Cork to host major EU regional development conference - Minister Sherlock

7th June 2013

- South-west region showcasing its economic development to EU regions.

- Enterprise Ireland to Organise the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE) Conference 5 - 7 June, 2013.

Monday 6th May 2013: Under the auspices of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, a prestigious three day conference, ‘The Week of Innovative Regions in Europe’ (WIRE), will take place in Cork from 5 - 7 June 2013.

Pictured L-R: Prof Anita Maguire, VP Research & Innovation, UCC with Sean Sherlock TD Minister of State for Research and Innovation and Enda McDonnell, Regional Director, South & South East, Enterprise Ireland.
Pictured L-R: Prof Anita Maguire, VP Research & Innovation, UCC with Sean Sherlock TD Minister of State for Research and Innovation and Enda McDonnell, Regional Director, South & South East, Enterprise Ireland.

The WIRE2013 Conference will see up to 500 delegates from 20 countries coming together to focus on regional aspects relevant to the final stages of the design and legislative process for the European Union’s next funding programme, Horizon 2020. As a result, European regional policy and regional development will be influenced by this conference.

The theme of the Conference is ‘Regions: leading the way’ and will include high profile speakers such as Sean Sherlock TD Minister of State for Research and Innovation and Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.  Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn will also award the winners of the first European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration. Nine local, regional and national authorities across Europe will be awarded 100 000 EUR for their initiatives that benefit citizens, firms or education and research to scale up their winning initiatives. The Prizes should highlight efficient public spending and inspire others to follow their example.

Organised by Enterprise Ireland, the Conference will directly engage with and include the business community, SMEs and multinational corporations, bringing them together with regional, national and European stakeholders - including public organisations, policymakers, research communities and enterprises - to address, develop and progress the strengthening of regional ecosystems in the areas of research, technological development and innovation.

Financed by the European Commission, the WIRE Conference series is recognised as a key element in promoting regional development. The Conference will aim to identify what role there can be for regions in the Horizon 2020 programme as well as challenges, niche opportunities to add value, how to exploit opportunities as well as providing a platform to benchmark, network and establish future partnerships.

Commenting on Cork hosting this important conference, Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock said: ‘I am delighted that Cork has been chosen to host the WIRE2013 Conference. The rapid transformation of Ireland from an agriculture based nation on the periphery of Europe to a competitive, high-tech world player is typified by the Cork region. The South West Region has a highly dynamic industrial sector with many of the world's leading multinational corporations having their European headquarters in the area.

‘The role of Structural Funds here can be used as a model of success; through integration into a coherent national policy framework and prioritisation of investment, in particular human resources, education and training, which has been a key factor in making Ireland attractive for foreign direct investment. The unique internationalisation activity of the region, with 133 overseas companies employing over 21,000 people, makes it a fitting location for the WIRE2013 Conference,’ Minister Sherlock added.

Speaking on behalf of Enterprise Ireland, Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director FP7, said: ‘One of the key objectives of the WIRE Conference will be to contribute substantially to regional policy development in the areas of research, innovation and learning, and to enhance policy formation for effective regional development. One hoped for outcome of this Conference is that Innovation is recognised as a key central theme within all regional policymaking, public investment programmes and in public procurement.’

The conclusions of the WIRE2013 Conference will also form the basis of a ‘Cork Declaration’. Under Ireland’s Presidency of the EU, this will be used as formal input to the Competitiveness Council meeting and will be circulated to leading European regional representative organisations and communities, forming a key output of the Irish Presidency to the Competitiveness Council.

The WIRE2013 Conference will take place in University College Cork on 6th and 7th June, with a Conference dinner on 6th June taking place in Cork City Hall. Industry site visits are planned for the afternoon of Wednesday 5th June.

Speaking at the announcement, Dr Michael Murphy, President of University College Cork, said, “I am delighted to welcome this landmark WIRE2013 Conference to University College Cork and to the Cork region.  UCC is recognised internationally as having been one of the first universities to embrace a strong regional dimension to its role.  UCC’s vision statement, “connecting the region to the globe” has been copied widely and it is apt that this conference on Innovative Regions in Europe should be hosted by a University that embraces this critical social and economic agenda." 

Editors Notes:

About the WIRE Conference Series

  • The first of the WIRE Conferences was organized in Granada as part of the 2010 Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The WIRE2010 looked for greater synergies between European Union and Member State actions focusing on the priorities of the EU 2020 Strategy, its headline targets and the European Research Area.
  • The WIRE2011 took place in Debrecen as part of the Hungarian Presidency. It focused on clusters, economic development of regions and regional R&D infrastructure as well as synergies between the Framework Programme, Structural Funds and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.
  • The WIRE2012 took place in Krakow just after the first Polish Presidency of the Council and concentrated on the regional dimension of the Innovation Union Flagship with three main thematic pillars; Smart regions in Horizon 2020; Stairway to Excellence; Networking for ERA at the Regional Level.

For further information, please go to:

Contact information:

Marc Kelly / Ciara Clogher
Communications - Research & Innovation
Enterprise Ireland
Tel. +353 (0) 1 727 2936 or +353 (0) 1 727 2725
Mobile: +353 (0)85 714 5542 or +353 (0)86 075 9268
Email: or