On the 4th of November 2020, the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme (DTP) approved project, STRIDE, hosted the official public kick-off event of the project. The event was held virtually as a digital conference in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with the purpose to raise awareness of the objectives and activities of the project and provide information to stakeholders about expected results, benefits and their role in the project.

At the kick-off event, Interreg DTP Joint Secretariat (JS) project officer, Ana Leganel, welcomed all the partners and stakeholders present at the event and spoke about the ‘’synergies that can be created between STRIDE project and the other DTP financed projects, especially CSSC LAB’’. The JS officer also highlighted the fact that a good cooperation between the projects is expected for the benefit of the energy sector and the Danube region in general.

After formal introductions, Local Energy Agency Spodnje Podravje (LEASP) presented a comprehensive overview of the project, including information regarding the role of the associated strategic partners in the project as well as the development of the STRIDE digital platform. The floor then opened up to a Q&A session, overseen by the event moderator, Chris Ashe, Director of the European Institute of Innovation – Technology (EIfI-Tech), who takes the lead on project communication for the STRIDE project.

Lead Partner, Tea Potocnik (LEASP), commented on the role of associated strategic partners in the scope of the official kick-off event: ‘’Associated strategic partners play a crucial role in the STRIDE project, as they are the ones that will implement or support the implementation of the smart grid strategies and action plans– and in this respect, it is important to include them in the extensive dialog from the beginning of the project.’’

Given the importance of the role of associated strategic partners and stakeholders in the successful implementation of the project, the lead partner added, ‘’The kick-off event was a first in the series of events organized within the project STRIDE that required active participation of associated strategic partners.’’

Furthermore, Roman Kekec of the lead partner organization, LEASP, commented on the role of associated strategic partners in the development and roll-out of the STRIDE platform: ‘’At the kick-off we presented the STRIDE platform, as it will be one of the most important project outputs, requiring the most engagement of all project partners as well as associated strategic partners and other stakeholders.’’

The Danube Region Smart Energy Platform, developed within the STRIDE project, will be established to create a network of experts, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders to boost the uptake of smart grid strategies across the Danube region. The web platform will be designed in a way that allows for their application throughout the entire Danube region; therefore, the outcomes of the project will represent a high replication value and ensure scalability within the Daube region and beyond.

The STRIDE project is co-funded by European Union Funds (ERDF, IPA) under the Danube Transnational Programme with a total budget of € 1,061,969.80, an ERDF contribution of€ 834,497.49 and an IPA contribution of € 68,176.80. For more information on the STRIDE project, visit the project website.