- About THE ISSUE
To everyone in THE ISSUE Consortium: I write this article following the close of THE ISSUE Final Conference in Brussels. It was wonderful to see everyone once again. It was an enjoyable and a fitting way to celebrate what it has meant to be part of THE ISSUE. I think it is a testament to the fantastic success of the Project to see so many of our partners from both core and associate partners at the event – especially considering we have been working together for the last three years and everyone left still want more! Indeed, the instinctive feeling I had when meeting many of our partners for the first time at the G-STEP offices in Leicester the evening before our Kick-Off meeting at the National Space Centre in January 2012, that this was a group of partners that could do business together, has proved to be absolutely correct.
While our Final Conference was inevitably going to be tinged with a hint of sadness that our collaboration on THE ISSUE is rapidly coming to an end, we must not forget what we have achieved together in THE ISSUE and how much we have grown in a relatively short period of time. We began the Project with thirteen partners in four core European regional clusters. We close THE ISSUE Project with an additional eight associate European regions, comprising of three established regional clusters, four emerging regional clusters and over 30 additional partners that have participated directly in THE ISSUE.
I’m sure everyone attending our Final Conference was as proud as me to hear in presentation after presentation the massive range of achievements and successes that have been delivered either directly or indirectly through THE ISSUE over the last three years. We have identified strong research and technological capabilities across THE ISSUE Network in a wide range of fields and gained a much clearer understanding of the key problems facing cities and regions in terms of the impact of transport on the economic, environmental and social health of these areas. This has enabled us to produce a robust, evidence-based programme of project priority areas, which when implemented, will play an important role in advancing the EU’s “smart, green, integrated transport “ agenda.
We should also be proud that that this legacy will not be lost thanks to the decision of eleven of our regions to support the establishment of THE ISSUE Meta-Cluster. This will provide a fantastic platform for sustaining THE ISSUE Network and taking forward the priority project proposals we have identified in THE ISSUE. The decision of NEREUS to agree to our proposal for a close association with THE ISSUE Meta-Cluster and for our Meta-Cluster to lead their new Transport Working Group will further strengthen the role downstream space technologies can play in promoting intelligent mobility.
Above all, I felt the presentations from our core and associate regions brought home most clearly just how much this Project has delivered – both in terms of the objectives of the Project, but more importantly in the ways the Project has impacted on and benefitted each and every partner – to say nothing of the proudest deliveries of all produced by seven of our project colleagues over the last three years!
We have learnt a lot during this Project, including things we got right and also where we could have done better. But all these lessons will stand us in good stead when taking forward THE ISSUE Meta-Cluster and in crafting future collaborations together.
It has been an honour to be the Project Coordinator of THE ISSUE Project. I would like to thank each and every one of you who has contributed to the fantastic success that has been THE ISSUE and made these last three years such an enjoyable and rewarding adventure! I have met some wonderful people during the last three years and had the pleasure of visiting many of the partners within the Project, learning much about their regions and their priorities. I would like to thank them all again for their hospitality and kindness. I look forward to the opportunity to visit our other partners at some point in the future!
Finally, I would like to say a special thanks to Alan, Eric, Clare, Fatima and Pawel for the support they have given me and the Project overall.
Onward and upwards!