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  1. An institution, body, office or agency established by or based on the Treaty on European Union and the Treaties establishing the European Communities.

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  1. Governance, partnership: Projects aimed at increasing the application of multilevel and transnational or cross-border governance, designing and testing appropriate governance structures and mechanisms. Also cooperation between public institutions on any theme.

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    Activities focussing on agricultural products, organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products; furthermore the development of the food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products and any topics related to animals and fishing.

    Agriculture and fisheries and forestry: Projects focussing on agricultural products (i.e. fruits, meat, olives, etc.), organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products. Also the development of the agro-food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products. Any topics related to animals (i.e. health, management) and fishing (i.e. sustainable fishery, aquaculture).

    Soil and air quality: Projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Climate change and biodiversity projects assisting mitigation and adaption to climate change and environmental impacts of climate change. Development of low carbon technologies and strategies, reduction of CO2 emissions from all sectors. Promotion of biodiversity, new instruments to enhance biodiversity and natural protection.

    Soil and air quality projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Water management projects about management and distribution of drinking water, integrated sustainable water management, monitoring systems for water supply and improving drinking water quality; also water treatment (wastewater), in particular, innovative technologies to improve wastewater, treatments in the purification of industrial and domestic wastewater and water reuse policies. Waterways, lakes and rivers: This deals with any topics on waterways, lakes and rivers, from improving water quality, protecting and developing of ecosystems or sustainable wetland management.

    Activities that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Cultural heritage and arts projects that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Tourism projects dealing with the promotion of natural assets, and the protection and development of natural heritage, as well as increasing the touristic attractiveness through the better use of natural, cultural and historical heritage. Also projects about improved tourist services/products, development of ecotourism models, tourism development strategies.

    Sustainable management of natural resources projects focussing on the protection, promotion and valorization, and sustainable management and conservation of natural areas (habitats, geo parks, protected areas, etc.). Also projects focussing on preserving and enhancing cultural and natural heritage and landscape, as well as protecting the marine environment.

    Projects on waste management (innovative services and strategies), ecological waste treatment, treatment techniques/systems; waste disposal and recycling (improvement of recycling, innovative recycling technologies, recovery of organic waste, repair & re-use centres and networks); also prevention of pollution and pollution control (ecological and circular economy, marine littering, etc.).

    Labour market and employment: creating employment opportunities and/or optimising jobs, academic (un)employment and job mobility, workforce attraction and improvement of employment conditions for different groups.

    SME and entrepreneurship: strengthening SME capacities, boosting entrepreneurial activities in different sectors and for different groups, supporting social entrepreneurship, creating business support/advisory systems for start-ups/spin-offs/incubators, improving the competitiveness of SMEs, and promoting new business processes.

    Community integration and common identity projects that build identity, create a more cohesive society, promote positive relations through an increased provision of shared spaces and services.

    Demographic change and immigration is about projects tackling major societal challenges like demographic change in different areas and migration, in particular, aging society (active aging, best agers, silver economy strategies) and related new public services (adaptation of key services and infrastructure), social and spatial segregation, and brain drain. Also all topics on migration (policy tools, strategic planning, integration).

    All projects where ICT has a significant role, including tailor-made ICT solutions in different fields, as well as digital innovation hubs, open data, Internet of Things; ICT access and connecting (remote) areas with digital infrastructure and services; services and applications for citizens (e-health, e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, etc.); services and applications for companies (e-commerce, networking, digital transformation, etc.).

    This is about the mitigation and management of risks and disasters, and the anticipation and response capacity towards the actors regarding specific risks and management of natural disasters, for example, prevention of flood and drought hazards, forest fire, strong weather conditions, etc.. It is also about risk assessment and safety.

    Education and training projects on expanding educational opportunities, reducing barriers in the field of education, improving higher education and lifelong learning, training and labour mobility, educational networks, higher vocational education, common learning programmes.

    Topics on energy management, energy-saving methods, evaluating energy efficiency measurements, energy rehabilitation/efficiency in buildings / public infrastructure, promotion of energy efficiency, cooperation among experienced energy efficiency firms, institutions and local administrations, co-generation.

    Projects focussing on wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and other renewable energy, increasing the production of sustainable renewable energy and improving research capacities in biomass. Also projects focussing on storage and management of renewable energy, new technologies, sustainable regional bioenergy policies and financial Instruments for investments on renewable energy.

    Social projects concerning people with disabilities and excluded groups; enhancement of the capacity of children, young people, women and elderly; creation of infrastructure to improve access for disabled people, integration of socially vulnerable people; innovate in the care of victims of gender violence, social inclusion of women, etc.

    This deals with the development of health and social services and improved accessibility and efficiency for different groups (elderly, children, etc.). It is also about new healthcare models and medical diagnosis and treatments (dementia, cancer, diabetes, etc.), hospitals, care management, and rare diseases, as well as improving wellbeing and promoting sports.

    Projects about (organised) crime, efficient and secure borders, such as enhancing the effectiveness of the police in the prevention of drug crimes, the development of safety services, or tackling security and organised crime issues.

    Activities related to:

    • Transport and mobility covering all sorts of transport (incl. urban transport) and mobility.
    • Improving transport connections dealing with traffic and/or transport connections, rehabiliation/modernisation, better connectivity, improving accessibility/connections, but also public transport.
    • Multimodal transport and logistics and freight transport focusing on using different means of transport, developing multimodal connections, optimising intermodal transport chains; offering multimodal logistics solutions and providing access to clean, efficient and multimodal transport corridors and hubs; establishing cooperation among logistic centres and developing multimodal mobility strategies.

    Activities related to:

    • urban development, such as planning and design of cities and urban areas, urban renewal, urban-rural links (climate, sustainable mobility, water efficiency, participation, sustainable land use, smart cities, public urban areas, regeneration)
    • regional planning and development, such as the implementation of regional development policies/instruments and programmes, sustainable land use management plans, integrated regional action plans, spatial planning, and marine protected area management.
    • rural and peripheral development, referring to remote, sparsely populated areas, rural community development, and rural economics, in particular access to remote areas and policies for rural areas.
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Program key data

Interreg Alpine Space programme

Parent programEuropean Regional Development Fund
Link to the

Content of program

short description

The Alpine Space programme is a European transnational cooperation programme that funds alpine-wide projects. It provides a framework to connect stakeholders from various sectors and different policy levels from seven Alpine countries. Key players from academia and administrative, business and innovation sectors, as well as policy-makers work together to tackle common challenges and develop joint solutions for the Alpine area. Sharing their experiences and expertise, they strive towards improving the quality of life for the Alpine citizens.

program objectives

The programme will concentrate on green, CO2-neutral, innovative and governance related topics. The mission statement of the programme is also an expression of this focus and intends to make this approach broadly visible. Following priorities are defined for the period 2021-2027:

Priority 1: “Climate resilient and green Alpine region”

  • Specific objective: “Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and disaster resilience”
    The signs of climate change require urgent action. Adaptation to climate change is one element of a possible reaction, mitigation is another. Within this specific objective, measures that foster the adaptation to climate change, “the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects.” as the IPCC puts it, should be covered. Actions supported within these specific objectives should have an integrated character, foster co-benefits for mitigation and avoid lock-in-effects by adaptation.

  • Specific  objective:  “Enhancing   protection   and   preservation    of   nature,   biodiversity   and   green infrastructure,  including in urban areas, and reducing all forms of pollution”
    The Alpine region marks a transnational biodiversity hotspot; even though it is situated within one of the most densely inhabited and connected areas in Europe. This particular context calls for urgent action. Alpine biodiversity and ecological connectivity have been under pressure for many decades, especially since the second half of the last century. Human activities, land use, exploitation of natural resources and pollution lead to habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity and cultural landscapes. Additionally, consequences of climate change (e.g. heat, drought) as well as certain climate mitigation and adaptation measures (e.g. the reinforced use of wind- or hydropower in sensitive regions) pose threats to Alpine biodiversity. The on-going and predicted reduction of living space and biotope fragmentation causes high los ses in biodiversity and reduces ecosystem services. The need to reduce biotope fragmentation and loss as well as to foster the connectivity of ecosystems is therefore high.

Priority 2: “Carbon neutral and resource sensitive Alpine region”

  • Specific objective: “Promoting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse  gas emissions”
    The European Union aims at becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 with no net greenhouse gases in 2050 and economic growth decoupled from resource use. The ambitions with respect to carbon - neutrality have been reflected in different strategies (e.g. the Alpine Climate Target System 2050 (Alpine Convention) as well as in implementing various measures in the Alpine region in the last years. However, in order to reach the global and European targets, the efforts must be increased in the next years.
    The two sectors currently showing the highest per capita end-use of energy in Europe are mobility and transport and the building sector. Mobility and transport is one of the sectors that is highly relevant in the Alpine region. Although progress towards energy efficiency has been made throughout the Alpine region and in different sectors, high levels of final energy consumption are still observable in certain areas. Road transport, next to the residential or the tourism and leisure sector, remains one of them. Efficiency concepts alone most probably will not be sufficient to manage the transition to a carbon neutral or even a post carbon society. Innovative steps therefore should go beyond efficiency and foster integrated, sufficiency -oriented concepts of well-being and post-carbon lifestyles. This should be coupled with the use of renewable energy sources broadly available within the Alpine region (e.g. water, wind, solar power, etc.).
    The promotion of energy efficiency measures is closely linked to tackle climate change, as well as to implement circular economy-approaches. In this context, this specific objective should be seen as a “supporting objective” to “Promoting climate change adaption” and “Promoting the transition to a circular economy”. The interventions in this specific objective should be complementary but not overlapping with these specific objectives.

  • Specific objective: “Promoting the transition to a circular and resource  efficient economy”
    Fostering circular economy is one of the main thrusts of the European Green Deal. Circular economy refers to sustainable systems that treat resources as particularly valuable and attempt to close the resource loop. The principles of avoiding “waste” and trying to keep resources in use for as long as possible are relevant for the entire production-cycle. In this regard, circular economy is a far broader approach than just recycling or waste management. It strongly supports sustainable development, the mindful use of resources, climate- neutrality and both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Concerning the situation with COVID 19, circular economy is also widely assumed to be a suitable approach to tackle the crisis, strengthen resilience and support a “sustainable restart” of the social and economic system. In this global crisis, the importance of regional and local value chains became clearly visible. Circular economy approaches appear to be very suitable for supporting the needs of sustainable economic development, climate-protection and social adaptation in the Alpine region.

Priority 3: “Innovation and digitalisation supporting a green Alpine region”

  • Specific objective: “Enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies”
    Cooperation on innovation capacities is a transversal activity that can strengthen the programme’s impact in particular thematic fields by increasing the innovation potential of Alpine actors. Enhancing research and innovation capacities in the Alpine region should effectively be fostered by cooperation between actors and stakeholders in different regions. Better alignment and coordination of policy-making in the transnational context is necessary in order to help regions overcome barriers in cooperation on innovation and uptake of advanced technologies. This will lead to establishing and strengthening existing synergies and functional links, reducing polarisation between urban and rural regions, for example by diffusing innovation services, capacities, linking key actors and fostering resilience. At the same time, the programme should further ensure involvement of diverse actors from research, innovation, academia, private sectors, public sector and civil society. Its focus should not only be result - oriented innovation seeking particular solutions, but also innovation concerning processes and with a view to reducing territorial imbalances. It is important to observe that the innovativeness of solutions sought in the programme refers not only to the objective of making business actors more competitive, but to making other actors, such as public bodies and other organisations, more capable of applying innovative solutions and technologies.  Given by the programme`s mission, innovation includes a “green” character of activities, impacts of projects as well as methods and practices of project management.

  • Specific objective: “Reaping the benefits of digitisation for citizens, companies, research organisations and public authorities”
    Digitalisation offers opportunities to address joint challenges, which are particularly prominent in mountainous areas such as the Alpine region. New digital tools can be developed to increase resilience of Alpine regions and mitigate the impacts of accessibility problems and remoteness coupled with negative demographic situations in many regions. Such increased flexibility can be particularly attractive in the context of the territorial specificity of the Alps as well as its ambition to become climate resilient, carbon neutral, green, inclusive and resource sensitive. Due to the emergence of COVID-19, the need to support digital transition in these fields in an inclusive way in all regions became even clearer. Individual lives as well as working modes in both public and private sector have been transformed as more location-flexible. This has created a “window of opportunity” for strengthening and making use of digitalisation to support life and work of citizens to enforce sustainable development even in the face of external challenges. Digitalisation can contribute to finding solutions for more efficient, innovative and effective solutions that support a shift to climate resilience, carbon-neutrality, green and resource sensitivity. In the context of the private sector, it also facilitates the implementation of greening practices by businesses and associations as well as ensuring consideration concerning the exclusion of negative impacts of digitalisation on the environment. Principles that should be pursued in these activities are the inclusion of appropriate groups, such as policy-makers or the civil society, as well as safeguarding that any activities have a positive environmental impact.

Priority 4 - Interreg Specific Objective: “A better Cooperation governance”

  • The Alpine region is characterised by a long tradition of international and inter-regional cooperation on governmental and non-governmental level. Cooperation in this sense takes place on a wide variety of levels and in a wide variety of formats, ranging from local to macroregional level, from international to regional agreements, or from professional funding programmes to voluntary work. Cooperation activities are implemented through a wide range of formats, e.g. by funding programmes such as EU-transnational or bilateral cooperation programmes, as well as by international agreements such as the Alpine Convention and its protocols or regional cooperation frameworks. In order to take governance and multi-level-cooperation in the Alpine region to a new level, an important step has been taken in recent years: With the establishment of the EUSALP (European Union Strategy for the Alpine Region) a new perspective for governance cooperation at macro -regional level was launched. Multilevel-governance in the Alpine region has to be evolved further and institutional capacities of public authorities and stakeholders have to be enhanced accordingly. To this end, the Interreg specific objective represents a tailor-made possibility to deepen and evolve cooperation and governance structures in the Alpine region. To meet the above-mentioned needs, the Alpine Space Programme aims on further clarifying, deepening, supporting and improving cooperation structures, with placing a particular focus on the professionalisation of governance and stakeholder structures as well as on preparing the ground for innovative projects and stronger involvement of the civil society.

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Regions / countries for fundingAustria (Österreich), France, Germany (Deutschland), Italy (Italia), Liechtenstein, Slovenia (Slovenija), Switzerland (Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera)
eligible entities
Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME),  Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO),  Other,  Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit),  Research Institution incl. University,  Education and training institution,  Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs)
Mandatory partnershipYes
Project Partnership

The Interreg Alpine Space programme welcomes the participation of organisations from both the public and private sector that bring added-value to the implementation of projects. These organisations may participate as project partners (PPs) but may also contribute as observers or external experts.

PPs are organisations that are directly participating in the preparation and implementation of an Alpine Space project and are officially listed in the application form of the project. Organisations have to fulfil certain conditions as regards their legal character and geographical location.

Following bodies may act as PPs:

  • public bodies and bodies governed by public law;
  • private organisations.

Natural persons are not foreseen to act as PP in the ASP 2021-2027.

Only public bodies and bodies governed by public law can act as lead partner.

other eligibility criteria

The Interreg Alpine Space Programme programme area stretches across five EU Member States and two non-EU Member States. It covers all regions of Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland, and selected regions in France, Germany and Italy. France participates with Alsace, Franche-Comte, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and the region of Rhône-Alpes. Germany participates with Oberbayern, Niederbayern, Oberpfalz, Oberfranken, Mittelfranken, Unterfranken, Schwaben, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Freiburg an the region of Tübingen. Italy participates with Lombardia, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano / Bozen, Valle d'Aosta / Vallée d'Aoste, Piemonte and the region of Liguria.

For the thematic priorities, the programme will offer the possibility to submit both classic and small-scale projects.

Classic projects have been in place for several years already and offer a result oriented approach, helping to identify the expected contribution of projects in a defined policy field. Classic projects can tackle a wide range of challenges, and depending on the maturity of the topic subject to cooperation.

Project applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the characteristics and reference values of classic projects as outlined below:

  • The total financial size of each project shall range between EUR 1 and 3 million;
  • Eligible expenses from EU Members States are co-financed and reimbursed up to 75 %;
  • The duration of classic projects shall range between 24 and 36 months;
  • Classic projects shall involve from 7 to 12 partners from at least four different countries of the programme area.

To better respond to the objectives of the new programme and to offer a new form of cooperation a new strand of shorter and smaller projects is offered. As the name suggests, small-scale projects are shorter and involve less partners compared to classic projects. This typology allows the beneficiaries to address innovative subjects from a thematic and/or territorial perspective and to deliver knowledge be it through analysis, experimentation or fieldwork.

As the programme aims to encourage experimentation, small-scale projects will be also a laboratory for new ideas, which draws on experience from a variety of disciplines. Project applicants are strongly encouraged to consider the characteristics and reference values of smallscale projects as outlined below:

  • The total financial size of each project shall range between EUR 250.000 and 750.000;
  • Eligible expenses from EU Members States are co-financed and reimbursed up to 75 %;
  • The duration of small-scale projects shall range between 12 and 18 months;
  • Small-scale projects shall involve from 3 to 6 partners from at least three different countries of the programme area.

Additional information

Topics Administration & Governance, Institutional Capacity & Cooperation,  Air Quality, Biodiversity & Environment, Climate & Climate Change, Water quality & management,  Circular Economy, Natural Resources,  Demographic Change, European Citizenship, Migration,  Digitalisation, Digital Society, ICT,  Disaster Prevention, Resilience, Risk Management,  Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
Relevance for EU Macro-RegionEUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
Program documents Interreg Alpine Space Programme 2021-2027 (2245kB)
ContactInterreg Alpine Space National Contact Points (NCPs)

Interreg Alpine Space Programme - Joint Secretariat

Open calls