NPA Annual Event 2021: Redefining Peripherality

The Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme is pleased to announce the date for its 2021 Annual Conference on 27th October 2021 in Sligo in Ireland.


The Annual conference theme is “Redefining Peripherality”. Relevant information about the Interreg NPA 2021-2027 will also be shared during the event. Follow the updates on social media with the hashtag #NPA2021Sligo.

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, providing services and taking decisions. The benefits of cooperation across 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.





13:00 – Welcome words
Welcome words from 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
Prof. 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.

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

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

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 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

NWRA Calls for Significant Budget Stimulus Package in Budget 2022 To Revitalise North-west Economy


  • The economy of the North-West of Ireland has been declining in recent years.
  • Such a decline has been accompanied by a lack of investment from Central Government
  • Failure to support the North-West’s economy will undermine Government policy.
  • North-West needs a sizeable stimulus package and a policy of “Positive Discrimination”.

The North West Regional Assembly, one of Ireland’s three regional authorities, is calling for Budget 2022 to revitalise the North-West’s economy and to address the long-term underinvestment in the region’s infrastructure, by providing a sizeable stimulus package for the North-West of Ireland.

In its pre-budget submission, the NWRA has highlighted the economic challenges facing the North-West of Ireland and how the region’s economy is being left behind with an urgent call for support.

John Daly NWRA’s Chief Economist said: “The decline in the North-West’s economy is evident from the European Commission’s decision to downgrade the region’s economic status from a ‘More Developed Region’ to a ‘Transition Region’ – the only region in Ireland to hold such a status – while the North-West was the only region in Ireland to be classified as a ‘Moderate Innovator’, namely a region with an innovation index score between 70% and 100% of the EU average.”

Mr Daly added: “The European Parliament has also categorised the North-West as a ‘Lagging Region’, which is a region with low economic growth and divergent from the performance of its own national economy. These designations highlight the notable challenges facing the North-West’s economy; with such issues common in some of the poorest regions in the EU”.

The Assembly’s Pre-Budget submission shows that the decline in the North-West’s economy was also accompanied by long-term underinvestment in the region’s transport, research, education and health infrastructure. Notably between 2010 and 2020, Mr Daly revealed that capital investment in higher education infrastructure in the North-West – on average – amounted to €316 per undergraduate enrolled compared to a national norm of €375, while capital spending on higher education in the North-West was below the State norm in 8 out of the last 11 years.

Within this context, the NWRA’s submission is calling on Budget 2022 to revitalise the North-West’s economy and to address the long-term underinvestment in the region’s infrastructure, by providing a sizeable stimulus package for the North-West of Ireland, adopting a capital investment policy of “Positive Discrimination” towards the North-West and delivering a wide range of investment priorities which will support the implementation of Project Ireland 2040 and the Programme for Government.

David Minton Director of the NWRA said: “Budget 2022 will be key to tackling the economic challenges facing the North-West; challenges which – if unaddressed – could notably exacerbate regional inequalities and undermine the ability of policymakers to deliver balanced regional development. Therefore, our submission is calling for a sizeable regional stimulus package for the North-West of Ireland, to support the recovery of the region’s economy and provide a platform for the region to become more urban, specialised, smart, green, connected and focused on people.”

Mr Minton added: “In total, we have outlined 45 investment priorities that the Assembly would like to see reflected in Budget 2022, with our priorities ranging from delivering the proposed Connacht-Ulster Technological University, creating low-carbon economy training centres, implementing our region’s compact growth targets, improving the region’s digital and transport infrastructure and providing a 100% redress scheme to households affected by Mica, Pyrite and Pyrrhotite


Download The Northern and Western Regional Assembly Pre Budget 2022 Submission