EU-Regio-Stars: Sustainable Ideas for Europe

Every year, the European Commission awards those EU-funded projects, which demonstrate excellence and new approaches in regional development. With the goal of inspiring other regions and project managers across Europe, participating projects are in the spotlight of communication activities at European level.

This year's winners are promoting digital transformation, connecting the green, blue and grey, combatting inequalities and poverty, building climate-resilient cities and modernising health services.


Category 1: Energy Cells GR


The German, Belgian, French and Luxembourgian governments commissioned IZES gGmbH to develop an introductory technological programme for the take-up of stationary fuel cells. The use of highly efficient fuel cell heating systems for the combined production of heat and electricity makes a valuable contribution towards the achievement of these governments’ energy and climate protection targets and has a positive impact on their economies.

An energy grid at dusk

Each of the four energy cells in the GR is a virtual power plant balancing electricity production and consumption by using storage capacities within the cell or by exchanging excess power with other interconnected cells (also as cross-border transfer) via smart grids on distribution grid level. The overall balancing is managed by a digital online controller in each energy cell driven by the electricity market. The objective is to integrate large shares of renewable energy into the power systems.


Category 2: CobBauge


The CobBauge Project has developed a new and innovative walling material using an ancient method of building from earth and fibres. This has been updated for modern methods of construction, allowing the threads of culture to be blended with crisp modern building design. The new material is used in a composite wall that will pass current thermal regulations and create energy efficient high-performance homes that people will find comfortable, healthier to live in and inexpensive to run.


Category 3: Good support


Imagine... Uber in neighborly help. This is the added value of the "Good Support" project. It is an innovative partnership project to increase the accessibility of social services. The system uses in it's operation a web application available from each computer, as well as it integrates a mobile application that uses the technical capabilities of modern phones. It is an autonomous system connecting local users (municipality-care company-guardian-ward-family) without an expensive telecentre.


Category 4: Climate Active Neighbourhoods (CAN)


Energy retrofits of existing residential areas make an important contribution to achieving EU goals on CO2 emissions. Since 2016, the Climate Active Neighbourhoods project has been increasing the capacity of municipalities to implement their climate action strategies more effectively using a neighbourhood approach. Residents of deprived areas are empowered to take initiative and act for climate locally mainly thanks to energy-improved households, a key factor to reduce energy poverty.


Category 5: Orsi Academy


Orsi Academy is worldwide renowned as a training and expertise centre in the field of new techniques in minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery in particular. By means of an ambitious investment project in Melle (Ghent, Belgium) Orsi Academy has built a unique ecosystem in which doctors, scientists, engineers and industry connect to demonstrate and advance innovative medical technology, increasing the quality and safety of modern healthcare.


Man putting a health symbol at the top of a pyramid

The new Orsi Academy contains four 350m² clusters, each housing four to six fully equipped training labs. Two clusters are equipped for robotic surgery training, the others are setup for training in other minimally invasive techniques. An auditorium with the latest audiovisual technologies, where up to 120 people are able to attend lectures, watch livestreams of surgeries from around the globe, and contribute to discussions and debates in real-time.


The public choice award: CityWalk


Every year, there is also an public choice award, which is determined by an online-voting. This year it is awarded to CityWalk, which focuses on the simplest form of urban mobility - walking. Making cities more walkable requires changes - including the smart integration of walking with other transport modes. Citywalk offers an innovative solution by placing the citizens’ needs in the center and combining new smart walkability concepts and solutions to address those needs, tackling climate change, improving air quality and reducing noise.


MyClimateServices says Congratulations to the winners!