While policymakers are yet to actively link digitalization with wider sustainability efforts when developing policies and financing projects, there is a growing need to align the circular and digital agendas. The Green Deal recognizes that circular economy and strong involvement from industry is central to making the EU’s economy sustainable. Digitalization is a driving force behind a number of industries. Circular economy, on the other hand, aims at optimizing resource use within industries. There is a clear connection between these two trends, and in order to accelerate change towards a sustainable circular economy, further coordination is needed.
CEI Boost is an innovative project, funded by Interreg Europe, which aims at boosting the implementation of emerging digital innovations to foster the growth of circular economy. The project is based on a partnership of 12 partners and its main objective is to improve the policy instruments on different levels – national, regional, local - from 9 countries to better and further incentivize and support the development of innovative digital solutions for circular economy implementation to answer the challenges of the twin transition to a greener and smarter Europe. Through interregional learning at different level for enhancing policy-related conditions in 9 countries for boosting the application of emerging digital innovations it aims to foster the growth of circular economy at national, regional and local level for SMEs and citizens. Mobilizing together quadruple helix actors and policymakers the project pursues to explore, select, cross-fertilize, adapt and test innovative approaches for better policies to endorse both the digital and circular innovation ecosystems in non-metropolitan, rural and emerging regions in Europe that lag with reaching the EU's 2050 climate neutrality target to ease and speed up their progress.
It is expected that the project will have an indirect positive effect on the sustainable development of the participating regions. Due to its nature, the project will contribute to the efficiency and improvement of the competitiveness of regional SMEs, geared towards innovation and economic prosperity that is conducive to social progress and respect of the environment. The policy instruments that will be improved within each region will stimulate and support measures and actions towards more intensive circular economy implementation which through the optimization provides the positive impact on the environment. Moreover, the project activities are designed to reduce the environmental footprint by optimization of the working process of SMEs.