Authors: Giacomo Frisanco & Jerome Friedrichs
Last November, 34 project partners from 9 European countries got together in the cities of Uniejów and Łódz, Poland, for the kick-off meeting of the FRONTSH1P project. In the upcoming four years, FRONTSH1P will contribute towards the continuous transformation of the Łódzkie region to one of the leading European regions in the circular economy. In light of the major contemporary challenge of climate change – not least the reason behind the 2021 United Nations Conference in Glasgow –, FRONTSH1P will do its bit by steering the Łódzkie region towards decarbonisation and territorial regeneration through the demonstration of Circular Systemic Solutions (CSSs). Four such solutions will be implemented in four targeted economic sectors in the region during the project: Wood Packaging, Food & Feed, Water & Nutrients and Plastic & Rubber Waste.
These Circular Systemic Solutions directly respond to the challenges faced by the Łódzkie region – turning combating climate change into a possibility for economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Another major goal in the demonstration of the CSSs is their replicability. A feat that will be proven during the project by their implementation in four other European regions: Campania (Italy), Stereá Elláda (Greece), Região do Norte (Portugal), and Friesland (the Netherlands). FRONTSH1P will apply a circular governance model and create circular regional clusters, which will involve a wide range of local, regional and national stakeholders, both from the public and private spheres.
The project consortium comprises public regional authorities, both large and small and medium enterprises, research institutions and technology centres, NGOs, and European associations. Therefore, the consortium itself already represents key stakeholders within the value chain of circular economy.
FRONTSH1P is funded with a maximum grant of €16.112.118,01 by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme. We are proud to have been funded under this recent call, as one of only four projects amongst 92 applicants.
The Kick-Off Meeting:
On Tuesday 16 November 2021, all project partners met in Uniejów for the first day of the official kick-off meeting of the FRONTSH1P project. In a very friendly environment, the project consortium had the chance to meet in person and to exchange ideas about the evolvement of the project. Michele Andolfo from K-FLEX Poland and Fabio Magrassi from STAM, as project coordinators, held their welcome speech and explained all future phases of the project. In the afternoon, the project partners then had the possibility to visit the facilities of K-FLEX in Poland where each of the 4 CSSs was presented in detail as well as how to implement them. Questions were asked by the project partners to the CSSs leaders in order to better understand how the implementation process will take place and which technologies will be utilised.
The following day, the consortium woke up in Łódz and attended the first official press conference of the project held at the Technical University of Łódz. Several local journalists and a nation-wide television channel seized the opportunity to interview the project coordinator and to understand how the Łódzkie region will benefit from this European project in the near future. The press conference was followed by presentations from each of the working packages (WPs) leaders. Once again, the project consortium had the chance to better familiarise itself with the topic of the project and to ask questions related to the WPs in order to find a common approach for the next four years. The day finished with a social dinner in Łódz.
The third day, only the WP leaders attended the meeting to discuss the governance matters of the project, such as the election of the governing board, the dissemination board, the steering committee and the advisory council. Thus, 18 November 2021 was the last time when the project partners met for now. However, another physical project meeting is foreseen to take place in May/June 2022 in Genova (Italy), where the consortium will have the chance to analyse the first achievements of the project and to better discuss on how to exploit and disseminate them in future.