Minister Sherlock & Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn open major EU regional development conference held at University College Cork

6th June 2013

Keen to progress Smart Specialisation Strategy quickly - Minister Sherlock

Minister Sherlock, Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn and Dr. Imelda Lampkin at major EU regional development conference WIRE in Cork
Minister Sherlock, Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn and Dr. Imelda Lampkin at major EU regional development conference WIRE in Cork

South-west region showcases its economic development to EU representatives at the Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE) Conference.

‘The Week of Innovative Regions in Europe’ (WIRE 2013) Conference was officially opened in University College Cork this morning by Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD and Commissioner Marie Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science .

The prestigious three day conference, organised by Enterprise Ireland and supported by the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, under the auspices of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, is bringing 350 delegates from 20 countries 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 includes an array of high profile speakers such as Minister Sherlock, Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn, Clara de la Torre, Director, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission, Frank Ryan, Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland and Frank Hayes, Director of Corporate Affairs, Kerry Group.

In his speech, Minister Sherlock said: ‘Growth is increasingly related to the capacity of regional economies to change and innovate. The South West and Cork Regions have highly dynamic industrial sectors with many of the world's leading multinational corporations having their European headquarters here. EU Structural Funds and FP7 have played an important part in this development. That is why my focus now as Chair of the EU’s Research Council is on reaching agreement on the EU’s Horizon 2020 research investment programme.”

Minister Sherlock added “In addition, I am also keen to ensure that we quickly progress Ireland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy plans over the course of the months ahead as we prepare for the next round of EU Structural Funds, commencing in January 2014".

In her opening address to the conference, Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn said: "We have to boost research and innovation at the regional, national and EU levels as a vital driver of economic recovery in Europe.  The Commission is helping regions develop their innovation strategies and make the best use of EU research and regional funds to boost their knowledge base and create sustainable jobs."

Speaking on behalf of conference organiser Enterprise Ireland, Dr Imelda Lambkin, National Director FP7, said: ‘Innovation is recognised as a key central theme within all regional policymaking, public investment programmes and in public procurement. The purpose of the WIRE Conference is to contribute substantially to regional policy development in the areas of research, innovation and learning at both European and regional level. We are looking forward to using this opportunity to enhance policy formation for effective regional development and have a very successful conference”.

WIRE 2013 is directly engaging with 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.

Commenting on UCC’s role in facilitating the conference, Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC, said, “As hosts of this landmark WIRE2013 Conference, we are honoured to welcome Commissioner Geoghegan Quinn, Minister Sherlock and the many delegates to University College Cork and in doing so represent Cork and the South West region.  UCC is recognised globally 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 fully embraces this critical social and economic agenda." 

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


Editors Notes:

About the WIRE Conference Series

  • The first of the WIRE Conferences was organised 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

Communications, Research & Innovation, Enterprise Ireland

+353 (0) 1 727 2936

+353 (0)85 714 5542

Marc Kelly

Ciara Clogher

Communications, Research & Innovation
Enterprise Ireland

+353 (1) 7272725

+353 86 0759268

Ciara Clogher