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"Smart Communities" Virtual Education and Research and Development and Innovation Network in the Slovakian - Hungarian border region

The target area could be characterised as 'the periphery of the periphery' with continuously worsening economic and social county and micro-regional level indicators (eg.: GDP, (un)employment, migration, shrinking communities, inefficient use of natural resources, education level, value-added,...) despite former, traditional rural development interventions.
The overall objective of the project is significant contribution to enhanced intellectual property in the disadvantaged cross-border area of Southern Slovakia and Northern Hungary with the establishment and dissemination of innovative cooperation structures as a practical implementation of soci(et)al innovation.
In the framework of the project we aim to build a network of civil partners, educational and research institutions and organize and implement joint professional programs, trainings and mentoring schemes with the participation of the target group, as local population from early childhood to pensioners including a high number of socially marginalised people.
The main outputs are the establishment of sustainable cooperation structures as (1) Virtual Education and RDI Network (VERDI-NET) and (2) a Smart ICT Competence Centre. As a result, the project could provide real, practical alternatives for the target group that is the socially marginalised inhabitants of the border region.
Our concept is that the area can break out from its lock-in situation through activities based on endogenous development and smart communities instead of intensive industry settlement. Priority sectors of the project are education and R&D&I with thematic focus on (1) sustainability and (2) info-communication technologies. Cross-border approach is needed because acting on national/regional/local level could only further increase regional disparities and inequalities that is clearly not an objective neither at policy, nor at project level.