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Whitaker Ideas Forum: Niall O’Brolchain, Co-creating a “Smart Region Innovation Policy” in the Western and Borders Region of Ireland

October 11, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: CA110 (SAC Room), Cairnes Building, NUI Galway Galway Ireland

Speaker(s): Niall O'Brolchain

Affiliation: Technology and Governance Research Cluster

Organised by: Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway

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The Fall 2017 Whitaker Ideas Forum series continues on 11 October with a seminar by Niall O’Brolchain of the Technology and Governance research cluster on the topic of ‘Co-creating a “Smart Region Innovation Policy” in the western and borders region of Ireland’.

This talk will focus on the engagement and active participation of public and different categories of stakeholders in the conceptualisation, design and implementation of Smart Places-Smart Regional Policy for the area covered by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly (NWRA) and the Western Development Commission (WDC) in the Republic of Ireland. The region includes 10 local authorities: Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, and Sligo county councils and Galway City Council. These are all actively involved in the study, as are the local public participation networks, three colleges of technology, and NUI Galway where Insight is based. Many other state agencies, private companies, non-governmental organisations and business networks are also involved. The Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway is an expert stakeholder in the feasibility study in collaboration with the NWRA and WDC.

The feasibility study, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017, involves a multi-faceted survey of smart initiatives and smart organisations within the Smart Places Region across the four sectors–public, private, academic, and civil society (the quadruple-helix policy innovation process). The result of the survey will serve as input into policy co-creation and implementation. It is consistent with many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and particularly Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. This is the least wealthy and least populated region of Ireland, but it has the greatest potential to contribute to Goal 8. The smart region policy initiative is being developed using a smart specialisation and circular economy approach consistent with high level European policies, to ensure regional sustainability.