The ESPON 2013 Programme, the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion, was adopted by the European Commission on 7 November 2007.

The programme budget of €47 mill is part-financed at the level of 75 % by the European Regional Development Fund under Objective 3 for European Territorial Cooperation. The rest is financed by 31 countries participating, 27 EU Member States and Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The mission of the ESPON 2013 Programme is to:

Support policy development in relation to the aim of territorial cohesion and a harmonious development of the European territory by (1) providing comparable information, evidence, analyses and scenarios on territorial dynamics and (2) revealing territorial capital and potentials for development of regions and larger territories contributing to European competitiveness, territorial cooperation and a sustainable and balanced development”.

The actions carried through under the programme include different, however strongly interrelated operations:

  1. Applied research on different themes of European territorial dynamics is the core business, providing scientifically solid facts and evidence at the level of regions and cities. These results make it possible to assess strength and weaknesses of individual regions and cities in the European context. The applied research is conducted by transnational groups of researchers and experts.
  2. Targeted Analyses together with stakeholders is an important project type that makes use of ESPON results in practice. Stakeholders express their interest and ESPON provides a team of experts that carries through the analysis in close collaboration. Stakeholders then make use of the European perspective in results in policy considerations for their territorial context, in strategy development or other activities, that benefits development.
  3. Scientific Platform development is supported by an ESPON Database project and actions dealing with territorial indicators and monitoring as well as tools related to territorial analyses, typologies, modelling and updates of statistics.
  4. Capitalisation of ESPON results that includes media activities and different ESPON publications. Events such as ESPON Seminars and Workshops are regularly organised and a transnational effort in the capitalisation is ensured by a network of national ESPON Contact Points.
  5. Technical Assistance, Analytical Support and Communication ensure the sound management of the programme and the ability of processing scientific output towards the policy level.

ESPON uses an open competitive process in the selection of partners for projects. Calls are launched regularly.


ESPON 2013 Programme

  • Acrobat Document | 340KB

Slides on ESPON 2013 Programme

  • Powerpoint Presentation | 1.21MB

Press release on ESPON 2013 Programme

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