stronger credibility for our action and helps us reach a wider audience than only the South Baltic Programme stakeholders. In particular, we see an added value of being acknowledged by the EUSBSR in our ambition to connect the stakeholders representing various competence sectors of relevance to the public transport – for the sake of a more systematic cooperation across the state borders. The cooperation with the PA Transport Coordinators, the national transport ministries of the EU-BSR countries and other initiatives connected to it will provide us with a unique opportunity to work out ways to put our findings on the policy level and better embed the public transport issues in the strategic frameworks. We would like to see that cross-border public transport services truly contribute to more intensive cross-border convergence processes and stimulate the sustainable regional growth."

Wiktor Szydarowski, Project Manager, Region Blekinge, Lead Partner of Interconnect

More information about Interconnect at the project website:


All ongoing and completed EUSBSR Flagships are listed in the Annex of the Action Plan.


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