CARPE DIGEM is supporting a North West Ireland innovation ecosystem to develop a cross-border digital transformation Action Plan. ERNACT is a CARPE DIGEM partner and has worked with regional stakeholders to drive this effort. In May 2022 a key meeting was held with key regional stakeholders such as Donegal County Council (Ireland) and Derry City and Strabane District Council (Northern Ireland), higher level education institutions (North West Regional College, Atlantic Technological University – ATU Donegal, and Ulster University) and development agencies (Northern & Western Regional Assembly and Special EU Programmes Body – SEUPB) in order to discuss the CARPE DIGEM Action plan for the region.

The meeting was in the form of roundtable with the region’s development leaders and formed part of a study visit to Derry and Donegal by representatives from other European regions and cities participating in the Interreg Europe funded CARPE DIGEM project. The session provided an overview of the Digital Transformation Ecosystem in the cross-border region, including the inputs of Intelligent Cities Challenge programme for Derry and the Donegal Digital strategy, and also gave the opportunity to further discuss a cross-border digital action plan. The CARPE DIGEM NW Ireland action plan is centred on cross-border digital transformation.

ERNACT represents Derry & Strabane and Donegal councils in CAREP DIGEM and through it the ERNACT network has been exploring the possibilities inherent in the Donegal Digital Action Plan and Derry & Strabane’s participation in the EU’s Digital and Intelligent Cities Challenge and City Deal programmes to identify digital transformation areas that the North West City Region could address on a cross-border basis. Areas where each Council area have common objectives on digital transformation were reviewed. Several areas are highlighted in video interviews with leads from each of the Councils:

• Initiatives for High Speed Broadband: Broadband infrastructure video

• Initiatives for Regional innovation: Stimulating regional innovation video

• Initiatives for Attracting /developing talent: Attracting, retaining & developing talent video

The purpose of the roundtable was to present the results to the region’s leaders, to receive feedback and to discuss how digital transformation fits in with the city region’s wider development plan. Furthermore, project visitors from France, Slovenia, Madeira and Sweden provided insights and experiences based on their own digital transformation plans.

The round table discussion proved to be extremely positive by indicating areas to include in the Action Plan. It has resulted in agreement that the plan’s governance would be under the two councils through the North West Regional Development Group. The Action plan can be viewed in the Library section.