Current EU Projects

Making a difference to regional and cross border challenges through funding and supports.

The EU’s INTERREG programmes have been a key mechanism in enabling common solutions to be directed at common problems across European borders. Since 2003, ICBAN has been actively involved in securing funds for the Ireland / Northern Ireland border region. This has included €23 million under INTERREG IIIA for 70 projects across a spectrum of sectors; tourism development, robotics engineering, environmental education, etc.

ICBAN and partners were also successful in securing over €14 million in funding from the INTERREG IVA Programme.  ICBAN assumed the role of Lead Partner and had responsibility for the management of seven projects under the themes of Enterprise, Tourism and Collaboration.

For more information on the projects that were delivered please visit Past Programmes.

Under the Interreg V Programme ICBAN has been applying this expertise and knowledge into developing new projects with a transnational focus. It is intended that these projects would bring new learning and innovative ideas into addressing challenges in the Ireland / Northern Ireland border region. Funding approvals were secured in 2018 for projects involving ICBAN under the EU Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA).

Spot-Lit Project, 2018-2022

The untapped potential of literary tourism is the focus of Spot-lit, which aims to grow the literary tourism sector in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region. The programme supports organisations and businesses in this culturally rich region to grow, collaborate and better engage audiences together.

Literary Tourism is an emerging niche sector within the wider cultural tourism sector, where places with literary heritage offer author and fiction-related literary tourism opportunities, along with opportunities arising from literary festivals, trails and book shops. In the Central Border Region of Ireland / Northern Ireland, this would include literary rich locations such as Enniskillen, synonymous with the schooldays of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, Patrick Kavanagh in Iniskeen, County Monaghan, dramatist Brian Friel in Tyrone/Donegal & Derry-Londonderry, Seamus Heaney in Bellaghy in County Derry/Londonderry, and links to Jonathan Swift in Armagh.

The regions participating in the Spot-lit programme area are Northern Ireland, the Border Counties and West of Ireland, Eastern Finland, and South-West Scotland. Collectively, the region is home to world-class literary icons and landscapes, however, research suggests there is potential for this sector to work together and grow significantly. Current low levels of joined-up literary tourism activity in the Northern Periphery and Arctic Region make it a sector that is ripe for development.

The project includes the development of a cluster network across the regions, a series of support programmes for SMEs, the development of 29 new literary products/services, along with shared learning and transnational marketing.

The project completes in March 2022 and here is a link to its website.

Digi2Market Project, 2018-2022

The project has enabled SMEs in peripheral regions to increase sales and exports through the use of story-telling marketing techniques that integrate immersive technologies such as Virtual and Augmented reality. Virtual Reality (VR) is an interactive computer-generated experience that can be similar to the real world or fantastical. Augmented Reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where objects in the real-world are “augmented” by computer-generated sensory information.

The project has enabled the development of a range of innovative immersive digital technology tools for SMEs.  These include a collaborative digital platform – the ‘Digital City’ – the project website that hosts Marketing & Sales and Immersive Technology toolkits, as well as providing a ‘gated community’ where SMEs can collaborate and achieve synergies of scale (and/or product offering) to enter new markets. Digi2Market has also provided for interactive collaboration facilities for Digital Hubs, Business Parks, and Knowledge Providers. Enterprises are assisted in digitally supported environmental good practices in resource uses (taking into account supplies and deliveries).  The project will produce a good practice guide on Green Standards in Marketing and Sales for SMEs and the facilitation of their adoption by SMEs.

A range of supports are available for regional businesses who are interested in developing immersive technology marketing solutions, including:

– Access to free online VR/AR learning resources;

– Assistance to help businesses integrate VR/AR into traditional marketing and sales strategies;

– A wide range of SME Case Studies, detailing ways in which small businesses across the NPA have successfully integrated immersive technology into their business operations;

– A listing of useful events for SMEs, including training opportunities and international conferences;

– Providing opportunities to road test VR/AR marketing solutions before going to market.

Digi2Market has been enabling businesses to increase sales and exports and to put them in touch with international business clusters.

Digi2Market, like Spot-Lit, is funded by the EU INTERREG Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme. ICBAN is working with a number of organisations in the project from Finland, Iceland and the Republic of Ireland, including the Lead Partner Údarás Na Gaeltachta.

The project completed in February 2022 and here is a link to its website.


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