Over the past 4 years, Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA) and five other regional and local players and an advisory partner have been working together as part of the Next2Met Interreg Europe project, to implement policy solutions aimed at increasing the attractiveness for knowledge, opportunities and capital of territories located close to metropolitan areas.

Below, you will discover the challenges, solutions and results of Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly in developing a new "Digitalisation Roadmap".

Initial Challenge

The Midland region is located in the shadows of a metropolitan area (Dublin). This mostly rural area, with a sparse population profile, has suffered from underinvestment in the past and is currently experiencing a decline in certain economic sectors, particularly carbon-intensive industries such as peat harvesting for electricity production.

All 4 counties have similar context that distinguishes them from their surrounding counties. Although strategies exist on the national and local levels, there currently is no strategy for the development of digitalisation on a regional level. Nor does a strategy exist that specifically addresses the common challenges and opportunities experienced in the Midlands.  


Drawing on inspiration from the Lower Austrian partner’s good practice examples, EMRA decided to co-create a new ‘digitalisation roadmap’ for the Irish Midland region, which will aid in the implementation of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES), EMRA’s policy instrument by focusing on digital solutions. This new framework helps align development policies – from EU to national, regional, and local – to allow for cohesive regional development. Through better policy alignment there are more opportunities for funding from local, national or EU sources, for more focused and impactful outcomes.  

Final results

A stakeholder workshop was held on 14 February 2023 to gather their input. 

Based on these contributions, a reflection on EMRA's competences and existing local and national policies, a regional roadmap on digitisation was produced.

This was approved by members of the Regional Assembly on 9 June 2023.

Finally, the results that have been achieved through Next2Met do not stop there, as the project has been mentioned in the EU's Just Transition Fund and the lessons learned from the project will be incorporated into potential funding opportunities.