NF-KREG launches a major European Commission contract research project on the process of transformation of coal regions in the Czech Republic
The Department of Regional Studies at the Faculty of Economics, Prague University of Economics and Business, is launching a major contract research project funded by the European Commission on empirical, analytical and training activities supporting the process of transformation of coal regions in the Czech Republic. The whole project is linked to the European Green Deal (the EU’s long-term strategy), which aims to reach a climate neutral position by 2050, a strategic goal that is accompanied by many controversies and uncertainties. In the long term, however, it is evident that these normative targets are already having a dramatic impact on socio-economic development in regions whose internal economic structure is dominated by energy-intensive heavy industry and coal-fired power generation.
For these regions, the EU has created a new Just Transition Fund (JTF), which currently complements the mainstream European Structural Funds and additionally supports specific topics that should facilitate the process of “just transition” in the Moravian-Silesian, Ústí nad Karlovy Vary regions. The national RE:START strategy for coal regions was already implemented in these regions in previous years, but it was more coordinated in nature in relation to the different funding sources available. The JTF represents a completely new and unique opportunity to make use of existing experience and, in particular, to specifically target the necessary transformational investments financially, taking into account the current turbulent external geopolitical and related economic developments, including long-term trends.
The objective of the contract research project is to strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity to implement the JTF, including at regional and local level. Special emphasis in the project research activities is placed on empirical investigations, analytical and research activities that will result in an assessment of the baseline absorption capacity of coal regions, particularly in the small project segment (titled as „group of projects“). It has already been confirmed in previous analyses that it is the smaller actors (e.g. SMEs, municipalities and NGOs) that are weak in relevant project preparation activities. It is for these entities that the JTF will prepare simplified funding opportunities under the so-called “group of projects” scheme, while the relevant schemes and support settings are still not available. These will mainly be projects aimed at: a) supporting SMEs through various sub-themes; b) creating vouchers for SMEs and municipalities; c) supporting project preparation for municipalities; and, d) supporting of human resources in schools. Therefore, these conditions will be continuously evaluated during the project implementation period, which will be followed by training workshops to strengthen the application of the identified knowledge.
BASIC INFORMATION OF THE CONTRACT RESEARCH PROJECT:
Project title: Support to the Implementation of the Just Transition in the Czech Republic
RFS ID: REFORM/SC2022/116; Framework Contract Procedure: REFORM/2021/OP/0006 Lot 1
The main institution involved is the German Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. In the Czech Republic, the main partner is the Faculty of Economics of the Prague University of Economics and Business (Department of Regional Studies). The project management is led by Dr. Silke Müffelmann (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management). The project team leader of all institutions involved is Prof. Martin Pělucha (Prague University of Economics and Business, Faculty of Economics, Department of Regional Studies).
Implementation period of the contract research project: 11/2022 – 06/202