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ESPONTrain Final Conference: 3-4 April 2013

Publication date:2013-04-03, Last updated:2013-06-18

The Greek  ESPON  Contact Point organized, in cooperation with the ESPON Coordination Unit and the ESPONTrain Partners, the Final Transnational ESPONTrain Conference“Are European planners familiar with ESPON findings? Integrating ESPON in higher education and policy making at central, regional and local levels”. The  Conference took place in  Athens (Greece) on 3-4 April 2013 and brought together 298 participants representing the ESPON CU, ESPON Monitoring Committee, ESPON Contact Points, ESPONTrain Tutors  and Trainees as well as stakeholders participating in  ESPONTrain and previous TNAs (e.g INTERSTRAT), mainly Universities and training centres (e.g the National Center of Public Administration ) but also ministries and regional/local authorities. Postgraduate and graduate level students in territorial development fields were also present. 

As recent ESPONTrain implementation showed and this is widely reported, the best part of the teaching/learning experience is the fact that ESPONTrain largely neutralized some of the skepticism surrounding the ESPON projects, clearly marked their limits and highlighted the benefits from their use in every-day planning and policy making.



Τhe ESPONTrain Final Transnational Conference was organized by the Greek ESPON European Contact Point in the framework of a joint programme designed to stimulate interest on ESPON2013 knowledge via a Virtual Learning Environment. ESPONTrain created an educational model and course design and delivered educational cycles for both post-graduate students and stakeholders in 10 ESPON Countries: Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. The 2-day Transnational ESPONTrain Conference consists of two main sections:

  • The transnational meeting of April 3 that brought together the ESPON Coordination Unit, 10 ESPON European Contact Points (ECPs) participating in the ESPON Programme as well as trainers and trainees involved in the  ESPONTrain Virtual Learning Environment Project. This first day focused on the issue of using ESPON findings in higher education and in territorial development strategies. Participants mostly came from higher education institutions, both professors and students as well as from state and regional authorities.
  • A conference open to the general public, particularly addressed to policy makers of central, regional and local levels to stimulate interest in further integration of the ESPON knowledge in the implementation of territorial development and cohesion in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The ESPONTrain Conference aspires to promote dialogue between political leaders, policy makers, academics and professionals on the field of territorial development and cohesion and was structured around the following topics:

- The progress of the ESPONTrain Project, its results, its evaluation as well as the perspectives of further development of the ESPONTrain VLE model in the ESPON countries.

- The use of ESPON findings in spatial planning and in territorial development focusing on European cities and regions

- The ongoing spatial and urban planning reform in Greece and in other ESPON countries and particularly in relation to the use of the ESPON findings.

- The profile of European planners (qualifications, skills, etc.) required to meet the challenges of territorial development and cohesion in Europe and the necessary innovation that ESPON can bring in its education.