European Commission elects “Culatra 2030” as an example of smart specialization in the Algarve

Article about Culatra 2030 is available on the European Commission website

Photo: Fabiana Saboya|Sul Informação

The Culatra 2030 project, coordinated by the University of Algarve, in partnership with the Ilha da Culatra Residents Association, the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR Algarve) and the Municipality of Faro, was selected by the European Commission as the example initiative of the smart specialization strategy in the Algarve.

The article about the project, “A living lab for the sustainable energy transition of the Algarve Region's S3”, it is already published on the website of the European Commission.

For André Pacheco, coordinator of the Project, «the value of the Culatra 2030 initiative lies in its comprehensive strategy, which comprises several aspects of the energy transition, including social issues, such as energy poverty».

Instead of the development of new technology itself, he explains, «the main perspective is the holistic model and the demonstration character of the initiative, which starts from a participatory diagnosis made to the community by Make It Better, Association for Innovation and Social Economy, in collaboration with academia, public administration and companies».

For the UAlg researcher, “after this initial diagnosis, a new governance system for the participatory exploration of the transition paths was implemented – the Insular Committee”.

According to André Pacheco “this participatory model is proving to be effective in improving decision-making, compared to the previous situation, which was characterized by several dispersed and uncoordinated initiatives”.

In his opinion “this is a truly bottom-up initiative, inspired by the smart specialization approach, and which can be replicated in other communities”.

Culatra Island is one of six pilot islands that received support from the European Secretariat for Clean Energy in the Islands for the creation of an Energy Transition Agenda on this island of Ria Formosa.

The main objective, explains the University of Algarve, «is to position the region as a center of excellence in research and training in renewable energy. It is also intended to create effective bridges between the local community, research in the renewable sector and companies, promoting environmental sustainability and the island's adaptation to climate change».