ERNACT: from creating an international telecommunications network to empowering Europe's digital transformation

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At the beginning of 90s, the ERNACT project initiated a strategic approach: international cooperation to take advantage of evolving technologies.
12 April 2021 - ERNACT  project
An ERNACT meeting during 90s.

ERNACT turns 30 this year and, to commemorate this big achievement, we are sharing the highlights of the network during the last three decades.

The first 'ERNACT' project was carried out during a period of rapid change, at the beginning of 90s, characterised by evolving technologies and standards within both the computer and telecommunications fields. A strategic approach was therefore needed, including a number of pilot actions and studies to evaluate new technologies and applications. ERNACT was going to provide a solution to that challenge. During these three decades, the ERNACT network of regions has developed an approach for optimising cooperation in European projects and regions’ Smart Specialisation and digital transformation needs.

At the very beginning, the fundamental goals of the ERNACT project were to improve generally the ways in which regional and local authorities applied communications technology in the performance of their functions. Also, to explore how the technology could be used to facilitate cooperation between regional and local authorities at community level. The six partner regions were aware of the advantages of exchanging experience on information technology and, together, formed a telecommunications network. The experience gained from the ERNACT project created awareness about the enormous potential and considerable difficulties when implementing successful information strategies at regional, interregional and cross-border level.

Thanks to this expertise, the ERNACT project took the first steps towards the network that we know nowadays, a network that commenced improving 30 years ago the relationship between the citizens and the local and regional authorities. Since 1991, ERNACT has continuously raised awareness making the network recognized in organisations and institutions across Europe, developing successful interregional digital technology projects and benefiting partner cities and regions. 

Digital transformation has deeply changed during the last three decades and ERNACT has adapted to it. 
“In those days, the focus was very much on the local and regional authority, and it was a good reason for that but it's now more a general type of cooperation between all the actors in different regions, not just the local authorities. It extends now to cooperation in lots of different fields like tourism, economic development or societal matters”, highlights ERNACT General Manager, Colm Mc Colgan.

The ERNACT network is ready to continue 
empowering Europe's digital transformation during 2021 - 2027 period through digital innovation hubs and the use of Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Internet of Things (IoT). 

Click here to email  Maixa Zabaleta at ERNACT for further information

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Core ERNACT regions
Newfoundland & Labrador
South Ostrobothnia
West Romania
San Sebastián
Derry & Strabane
United Kingdom