Main framework

Below is a summary of key decisions made by the Programme Preparation Group (PPG).  


Based on extensive inputs from stakeholders and experts, the PPG has adopted four priorities:

Priority 1: Robust and smart economies in the North Sea Region  
Projects in this priority will support regional actors to develop resilience protecting the region from potential shocks and crises. Projects may also focus on  regional innovation capacity and future-proofing economic structures and actors to meet future demands.

Specific objectives
1.1: Enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies.
1.2: Developing skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship.

Priority 2: A green transition in the North Sea Region
Priority 2 projects will contribute to reducing the region’s environmental footprint through development of green energy, alternative fuels, circular economy, and sustainable transport.

Specific objectives
2.1: Promoting energy efficiency measures
2.2: Promoting the transition to a circular economy
2.3: Promoting sustainable multimodal urban mobility. 

Priority 3: A climate resilient North Sea Region  
Projects in this priority will contribute to climate change adaptation practices and enhancement of biodiversity.

Specific objectives
3.1: Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and disaster resilience.
3.2: Enhancing biodiversity, green infrastructure in the urban environment, and reducing pollution

Priority 4: Better maritime governance in the North Sea
Projects funded in priority 4 should contribute to: 

  • Better coordination through new or strengthened cross-sectoral networks that facilitate multi-level marine governance;
  • Increased capacity in marine stakeholders to engage in transnational governance processes;
  • Improved integration of marine solutions and activities;
  • Increased societal support for policy decisions that affect maritime and coastal areas; and/or
  • Improved protection of marine ecosystems as well as optimised marine business opportunities through balancing and coordinating activities in the sea basin.

Spotlight themes

The programme has adopted three 'spotlight' themes:

1) Digitalisation
2) Rural development and rural-urban connections
3) Strengths and challenges in the North Sea basin

Projects in any of the four priorities can address spotlight themes, which are additional dimensions considered to be of special importance in the North Sea Region. The programme will invite projects to consider incorporating spotlight themes where possible and will make special efforts to nurture them, for example through targeted calls or other initiatives.